Union Square Cafe

A decades-old dining favorite that has been Zagat-ranked as New York’s Most Popular Restaurant nine times, Union Square Cafe serves American cuisine with an Italian soul, using fresh ingredients from the famed Union Square Greenmarket.

About Union Square Cafe: One of America’s most acclaimed and popular restaurants, Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe serves robustly flavored, seasonal American cuisine in a relaxed setting of casual elegance. Union Square Cafe’s iconic food and gracious hospitality changed the restaurant landscape in New York City, and continue to set the bar for excellence and innovation under the helm of Executive Chef and Partner Carmen Quagliata and Managing Partner Sam Lipp. Sophisticated yet approachable, Union Square Cafe takes inspiration from the Greenmarket, the Union Square community, and its heritage. Showcasing exquisite local ingredients with provenance, Chef Quagliata’s creative, flavor-obsessed menu pays homage to his southern Italian and Californian roots. Founded in 1985, the restaurant has won five James Beard Awards and also earned Zagat Survey’s #1 ranking as New York’s Most Popular Restaurant an unprecedented nine times. Chef Quagliata follows in the tradition of James Beard Award winning Chef Michael Romano, who lead the kitchen from 1988-2007, helping establish Union Square Cafe’s reputation as one of the most well-respected restaurants in New York. As Danny Meyer’s first restaurant, Union Square Cafe is the birthplace of a generation of widely lauded, award-winning restaurants, and an enormous number of world-renowned chefs. It is the defining culinary measure for contemporary-minded American cuisine that continues to remain a destination for warm hospitality and thoughtfully executed, creative cuisine. At Union Square Cafe, with the Greenmarket at his doorstep, Executive Chef and Partner Carmen Quagliata explores and develops his passion for his native Italian cuisine in one of the country’s most beloved restaurants. Carmen’s culinary style was formed by the Sicilian matriarchs of his family, who made sausage and bread by hand and grew pole beans from seeds carried across the Atlantic by their Italian kin. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Carmen became an apprentice at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia under Chef Hartmut Handke. Three years later, he headed west to work for Michael Chiarello at Tra Vigne in Napa Valley. There he quickly advanced from Sous Chef to Executive Sous Chef to Executive Chef/Partner. In 2001, Carmen was hired to work for Lydia Bastianich at Felidia in New York City. He then moved to Boston and became Chef at The Vault, which quickly earned three stars from both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. After researching opening a restaurant in Boston, Carmen realized his heart lay in New York, and a fortuitous introduction brought him to Union Square Cafe. It was immediately apparent that Carmen was the perfect complement to Chef Michael Romano’s kitchen, and in January 2005, he was hired as Chef de Cuisine. Carmen was promoted to Executive Chef in September 2007. Within a year the restaurant received four stars from Time Out New York, and reclaimed the title of New York City’s Most Popular Restaurant from the Zagat Survey – an honor Union Square Cafe has received an unprecedented nine times. Carmen’s cooking continues to show his respect for all that has come before at USC, as well as his creativity, taste and appreciation for the seasons, as he shapes the restaurant’s future.

Distance from the Row NYC hotel: 30 Blocks

Location

  • 21 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003