An authentic Italian eatery co-owned by a legendary New York TV anchor is reopening with a new look and several new menu items to try.
Since November 1993, Fresco by Scotto, located at 34 East 52nd St., has been serving up Italian classics that any New Yorker would enjoy. The restaurant, headed by Rosanna Scotto, anchor of Good Day New York and her sister Elaina, takes pride in creating a space that offered a “power broker’s lunch and star-filled entertainment industry dinner.”
Like many restaurants in New York City, Fresco by Scotto shut down in March 2020 due to the pandemic. They were able to reopen in September 2020 with outdoor dining.
“It was probably the closest thing to a disaster you could imagine. We were hemorrhaging money and had days with no customers,” said Elaina Scotto. “We closed right after Thanksgiving. Each week we thought it’ll get better, but it never did. We took A lot of time to reimagine our restaurant.”
Rosanna and Elaina Scotto did some traveling after the restaurant closed down and were amazed to see restaurants that were bustling, not just on a Friday, but all week long. This gave the two a spark to really take Fresco by Scotto to the next level.
“We needed to change drastically, so we started thinking and brainstorming,” said Elaina Scotto. “We need a block party, we’re the only ones on the block. We need this festive atmosphere and make it beautiful as it possibly can be.”
“We knew that if we did not make it a fun destination place, we were going to close down very quickly again,” said Rosanna Scotto.
The pair enlisted the help of party planner Larry Scott to create an incredible outdoor dining space that they have dubbed the “Lemon Patio,” inspired by the lemon trees that you can find on Capri. The lemon inspirations have also been brought inside the restaurant and onto the menu.
The restaurant also has music playing throughout the restaurant to help bring in the fun vibes, with songs ranging from Italian covers of pop songs to Barry White.
Plus, Fresco by Scotto has brought on new chef Ben Kacmacik, formerly of Pastis, to help upgrade and expand the menu with new offerings, a cocktail menu and, of course, the Fresco by Scotto menu items that you know and love already.
“[Kacmacik] is amazing. Most restaurants are consolidating their menus, but we are expanding,” said Elaina Scotto. “We have lots of choices, including pasta, entrees, and appetizers, his food is spot on and delicious.”
“We also have our stuff that we are famous for, like our potato and zucchini chips smothered in gorgonzola, our pizza, which is a very thin-crusted pizza that is grilled with wonderful toppings,” said Rosanna Scotto. “We do have the staples of Fresco, but we also incorporated new things into the menu.”
Fresco by Scotto will officially reopen to the public on June 15. Rosanna and Elaina Scotto have hosted a few soft openings and the reception has been amazing. The restaurant is racking up reservations for when the restaurant holds its official opening, and New Yorkers both in the restaurant and on the street are being pulled into the vibrant atmosphere.
“It’s a really fun vibe. When you step foot on our corner, everyone that’s walked down the block, whether they want to eat or not, look up and feel like they have been transported somewhere beautiful,” said Elaina Scotto.
“We did a soft opening and nobody wanted to leave, people were dancing in the street,” said Rosanna Scotto. “What we envisioned for this Fresco reopening seems like it’s happening, we’re so happy.”
Ultimately, the Scotto sisters are proud that they have been able to turn their luck around and hope that diners enjoy the new and improved Fresco by Scotto.
“I think that we have all been through so much in the last year and a half, everybody has had issues, some worse than others,” said Rosanna Scotto. “We tried to stay positive during this and figured out how to pivot when the coast was clear. We never gave up and we’re so happy we didn’t.”
Fresco by Scotto is open at 12 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner, and at 5 p.m. on Saturday for dinner only. For more information, visit frescobyscotto.com.