The opening of Il Barone ristorante in February of 2010 was the realization of a long held dream by Franco and his wife Donatella. At Il Barone ristorante Chef Franco continues to dazzle and impress Southern California diners. The Orange County Register’s Brad Johnson stated in a recent review; “Il Barone actually has a soul. The cooking is solid and precise, steeped in tradition and clearly weighted with heart and experience.” Donatella handles front of house duties greeting everyone at the door and making them feel welcome.
Franco’s frenetic work pace has not let up since the opening of Il Barone. He recently opened Il Barone Sicilian Street Food, this is a more casual concept geared towards providing the same great quality food in a more relaxed beach setting. With son Jonathan firmly at the helm of the Pacific City location Franco has been given the time to expand once again. Il Barone Bottega an Italian market, gelateria and espresso bar situated next to Il Barone ristorante recently opened, offering homemade gelato, authentic Italian Panini and espresso along with fresh breads, pasta’s and Italian specialty products.
It All Began with Il Barone
Chef Franco Barone literally grew up in the restaurant business. He received his introduction into restaurant and food culture at a young age helping in his families’ restaurant near Milan. There he discovered his love of food and his passion for presenting regional Italian dishes to diners. By 1982, the year he emigrated to Southern California Franco had already developed into a highly discerning and eager Italian chef. Stints at several high profile restaurants followed where he quickly gained recognition as one of Southern California’s most talented chefs. His many honors include twice being recognized as Southern California’s Chef of the Year; by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association as well as the Orange County Business Journal. He has also been named one of the great chefs of Orange County by the Orange County Kidney Foundation.