Opened in 2003 by Chef Marco Canora and Sommelier Paul Grieco, Hearth in the East Village of Manhattan is nominated for the 2014 Outstanding Restaurant award. The James Beard Awards will be held in New York City on May 5. You can also listen to our interview with the James Beard Foundation about the awards.
Hearth 403 East 12th Street New York, NY 10009 (646) 602-1300 www.restauranthearth.com
Chef Marco Canora’s appreciation for good food flourished as a child growing up in upstate New York. In the summer months, his mother’s harvest of herbs and vegetables served as the inspiration for dishes she enjoyed during her childhood in Lucca, Italy. Marco spent hours, and years, cooking alongside her.
Washing dishes at a well-respected local restaurant was Marco’s first glimpse into the restaurant industry. A quick study, he moved from pot-scrubber to garde manger. After graduating from Pace University, Marco landed at Dean and Deluca’s prepared foods kitchen, where he discovered the vital role that high-quality produce plays in creating dishes. On a motorcycle trip around the country, Marco took time off the road to hone his culinary skills at Winston’s, a seafood restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, and then at San Francisco’s Backstage restaurant. Feeling the pull of home, Marco returned to New York City with a clear goal in mind: to work at one of the city’s best restaurants.
As luck would have it, Gramercy Tavern was looking for line cooks and offered Marco a job. Chef/owner Tom Colicchio fostered the young chef’s career, encouraging Marco to travel to Italy. Marco moved to Florence, where he worked at Fabbio Picchi’s world-renowned restaurant, Cibreo.
Wanting to open and run his own restaurant, Marco took two summers off from Gramercy Tavern to start La Cucina, a 50-seat seasonal restaurant in Edgartown, Massachusetts. La Cucina turned out to be an unprecedented success for Marco, earning him rave reviews and a bevy of high-profile guests including former President Bill Clinton, for whom Marco prepared a 50th birthday dinner.
When Marco returned to Gramercy Tavern, he was promoted to sous chef, and in 2001, Colicchio selected him to open Craft. The restaurant went on to receive three stars from The New York Times and the James Beard award for “Best New Restaurant.” While at Craft, Marco created the menu for Craftbar, Craft’s more casual sibling, and oversaw the opening of Craftsteak in Las Vegas.
In the fall of 2003, Marco decided to strike out on his own. He and partner Paul Grieco, a fellow Gramercy Tavern alum, opened Hearth in Manhattan’s then burgeoning East Village neighborhood. The restaurant earned a positive two-star review from The New York Times and a local following, and has since received a prestigious James Beard Award nomination for Outstanding Restaurant. Considered a downtown, dining destination, Hearth offers a modern American menu influenced by Marco’s Italian heritage for dinner and brunch, along with an unparalleled selection of wine. In November 2013, it celebrated its landmark 10th anniversary, a testament to its enduring presence in the New York City dining scene.
In April 2007, Marco and Paul opened Insieme at The Michelangelo Hotel. The Italian word for “together,” Insieme was awarded a Michelin star for its traditional and contemporary dishes. Marco offered classic Italian dishes deeply-rooted in history and family recipes, as well as contemporary dishes that present a modern approach to the cuisine of his heritage.
In 2008, Marco and Paul opened Terroir, a casual wine bar just steps away from Hearth that has earned a legion of fans for Marco’s inspired menu and Paul’s quirky wine list. Three years later, they opened Terroir Tribeca, the second location of their East Village wine bar, which features a larger kitchen that allows Canora to expand on the original menu and showcase the full range of his talent. The restaurant has since expanded to Murray Hill in fall 2011, a seasonal location on the High Line in spring 2012, and to Park Slope in fall 2012; each space features a menu and design unique to the neighborhood and its history.
Marco has made numerous television appearances, including on Bravo’s Top Chef, Today, Martha Stewart and CBS’ The Early Show, and as a judge on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay.In Fall 2010, he was runner-up on season three of “The Next Iron Chef America,” the popular prime time series on the Food Network. His first cookbook, Salt to Taste: The Key to Confident, Delicious Cooking, was released by Rodale in October 2009 and nominated in 2010 for the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award in the General Cooking category. Clarkson Potter will publish his second cookbook, A Good Food Day, in January 2015.
Co-owner & Sommelier Paul Grieco got a head start in the restaurant business. Born in Canada, his childhood was spent at La Scala, a grand Toronto restaurant offering formal service and classic Italian food in an elegant setting. As a young adult working there, he learned every aspect of restaurant life.
When it was time to choose a career path, the hospitality industry seemed a natural choice. Unsure if this was the right decision, Paul traveled to Italy where he immersed himself in intensive wine study and the region’s rich culture. Returning to North America and La Scala, he oversaw the restaurant’s beverage program and front-of-the-house staff for six years.
In 1991, adventure beckoned and Paul traveled to New York City for what he thought would be a three-month discovery trip. Inspired by the Manhattan restaurant scene, he took a job at Remi Restaurant as a dining room manager. Positions followed at several prestigious and well-known Manhattan restaurants, including Bouley, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Gabriel’s. In 1994 he opened JUdson Grill with his friend and mentor, Chris Cannon.
Paul then accepted a job as a waiter at the three-star Gramercy Tavern, where he learned the aspects of refined, unpretentious hospitality from partners Danny Meyer and Tom Colicchio. After working as a captain for two years, Paul was promoted to Assistant General Manager, responsible for both the annual $3 million beverage program and the restaurant’s three-star service. During his tenure, Gramercy Tavern won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Service” and “Outstanding Wine Service.”
In 2003, Paul and fellow Gramercy Tavern alum, Marco Canora, went out on their own to open Hearth Restaurant in the East Village. The restaurant earned a glowing two-star review from The New York Times and continues to receive praise for Paul’s expansive and thoughtful wine list. Hearth’s Monday wine dinners, created by Paul, are instant sell-outs that explore new and established regions, vintners and varietals.
In April 2007, Paul and Marco opened Insieme, an Italian restaurant at The Michelangelo hotel. The Italian word for “together,” Insieme features two menus, traditional and contemporary, side-by-side. To accompany the dual menu, Paul created a wine list matching the food’s soulful spirit, offering selections from emerging winemakers and classic vintners alike. In July, Food & Wine awarded Insieme and Paul “Best New Wine List of 2008.”
A firm believer in the idea that wine has a sense of place, Paul opened Terroir in March 2008, just a few doors down from Hearth. The casual wine bar features wines with a singular sense of place, where history, culture, climate and geology shape the character. His singular approach earned him a spot on Wine & Spirits’ recent list of “Wine Revolutionaries,” and the title of “Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional from the James Beard Foundation in 2012. In 2010, he opened Terroir Tribeca, the second location of the East Village wine bar. In fall 2011 he opened Terroir Murray Hill, and Terroir Park Slope a year later. As always with Paul, his offbeat selections inspire a sense of discovery for guests and put underappreciated wines in the spotlight.
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