Eviction Case Notice Posted on Cesca’s Door

Cesca, the Italian restaurant at 164 West 75th Street that has been around since 2003, has an eviction case notice posted to its door. The landlord is looking to take back possession of the space, and to receive $152,069.62 “with interest from September 2019.”

Cesca’s phone number is not in service, and we have not heard back from restaurant reps. A few months ago, a reader had written in to say that the restaurant appeared to have been “cleared out.”

Update: a lawyer for the restaurant says it plans to reopen.

Cesca had relatively upscale prices and presentation but a more casual neighborhood-friendly atmosphere. It got a glowing two-star review in the Times shortly after it opened, and was consistently packed.

“Energy radiates from the antipasto station by the front-room bar and an open kitchen overlooking the main dining room, but diners at the well-spaced tables and wraparound booths eat in tranquillity. A semidetached wine room, with one long table, feels a little like a wayside shrine. Like everything else about ‘Cesca, it is shrewdly conceived and perfectly placed, just one more ingenious touch in a restaurant that rarely puts a foot wrong.”

At the time the chef was Tom Valenti, who had opened another popular UWS spot Ouest two years earlier. Valenti went on to become the executive chef at Le Cirque and then Oxbow Tavern (which has since closed).

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 9 comments | permalink
    1. Conall Tomkins says:

      I think it’s awful. They were selling gift certificates and now no chance to honor them. That’s just not right.

    2. Tostones Fix says:

      I always thought Cesca was the right upscale restaurant for the UWS. A place you can take your family or friends for a special occasion or a date night but also a big enough bar where one could have a glass of wine and an appetizer on a Wednesday evening by one’s self. It wasn’t a bad run but I thought it would make it long term.

    3. your_neighbor says:

      From the notice it looks like they stopped paying at least some of their rent in September of 2019, way before COVID so I guess they have been having problems for a long time and have been trying to stick it to the landlord through the non eviction mandates.

    4. grace says:

      In its original incarnation, Cesca was such a warm, beautiful spot. It was a little pricey for us so it was primarily for special occasions, but the way that that room opened to you, candlelit, with its oak paneling *sigh* and the food was first-rate. I still remember all my favorites from the menu. I had dinner there for the last time a couple of years ago. At that point, it had changed hands to new ownership, and although the name was the same, Cesca itself was clearly gone. Restaurants don’t last forever, but I imagine that the passing of this one is personal for a number of us in the neighborhood.

    5. F Maxwell says:

      😢…Post COVID-19..What will be left of the UWS?
      While we attempt to preserve its “character” Developers are on the move building multi million dollar condos

      • Peter says:

        And what’s the problem with the million-dollar condos? If you’re equating preserving the UWS character with preserving places like Cesca, who do you think can patronize them frequently? It’s not struggling artists of yesteryear.

    6. Steve says:

      The owner of Cesca always treated the fire hydrant spot right by the restaurant as her own personal parking space. Apparently the parking tickets were nothing to her. So sorry for the landlord but not the owner

    7. Vincent says:

      Tried this place once, food didn’t come out after we waited for 45min so we left, good riddance. There’s been a lot of great spots opening in the neighborhood recently that actually deserve your business.

    8. Jane says:

      Not sure if the ownership remained the same throughout, but Cesca revamped its menu and its decor several years ago, and neither change was an improvement. The food was a shadow of its former self. Last I looked, Cesca was promoting weird singles events in what seemed like a desperate attempt to keep afloat. The pandemic may have been the final blow, but this was a long time coming.