Five Napkin’s Robert Guarino Plans New UWS Italian Restaurant With Simon Oren

The two restaurateurs will be bringing a California-inspired Italian concept to the former 'Cesca space.
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Two well-established restaurateurs are collaborating on an exciting new project.

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Sempre Oggi is the latest new restaurant to be announced by celebrated owners Robert Guarino and Simon Oren. Guarino currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of 5 Napkin Burger and has served as a founding partner for numerous New York institutions, including Marseille, Reunion Surf Bar, Playa Betty’s, and Nizza. Simon Oren meanwhile is the owner and founder of Chef Driven and Tour de France hospitality groups and he recently acquired the restaurant space at the Quinn Hotel, where he is currently in the process of opening up a new Middle Eastern restaurant with a focus on modern-Isreali cuisine.

Now though, the two restaurateurs have teamed up to launch a brand-new project at 166 West 75th Street, taking over a 5,375-square-foot restaurant space. The location was formerly home to ‘Cesca, an iconic Italian bistro that pioneered the casual-upscale dining scene on the Upper West Side when it first launched in 2003. The restaurant sadly closed during the Covid-19 pandemic and the space has remained vacant since, leaving many residents in desperate need of upscale Italian dining in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Thankfully, that is exactly what Oren and Guarino intend to provide with Sempre Oggi – which translates from Italian as “Always Today”. Speaking with Commercial Observer, Guarino stated the new restaurant will offer an “ingredient-driven, seasonal, vegetable-forward Italian menu with a California influence,” noting that he himself used to go to ‘Cesca as a guest and “always loved it”.

When speaking of the deal to Commercial Observer, Meridien Retail Listing’s James Famularo stated that Oren and Guarino “have restaurants on the Upper West Side, they know the clientele, and when a landlord has a great space like this, they always want to get an experienced operator,” adding that landlord Benchmark Real Estate Group “knew that they are great operators.”

Current estimates put the grand opening this summer, after the team has had enough time to properly develop the space. Be sure to continue reading your favorite resource for breaking restaurant news, as we will certainly update you when the team is ready to share more information.

Jake Rogers

Jake Rogers is an author and playwright based out of Brooklyn, New York. A lively performer who is deeply passionate about history and literature, outside of his reporting he also produces short films and plays with his theatre troupe, the LSTC. He is currently producing a web series about a butterfly and moth who are roommates that will be released later in the year.
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