Gerard Renny is a third generation Italian-American with a New York City restaurant and political family pedigree. His great-grandparents owned and operated Pep’s Bar and Grill for over thirty years in the Brownsville/Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn, and his maternal grandfather owned Ferdinand’s Restaurant and Catering in Queens. Through his grand-uncle Meade Esposito (longtime Chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party), Gerard got his start in the hospitality business. And in 1977 at the age of 18, and with a little help from Uncle Meade, he landed a job at Studio 54 during its late 1970s decadent heyday. (Gerard is currently featured in the 2018 film Studio 54: The Documentary by Altimeter Films)
After leaving his disco days behind him, and returning to New York City from a year of living in Paris, Gerard got his first serious restaurant position as the general manager of the pioneering and now famous Soho bar/restaurant/gallery, Central Falls. While there, along with owner Bruce Goldstein, Gerard helped launch the Central Falls Roadshow. This was an on-location film and event catering business, complete with a state-of-the-art catering truck, and he was an integral contributor to the design and execution of this high-tech kitchen on wheels.
It was during this time that Gerard built many of the professional and personal relationships that have thrived and survived to this day. This included working on such films as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club (with Gregory Hines, Richard Gere, Diane Lane), and Ulu Grosbard’s Falling in Love (starring Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Harvey Keitel). He also catered the food service to all the VIP tents and the personal trailer for Diana Ross during her well-documented 1983 concert in Central Park.
With the pioneering spirit he acquired during his days at Central Falls, Gerard put together his first large scale restaurant project, and in 1985 launched the 300-seat Liberty Café at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 with Chef Sam Hazen at the helm.
In 1993, along with his business partner from Liberty Café, Gerard took over the former O’Neal brothers restaurant space at the southeast corner of 6th Avenue and 57th Street, and opened Lucky’s Bar & Grill. A year later they followed up with Brasserie Americaine, located on 64th Street across from Lincoln Center, as a nostalgic nod to his days in Paris.
In 1997 the two partners branched out to Miami’s South Beach Art Deco District, where they purchased, restored, and relaunched the historic landmark hotel, The Century.
On his 38th birthday in 1997, Gerard signed the contract to write his much-acclaimed cookbook, The Men of the Pacific Street Social Club Cook Italian (William Morrow, Hearst Publications). Released in 1999, this cookbook celebrates his family’s roots, their recipes, and the legendary Brooklyn neighborhood where he was born and raised.
In 2001, Gerard ventured out on his own, conceptualizing and opening a 1960s themed sushi bar on Broadway called Sushi à-Go-Go, which was featured in the May 2002 edition of Interior Design Magazine.
In 2004, he became the creative force behind Uncle Bacala’s, an Italian-American restaurant in Garden City Park, NY, the inspiration for which was based on the stories and recipes of his Men of The Pacific Street Social Club Cookbook.
Reuniting with his former business partner in 2006, they launched Bar Stuzzichini in the Flatiron district of NYC. This trattoria, was based on his travels throughout Southern Italy, and he was the first to introduce Stuzzichini (Southern Italian small plates) to the New York City dining scene, helping to start a local food craze in 2007. This is the restaurant that would redefine his career. Critically acclaimed for both its concept and food, Bar Stuzzichini was awarded two stars by New York Magazine’s Adam Platt, as well as the New York Times’ Frank Bruni in 2007. In 2008 it was voted as having the “Best Small Plates” in New York Magazine’s “Best of New York”. New York Magazine also selected Bar Stuzzichini’s Pane e Panelle as the number two overall sandwich in their “101 Best Sandwiches” in New York (May 2010).
This success prompted Gerard to open a spinoff of Bar Stuzzichini in 2010, the Michelin-rated Stuzzicheria, and the Pane Panelle take-out sandwich shop. Located at the corner of Church and Walker Streets in Tribeca, Eater NY selected it as one of the “Top Ten Sandwich Shops” of 2011, along with the winning recipe in the 2011 Brooklyn Meatball Slapdown.
Since 2012, Gerard has been consulting and project-managing throughout the New York City metropolitan area. Most notably Morimoto’s Bisutoro, The Savoy Tavern, Los Americanos Latin Restaurant, The Anthony, and Antique Bar and Bakery. Add to this list the Church Street Tavern, where along with Chef Ryan Skeen, the team created the critically acclaimed Tavern Burger which made New York Magazine’s “Most Important Burger” list, and Bloomberg News’ “Top 5 Burgers” in New York of 2015.
In May 2016 Pacific St Hospitality launched their 1970s inspired bar Ethyl’s Alcohol & Food on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. After navigating and surviving the pandemic, Ethyl’s is now in its 8th year of operation and going stronger than ever.
In the summer of 2023, PSH helped launch The Pacific Street Pizza Company on Long Island’s North Shore – an homage to the old-style Brooklyn pizza joints Gerard frequented in his youth.
Most recently PSH has partnered with the people of Schaller & Weber, the landmark German butcher shop on the Upper East Side. Together they relaunched Jeremy’s, an upscale Viennese style cocktail bar. Gerard helped to recraft their story through the food and cocktail menus, refining the design and music, and bringing in an element of talent that compliments the neighborhood.
Gerard has three sons, who are all currently working in the hospitality industry, and they frequently collaborate on projects for Pacific Street Hospitality.
Gerard resides in New York City.