Hugo Oliva Joins Tivoli Café as Part Owner

By Jessie Levine
Special to the Palisades News

Ask any Palisades resident about the Tivoli Café on Sunset and they will reply that they either eat there many times a month or drive by it every single day. In short, the place is a fixture. Since its original opening in 1989, it has remained one of the only sit-down restaurants of its caliber on that stretch of Sunset Boulevard.

Frequent patrons of the local café will surely recognize Hugo Oliva, who six months ago joined restaurant owner Sohail Fatoorechi as part owner. He has been a friendly face at Tivoli for two years now, primarily acting as front-of-house manager, but also contributing a fair amount of expertise and artistry in the kitchen, as well as adding to the healthy wine list.

Tivoli part-owner Hugo Oliva samples the seafood pasta. Photo: Lesly Hall Photography
Tivoli part-owner Hugo Oliva samples the seafood pasta.
Photo: Lesly Hall Photography

Fatoorechi owns another restaurant in Beverly Hills, the family Italian eatery Il Forno Caldo. The hard work of running a restaurant cannot be understated, let alone the work of running two restaurants. Fa- toorechi saw the potential of his employee Oliva to become more than just a manager—someone who could take over own- ership and care of Tivoli Café while Fatoorechi himself oversaw operations at his Bev- erly Hills spot.

“Hugo is helping me to make sure everything at Tivoli Cafe runs smoothly while I am running the other restaurant in Beverly Hills,” Fatoorechi said. “No big changes are being made. The menu is staying the same. We just need to make sure that we can take care of the customers; we want everyone to be pleased.”

Tivoli’s newest part-owner has been working in the restaurant industry for many, many years. He’s also been a lifelong cook, and regularly creates food specials for Tivoli Café. His contributions to curating the wine list have been a major benefit as well. Oliva is a true jack-of-all trades and the man to know at Tivoli Café. “From washing dishes to seating tables, I love the restaurant industry,” Oliva said.

For those patrons of Tivoli Café who might be concerned that new part-ownership will equate to drastic changes: fear not.

Oliva’s approach to management will include some minor upgrades to the space and the food specials, but in a slow and thoughtful manner, and it will be the same Tivoli Café that is well-known and much-loved by locals.

“Especially in a small community like this, people don’t always like change,” Oliva said. That is why, little by little, small adjustments will be made here and there without any huge change in the overall concept. The cuisine will still be the American-Italian classic that keep guests returning time after time. He also said there will likely be some minor remodeling to the space in the near future.

With the behemoth Caruso development coming less than a block away, Oliva stresses the importance of keeping local businesses like Tivoli Café alive and flourishing.

“I’m looking to keep the restaurant going for another 30 years. That’s why I’m doing a partnership,” Oliva said. “Since next year there will be a shopping center across the street, it’s important to us to be sup- ported by locals and to be one of the businesses surviving.”

Fatoorechi also takes a great deal of pride in his restaurant’s longevity in the community, and will continue to put the needs of the local patrons first. “I’ve always loved the small-town feeling of the Palisades,” he said.

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