Janet Zuccarini

Get to know the Toronto restaurant visionary

By the Get Leashed Doggy Style team

Janet Zuccarini Get Leashed Magazine

One might wonder how an entrepreneur responsible for some of Toronto’s best restaurants, with a wonderful reputation and stunning good looks, could get any better. But we at Get Leashed know the answer is simple: with a puppy! And not just any puppy, but one insanely cute puppy named (appropriately, if you know Janet) Roma.

The adorable Toy Aussie Shepherd came into Janet’s life recently, so we caught up with her in that precious time known as “the adjustment period.” Janet’s having a ball (ha!) adjusting her life to rearing a puppy and Roma is doing her best to adjust to generally being a part of our world. They’re both doing a great job and though we’re sure there are some battles (hence the “ha!” above), it’s easy to see that these two have already fallen madly in love and life is going to work out wonderfully for them.

Janet’s getting set to expand the Gusto 54 brand with new restaurants in LA and Miami and we couldn’t be more excited for her. We’re always curious to know how people combine pets and a busy schedule, but when that person is as renowned and successful as Janet is, our interest really peaks. Read on as Janet gives you the lowdown on her life as an entrepreneur and visionary for the foodie world.

Jant Zuccarini . Get Leashed Magazine

Please tell us about yourself:

I’m the Owner and CEO of Trattoria Nervosa, Gusto 101, Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, Gusto 54 Catering, and soon to open Gusto 501, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen and Gusto LA.

My favorite part of my job is that I am the visionary for whichever restaurant or business we are opening from start to finish. My creative side gets to be expressed through finding the right location of the next restaurant and envisioning the overall design and decor, to putting the right people in place to make that vision become a reality.

I love to wake up early every morning, make a substantial breakfast (always eggs and a double espresso), take Roma out for her post-breakfast walk and then either do some mountain biking, play tennis or work out in the gym in my house, all before I start my working day.

A bit about your pet:

Roma is a Toy Australian Shepherd. One day I had this idea that I wanted a dog in my life and then a couple of minutes later, I saw a woman outside of Gusto with a Toy Australian Shepherd. The owner was this young girl and when I interacted with her dog, the owner said that if I was ever thinking about getting a dog one day, it should be this exact breed. This single interaction is difficult to describe, but it felt like an intelligent interaction. From that point on, I knew I wanted this breed.

Janet Zuccarini Get Leashed Magazine

What does your ideal weekend look like?

I always start my morning with a hot breakfast of eggs and a double espresso. I would then jump on my mountain bike and go for a ride, followed by a little yoga and meditating. I always take Roma to her favorite park, Chorley, in Rosedale, where there is always a large group of dogs playing.

I would then take a stroll around Yorkville with Roma and meet up with some of my friends on the patio of Nervosa for lunch.

I would end my evening by throwing a dinner party for 10-12 of my closest friends and family. I love to barbecue Cumbrae Rib-Eye and whole branzino on my Green Egg, always accompanied by a great bottle of red wine, usually Tignanello.

Describe your personal style:

Classic with a little edge. I love the mix of high/low, which could be the latest  St. Laurent Motorcycle Jacket with a Zara blouse.

Janet Zuccarini - Get Leashed Magazine

What inspires you?

I heard a quote from Madonna in the 80s that I live my life by. “I’m not the best dancer and I’m not the best singer. But what I have is drive.” I believe drive is the strongest indicator of success.

How would you describe the look and feel of your home?

My house is very modern, with a lot of glass, concrete, and marble. However I balance this modern look with some of my vintage finds, like my Milo Baughman swivel chairs and my Paul Evans coffee table from the 1970s.

Please share a story about your pet:

Everyone in my life said that I could not handle a puppy, especially with my lifestyle and the amount that I travel. I hate to say it, but I agree with everyone – almost. Roma is quiet, sweet, smart, obedient….basically, the universe sent me an angel of a dog.