Responsible for a number of ubersuccessful restaurants—including the beloved, award-winning Felix—Janet Zuccarini reflects on her career as a restaurateur and takes us inside her newest hot spot, Gusto Green.
Designed by STUDIO UNLTD with chic greenhouse vibes, Gusto Green recently opened in the Green Street Building in DTLA PHOTO COURTESY OF GUSTO GREEN AND FELIX
“Very few female restaurateurs exist,” says Janet Zuccarini. “It’s an honor to be in this category.” It may be an honor, but it’s one that the CEO and founder of Gusto 54 Restaurant Group (gusto54.com) has rightly earned. Originally from Toronto, Zuccarini’s love of food began with her father, an incredible cook and entrepreneur who “started coffee culture in Canada by bringing the first espresso machine into the country,” she says. Living in Rome for eight years—where she was exposed to the concept of eating locally and seasonally—solidified her passion, which led to her opening her first restaurant, Trattoria Nervosa, in Canada after completing university.
The menu consists of a variety of plant-forward dishes PHOTO COURTESY OF GUSTO GREEN AND FELIX
From there, Zuccarini opened several restaurants in Canada and, in 2017, debuted Felix, the impossible-to-get-into Italian hot spot in Venice led by chef Evan Funke. “Having built a company in Toronto that has expanded to L.A. is an honor. But the accolades at Felix have been the pinnacle of my success,” says the Beverly Hills resident. “Esquire named Felix the best new restaurant in America just three months after we opened.”
The bar at Felix. PHOTO COURTESY OF GUSTO GREEN AND FELIX
Now, Zuccarini is hoping to strike gold again with Gusto Green, her new, plant-forward restaurant located in DTLA. “Gusto Green has been a dream of mine for over 25 years,” she says. “My love of food is also a love of taking care of your body. You can eat well and still be healthy and do good for the planet.” Led by chef Michael Magliano and designed—with vaulted ceilings and a luxe greenhouse vibe—by STUDIO UNLTD, the restaurant’s menu includes protein-packed dishes like sunflower seed risotto, innovative salads and interesting items like crispy hemp leaf—a favorite of Zuccarini’s. “To me, food is life. It’s a passion,” she says. “I’m proud that we’re prioritizing health without sacrificing how delicious the food is.” DTLA, gusto.green