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Exploring Life & Business with Anthony Sitek of Crown Republic Restaurant Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Sitek. 

Hi Anthony, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Like any full-blooded Italian from New Jersey, I have to start with my grandma. It’s alongside her in the kitchen that I first discovered my passion for food and how it brings people together. She also showed me how cooking-from-scratch not only enhances the food’s flavor and quality but also teaches you to never let anything go to waste. I’ve had an incredible culinary education both formal — from JWY Providence — and on-the-job in Chicago and under Bobby Flay in New York City. 

Before relocating to Cincinnati, I helped opened a Mediterranean restaurant in Miami. From each of these experiences, I learned something about myself, food, and the business. More than anything, I learned that what keeps me going is seeing people gathered around a table, enjoying each other’s company, and connecting over comforting, flavorful, enriching food. 

Everything I do at Crown Restaurant Group (CRG) is inspired by my family and the experiences I’ve had around food throughout my life. From the energy of the fast-paced restaurant in New York City and Chicago where I honed my craft to my Italian roots in New Jersey and the eclecticism of Miami, it’s all become a part of our restaurants: Crown Republic Gastropub, Losanti, Rosie’s Cocktails and Pies, and most recently, La Cantina. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Every restaurant has had its challenges these past couple years, from total shutdowns to constant shifting and adapting, I still consider us lucky. We opened our second restaurant, Losanti, in October of 2019. We were excited, we had people coming in and responding to the concept, and then less than 5 months later the Covid-19 Pandemic changed everything. At Crown Republic, we quickly shifted to meal kits and other take-out-friendly options, and eventually, Losanti was able to re-open for in-house dining. When it looked like things were turning around, we officially opened Rosie’s on the same block as Crown Republic Gastropub, only to have a car crash into the side of the restaurant — thankfully there were no injuries, the accident occurred when the restaurant was closed. 

What keeps us going is our incredible staff who we have been lucky enough to have throughout all the ups and downs. It’s a team effort that keeps morale high and guests smiling. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
From New York to Miami, to Chicago, and his new home in Cincinnati, Chef Anthony crafts multicultural dishes from scratch for an eclectic menu of dishes that make diners feels at home. Wherever you’re from or wherever you’re going, a meal at one of Anthony Sitek’s restaurants is a welcome respite from the daily chaos. Created alongside his wife, Haley Sitek, a burgeoning group has started to take form, including Crown Republic Gastropub, Losanti, Rosie’s Cocktails & Pies, and La Cantina. Go to www.crgcincy.com to learn more. 

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
I am consistently impressed with the resiliency and creativity of our culinary community in Cincinnati. I will always welcome the opportunity to collaborate with chefs and support local restaurants. Just recently I did one-off collaboration with Dave Willocks at their bakery for a pizza night. I would encourage all chefs in the area to take a moment to step out of their comfort zone when they can and experiment with other chefs. 

I am also thankful for every guest that has supported our restaurants, their experience — whether stopping in for a weekday lunch, celebrating with us, or grabbing something to go — is why all of us at CRG keep doing what we do. 

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Image Credits

Hailey Bollinger

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