After serious staff shakeups this spring, restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group is turning to a trusted insider to lead the kitchen at mainstay Union Square Cafe. Chef Lena Ciardullo, who joined the group a decade ago, will take over as the restaurant’s new executive chef in early 2020, according to the restaurant group.
Right now, Ciardullo is executive chef of USHG’s Marta, Vini e Fritti, and Caffe Marchio. A native of Chicago, she worked at USHG’s Maialino and Gramercy Tavern before landing at Marta in 2014, rising through the ranks to executive chef in 2018.
Union Square Cafe has had just two chefs since it opened more than 30 years ago. Executive chef Carmen Quagliata, who led the restaurant through its closure and relocation in 2016, left his post of 15 years in June.
Now, the USHG will hire to fill her current role at Marta.