Argentinian-born James Sapirstein is a venture capital and pharmaceutical veteran. He has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and is currently Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Wave BioPharma, Inc. From sales, marketing, pharma and market research, to business development, licensing, clinical trials and finance, he’s done it all.
He described himself as growing up in Buenos Aires, “not on the other side of the tracks, but under them”. As a Latin American immigrant at the cusp of his career, Sapirstein has worked hard to build his brand, expertise and credibility to achieve results and grow his business. To date, he has helped with 23 product launches, including 6 global launches that he led.
Previously, he was CEO of Alliqua Therapeutics; Founding CEO of Tobira Therapeutics; and Executive Vice President of Metabolism and Endocrinology at Serono Laboratories. Most recently, he was the CEO and board member of ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Today, he is responsible for the growth and overall success of First Wave BioPharma, Inc.
For him, dinners with clients and investors offer an opportunity to develop a genuine, trusting relationship — a relationship he likens to a horse race. “Investors know they’re betting on the right horse by looking into the jockey’s eyes and seeing what he’s up to,” Sapirstein said. “A good business lunch is no different.”
Here are three of James Sapirstein’s favorite restaurants for business meetings in his town of Boca Raton, Florida, where he lives.
For investor meetings, Sapirstein always goes to Arturo’s, one of the classiest and oldest restaurants in town. He describes it as a wonderful “white glove, white tablecloth” place serving authentic traditional Italian food. The staff are dressed in tuxedos, and there are eye-catching features like carts filled with decadent appetizers, including stone crab, roasted vegetables, puff pastry and more.
Popular dishes include Saltimbocca alla Fiorentina with veal in a white wine sauce, topped with sage, a slice of prosciutto and melted mozzarella, served with spinach; Zuppa di Pesce with lobster tail, snapper, shrimp, Calamari, clams and mussels in a light tomato sauce; tableside Spaghetti alla Gismondi pasta with smoked salmon, onions, marinara sauce and a little cream, flamed with vodka; spaghetti with bacon, onions, cream, pecorino cheese and egg yolk.
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Sapirstein is also a fan of New York Prime, a beloved Boca Raton steakhouse that offers high-end tenders including premium aged beef, tomahawk ribeye and more. They also offer seafood options, including dishes like live Maine lobster; seasonal stone crab; pan-baked sea bass; and seafood platters featuring oysters, king prawns and more. Other popular entrees include lamb chops and double rib veal.
This upscale restaurant also offers live music and delicious desserts to end meetings. Don’t miss the table-sized desserts, including the signature butter cake served with vanilla ice cream and the giant chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream.
In the famous Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Sapirstein recommended Villagio Restaurant & Bar. Villagio has a great reputation in the area for its impeccable service. White cloth, modern, elegant and the staff pay close attention to their customers. Serving traditional Italian cuisine from different regions with a fixed menu offering a selection of pasta, fish, meat, salads, pizza and more.
Popular pastas include agnolotti del magnifico with ricotta and spinach; ravioli porcini mushrooms with saffron truffle sauce and classic spaghetti bolognese. Other entrees include veal scallops; Montalossa salmon with brandy lobster sauce and chicken Milanese.