Abele Giandolini, "Monsieur Abel", opened The Ivy as a cafe on this site in 1917.
On-line information about Giandolini is hard to come by. Bonhams sold an Epstein head, "Third Portrait of Jackie (Ragamuffin)', which "... was gifted by Epstein to Abel Giandolini, the owner of The Ivy restaurant. Founded in 1917 by Giandolini, a young Italian emigré with ambitions to create one of London's best restaurants ...". Elsewhere we read that the restaurant had lino on the floor and paper napkins on the tables.
The 1939 England and Wales Register lists Abel Giandolini as a restaurateur at The Ivy Restaurant, West Street, WC2, recording his date of birth as 14 July 1885.
There was also an Abel Giandolini shown in the 1930 edition of the Post Office London Directory at 171 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2 and electoral registers for 1956-1958 show an Abeli Giandolini at 58 Langford Court, Abbey Road, NW8. We suspect these are all one and the same person, but cannot be certain.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan