BY ANGELA MATUA
24 JULY 2017 I LIC COURIER I www.qns.com
Astoria resident Tom Vicari has
spent decades opening restaurants in
up-and-coming neighborhoods across
Manhattan but has decided to return
to his hometown for his latest project.
Vicari,62, began his career in the
restaurant industry by working at Ric-cardo’s
Restaurant — now called Ric-cardo’s
By The Sea in Astoria — when
he was 15 years old. Later, he found a
job as a waiter at Tavern on the Green
and was promoted to manager.
Vicari became fascinated with the
restaurant scene and got jobs at major
French restaurants where he learned
everything about what it takes to run
a successful business.
“I started working for the top French
restaurants in the city where you had
to know everything: the kitchen, how to
carve a duck, filet of sole, the service,
and you had to be impeccable. That’s
where I had my good training.”
In his late 20s, he decided to open
his own restaurant in Chelsea, a neigh-borhood
that still had a reputation for
“They said, ‘why Chelsea? There’s
drug addicts, drug dealers, prostitutes,
the meat market. There’s nothing down
there,’” he added.
He opened an expensive French res-taurant,
where he “made a fortune” and
decided to open an Italian restaurant and
Cuban restaurant called Cuba Libre in
the same area in rapid succession. The
neighborhood began to change, attract-ing
more diners to Vicari’s restaurants.
At one point, he owned six restaurants
within two blocks of each other.
Photos by Angela Matua