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Alessio Franceschetti
Meet Alessio
Excerpts from: Interview with a Local Wine Pioneer
by Jimi Davidson
Alessio Franceschetti is an icon in the Dallas wine community. Since arriving in town in the late 1970s, he has played an instrumental role in bringing the fine Italian wines of his homeland into the market. His namesake restaurant, which opened in 1983, was a seminal figure on the Dallas restaurant landscape for over 15 years. Its progressive and pioneering wine program helped usher in a new era of acceptance for high-end Italian wines locally.
In 1977, Franceschetti came to America. Following a stint as sommelier at the French Room in the Omni Hotel in Atlanta, he made his way to Dallas where he managed several restaurants before opening Alessio's il Ristorante.

Following are some of Alessio's thoughts
on the wine scene in Dallas.
Q. Do you consider yourself to be something of a trendsetter when it comes to establishing Italian wine in Dallas?
A. Well, I don't know. I worked with a friend of mine in developing the Eccolo wind list. In 1983 when I opened my restaurant, Alessio's il Ristorante, I was very much involved with new wines from Italy. I brought a lot of new ideas into the market about wines. Just because at one point when I first came to Dallas in 1977, all people knew was Valpolicella, Chianti, you know. That fall, with the opening of my restaurant, we developed something a little more upscale...we brought in wines from all over Italy.
Q. How much more knowledgeable is the customer now than in 1983 when you opened your restaurant?
A. Much more knowledgeable, very well educated in wine. Fine stores like Monticello Liquors where you can find a great selection of wines, or Siegels, or Marty' know, they're being exposed to a great selection, an extensive selection of Italian wines.
Q. What do you drink personally, when it's just for you?
A. I come from a little part of Italy from around Milano, and since I was a child, I've been exposed to a lot of the 89 grapes, Barbera, Barbaresco, Barolos. And if I have a meal, not too extravagant, I'll give myself a Barbera. Because a Barbera not only has a little fruitiness but it's got a nice taste. It's very palatable, very enjoyable.
Q. What do you think of the American influence on Italian wine, like when California winemakers set up projects in Italy?
 A. I think that people have come to realize that by adding the wines and talent of the California winemaker with the wines from Italy you can come together and have a great wine. Like the Mondavi and Frescobaldi project, I think that is an excellent example of what the winemakers can do.
Q. You actually have a pretty extensive background working with French wines. What kind of French wines are you most into?
A. Well, I'm partial to the Rhone wines. I like a lot of the Rhone wines; I always enjoy them. I think the French make great, great wines.
Q. Do you feel that a big part of what you do is educating people who may not be so familiar with Italian wines?
A. Definitely. When the customer wants to know my idea and opinion about which wine they should drink...they have a tendency to enjoy the descriptions of the wine. When you lead them to a certain wine rather than another, you help them develop a relationship with the wine and make the people understand it in a way that they appreciate the complexity of the wines.

More about Alessio
Alessio's experience is wide ranging dating back to his roots in Italy where he first honed his skills in Italian cuisine. His career has been a wonderful learning curve for his current venture, Alessio's Catering.
Following his first apprenticeship at the Hotel School Lesa in Lago Maggiore, Italy he served as waiter in distinguished restaurants like the Comi' de Rang in Heidelberg, Germany, the Comi' de Rang, Palace Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, and the Onex Golf Club in Geneva, Switzerland.
Later, in the 1970's, Alessio worked on several cruise ships as a steward, a career move that definitely taught him how to please his customers. He's even worked as a waiter and wine steward at the luxurious Newport Room of the Princess Hotel in South Hampton, Bermuda.

Following his arrival in the United States in 1977, and in addition to being the sommelier at the French Room, Omni Hotel in Atlanta, Alessio held a variety of positions at the following impressive list of restaurants in Georgia and Texas.

Coach & Six Restaurant, Captain
Lombardi's Restaurant, Head Waiter
Fausto's Restaurant, Assistant Manager
Lancer's Club, Maitre 'd
Belvedere Restaurant, General Manager
Alessio's il Ristorante, Owner - 1983 thru 1999
Pomodoro Arcodoro Ristorante, General Manager
Botticelli's Ristorante, Gen. Mgr., Executive Chef
Alexander Mansion, Special Events Chef
Sambuca Jazz Café, Maitre 'd

Atlanta, Georgia
Dallas, Texas
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Over 30 years of professional hotel, restaurant, and fine dining
experience within the United States and throughout the world.

Well respected and noted for both quality service
and food among clients spanning the globe.
From simple Hors d'oeuvres to Private Dinners to complete Weddings, Alessio's Catering can handle your events. Call Alessio for a consultation at 214-263-0051 or email your requirements by using our request form.
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