He’ll depart the restaurant at the end of June and has plans to stay within the industry, but wouldn’t share in what way. “I’m excited for the future of Union Square Cafe with the team they have in place, and I’m also excited to be doing something new,” he tells the Times, adding that it’s a positive transition.
The restaurant has only had two executive chefs over the past three decades. Before Quagliata took over in 2004, Michael Romano was at the helm. Meyer says that the chef will leave “big shoes to fill.” Union Square Hospitality Group is now searching for his replacement, a spokesperson says.
Union Square Cafe was reborn in 2016 after a yearlong closure, in which it relocated due to rising rents. Under Quagliata’s leadership, the new iteration received three stars in the Times and two stars from Eater critic Ryan Sutton, who commended the chef’s “traditionally delicious” Italian-American cuisine. He wrote:
He dishes up a standard — pappardelle Bolognese to fill you up. He sends out lobster ravioli with butter to remind you how powerfully this regal crustacean can taste of the sea. He uses tart yogurt to counter the fatty saltiness of pancetta and the unrestrained sweetness of roasted carrots. It’s a beguilingly complex, clean-out-your-pantry preparation that will surely do a few deserved tours on the Food52 recipe circuit.
Stay tuned for more.