Sienna Restaurant Says Strippers Did Not Lead to Split with Donatella Arpaia

Sienna Restaurant's New Executive Chef Donatella Arpaia
Chef Donatella Arpaia

Iron Chef America judge Donatella Arpaia parted ways with East Hampton’s Sienna Restaurant & Ultralounge back in July, it was revealed this week, but not for the reasons Page Six reported Tuesday, the club owner contests.

Arpaia joined the dining and nightlife space in May, but the partnership was short-lived. Page Six reports that the celebrity chef took exception to Sienna’s nightclub activities after dining hours ended. The gossip column alleges Sienna hired strippers from Sapphire New York to work as waitresses.

Sienna, which closed after Labor Day weekend, operated for two summers as a full-service restaurant that turns into a nightclub between midnight and 4 a.m.

But Sienna restaurateur Jonathan Rapillo says of the Page Six‘s report, “It’s absolutely wrong. It’s an outrageous statement.” According to Rapillo, there was “never any inkling of a stripper.”

Arpaia reportedly told Page Six, “I was hired by the partners as a food consultant, with the goal to improve food quality. As the summer progressed, it was clear that they were pursuing a different direction in food service that was not in alignment with my brand. Because of that difference of opinion, I terminated my association with Sienna toward the third week of July.”

Rapillo says Arpaia could have taken the opportunity to deny the report “that there were stripper-servers” in the restaurant, but she chose not to. “I think she owes us an apology.”

“It’s clear to me, the summer was not going the way we wanted it to,” Rapillo says. “Her brand had not really caught on from day one.” They decided to part ways in July.

Rapillo acknowledges that he was going to have a promoter bring New York City’s SINS party to Sienna. And that same promoter also worked for Sapphire, among other New York clubs.

Calender listings for the party stated, Sienna is “bringing the Sapphire NY girls to the Hamptons this weekend for their SINS party on Saturday” and “Hosted by Malinda Carlton, Alexa Illingworth & Cody Cameron For a tastefully, classy, sexy experience.”

“She was not comfortable with that party,” Rapillo says of Arpaia, “so the day of the party we squashed it.”

Page Six reported, “…the partners ferried 40 strippers from the mammary mecca to entertain guests paying $5,000 per table with two dedicated dancers, who were told to keep their tops on. But 20 high rollers who spent $10,000 were invited to an afterparty at a private house with the 40 strippers, with no restrictions on nudity.”

Rapillo says none of that is true. “There were never any strippers in the restaurant.”

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