Making It: Guarino's Restaurant Stands the Test of Time

MAKERS: Owner Scott Phillips and Chef Carmen Puntel

BUSINESS: Guarino’s Restaurant

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS: Guarino’s was started in 1918 by Vincenzo Guarino. He and “Mama” Guarino served food to many generations of Clevelanders. Their only son took over the business in 1954 after his father’s death. It’s the city’s oldest restaurant, and 2018 marks its 100th year.

CONTINUING THE FAMILY TRADITION: Although the Guarinos no longer own the business, it continues to be a family restaurant. Nancy Phillips was a close family friend, and she took over the business in 1988. Her children, Scott and Rachel, helped her bring the business into the 21st century. Now, they are looking forward to continuing this tradition into the restaurant’s centennial.

OLD MIXES WITH NEW: Many things have changed in the 100 years since Guarino’s started, but a lot has remained the same as well. Their signature marinara sauce is the same recipe from Mama Guarino, and it’s even cooked on the very stove Mama Guarino used. There have been some renovations to the interior since 1918, and the Phillips family has plans for upgrades in the future, but make no mistake: this is the same old-school, authentic Italian restaurant you could find back in Little Italy’s early days.

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