2019 New York Rising Star Restaurateur Sean Feeny of Misi and Lilia

2019 New York Rising Star Restaurateur Sean Feeny of Misi and Lilia
January 2019

Sean Feeney walked a winding road before partnering with Chef Missy Robbins to open Brooklyn pasta temples, Lilia and Misi. After growing up on the Jersey Shore, Feeney attended the University of Virginia, where he studied biology and chemistry. He then moved to Manhattan and began a career on Wall Street, hopping from big firms including Cantor Fitzgerald, Goldman Sachs, and Anchorage Capital. In 2008, he and his wife moved to a building on Grove Street in the West Village—the same building where Robbins, then a chef at A Voce, resided. The couple and Robbins didn’t really get to know each other until Hurricane Sandy when the Feeny’s invited Robbins to their apartment for dinner in the storm’s aftermath.

Seeing her skills up close, Feeny knew Robbins had the talent to helm a blockbuster restaurant and decided to go all in to support her. While continuing to work in finance, Feeney joined Robbins and her team to build Lilia, a New York Times three-star, James Beard Award-winning restaurant. He learned fast, building a network of mentors and peers and establishing systems and leveraging technology to help the business achieve its goals. With the opening of their second restaurant, Misi, Feeney has moved into restaurant operations full-time, continuing to move forward the mission he and Robbins started back in 2014.