FIOR d' ITALIA HISTORY
Angelo Del Monte and 'Papa' Marianetti opened Ristorante Fior d' Italia, America's oldest Italian restaurant, on May 1, 1886, in the heart of San Francisco's North Beach.
Originally opened to serve the clients of the bordello located in the building at 492 Broadway, 'The Fior' not only served the bordello's clients well but soon became a very popular restaurant with other San Franciscans. The original gold rush era building burned in 1893.
The restaurant immediately reopened at a new facility which served the restaurant well until the great earthquake and fire of 1906. By then 'The Fior' was well established in the city. The day after the earthquake the restaurant 'reopened' in a tent in order to feed the public. Great kettles of soup fed the populace. The restaurant operated out of the tent for about a year while San Francisco was rebuilt.
In 1907 Fior d' Italia moved to a new building at Broadway and Kearny. As the city grew and 'The Fior' became more popular, the restaurant expanded to accommodate the business. Eventually the restaurant grew to a size that could seat 750 and serve 1500 meals a day.
Fior d' Italia was central to the cuisine and social life of San Francisco. Around 1930, due to a dispute with their landlord, the owners of the restaurant moved, overnight, to a location just across Kearny Street. The restaurant remained at that location until 1953, when it moved to 601 Union Street at Stockton on Washington Square Park, where it remained until the fire of February 15, 2005. Today, Fior d' Italia is located at 2237 Mason Street.
The Fior d' Italia has been an important part of San Francisco's grand and glorious history for 120 years. The restaurant has been a leader in building the great tradition of excellent cuisine for which the city is so famous. The restaurant has also been a center of cultural and social events for the city and the Italian community.
Thousands of banquets, parties, business events and weddings have taken place at 'The Fior.' The restaurant and San Francisco share a great history and tradition. In short, Fior d' Italia offers the best of Italy: traditional Italian cuisine and old world service.
The Fior d' Italia has had only four sets of owners in 126 years. The original proprietors, through Marianetti's sons Frank and George, ran the restaurant until age finally caught up with the family and there was no 'new blood' to take over.
At that point the restaurant was sold to a group headed by two North Beach natives, Sergio and Larry Nibbi, and Charles Ramorino, Achille Pantaleoni and Armanino. Through their efforts and investment the restaurant revived. Not being professional restaurateurs the group opted to concentrate on their primary businesses and the restaurant was sold to Bob and Jinx Larive and Hamish and Rosi Fordwood in 1990.
In October of 2012 Executive Chef Gianni Audieri and his wife Trudy took ownership of Fior and continue the tradition of great Italian food and hospitality.
Click here to download a PDF copy of "The Fabulous Fior: Over 100 Years in an Italian Kitchen" by Francine Brevetti