Ten years ago, recent Culinary Institute of America graduate Cornelius Gallagher approached the New York-based Livanos Restaurant Group, owner of Oceana and Abboccato, with a business plan to open his own restaurant. The then-30-year-old Bronx, N.Y., native had worked under big-name chefs such as Gray Kunz and Daniel Boulud and was ready to strike out on his own. The Livanos family, which operates restaurants ranging from diners in New York’s suburbs to fine-dining restaurants in ...

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