Growing up in and around her family’s Italian bakery in Cleveland, Angie Rito’s passion for Italian cuisine and cooking grew naturally from a young age. Her family has owned and operated Rito’s Bakery and import store in Cleveland since 1965. Her grandfather opened the business when he came to the United States from Sicily. Angie learned about cooking, baking, and running a business as an integral part of her childhood, instilling the dream that one day, she would like to open her own restaurant. Likewise, her grandmother, who is from Naples, also had a huge impact on her life and her cooking. A passion for food led Scott Tacinelli away from a successful career as an advertising sales rep after eight years in the industry at CBS radio. Being brought up in New Jersey in an Italian-American family with a mother and grandparents who were avid cooks, he has always had a deep love for food, especially Italian. Tacinelli enrolled in the French Culinary Institute while taking on a job as a cook at a local restaurant in New Jersey. Before graduation, he was hired as a line cook under Craig Koketsu at the newly opened Park Avenue Summer and quickly progressed, being promoted to sous chef a year later.
Angie started her restaurant career in the front of the house, and ended up in New York City, with the job of captaining at Park Avenue Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer. Her strong interest in food and cooking drew her to the kitchen, and she worked her way from line cook to sous chef and, of course, met and fell in love with Scott. In 2011, Chef Koketsu named Tacinelli chef de cuisine of Quality Meats, a modern steakhouse that has been named one of America’s best new steakhouses by Details Magazine. It was at Quality Meats that Tacinelli developed and honed his leadership skills, running the day-to-day operations throughout the restaurant’s back of the house.
Angie proceeded to work for Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone at Torrisi Italian Specialities, where she fine-tuned her Italian culinary craft, before returning to Quality Italian to help develop the opening menu with her now husband, Scott Tacinelli. Several elements of the signature dishes that Angie developed came directly from techniques and recipes she learned from her grandmother. Scott and Angie then developed and operated a 19-seat speakeasy restaurant project in the East Village together called dinner table, where they gained acclaim for their creative menu and unique lasagna. The couple returned to Quality Italian in 2016 to open the restaurant in Denver and assist in the future expansion of the brand as chef-partners.
They always dreamed of opening a small, special place where they could really showcase their unique style of modern Italian American cuisine. That vision has come to fruition in Don Angie.