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Franco & Piero Landini / Landini Brothers Restaurant

Posted on Oct 02,2007
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community,

Franco & Piero Landini / Landini Brothers Restaurant
115 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 836-8404

About Franco:
(We spoke to Franco for this article) At the ripe age of 15, Franco went to work for Italian Lines, learning about the hospitality business. At 16, he joined the merchant marine, sailing the atlantic for the next five years. In 1972, he came to Alexandria, working for a few local restaurants. In 1974 opened his first restaurant in Arlington. In 1979, he opened Landini Brothers Restaurant with his brother Piero.

About Landini Brothers:
“My mother and father came from Italy to help build the restaurant. My father was a carpenter. Everyone helped – truly a family business. We’ve now been here for nearly 30 years. I started with my brother – we had one room (where the entry is) then we expanded into the second floor. That became crowded, so we added next door.

Our restaurant serves Italian cuisine with seasonal specialties. We use fresh ingredients selected from the local market. Ours is a family business, I’m the operational head.

Back when we started cooking here, the US wasn’t as familiar with true Italian cuisine. I was using recipes from the old country. I was ordering mussels and squid from the local seafood distributer and he asked me what I was using it for – fishing? I’d say that I was cooking with it. He thought I was crazy – he’d give it to me for free!”

Business Philosophy:
“It’s no secret. My mentor taught me early on to buy the best food available on the market, and cook it right. She would say, “Good + good = good. If you buy good, and cook it good - it can’t be bad”.

We focus our efforts on pleasing our community. They’re the ones who are here all year long. We make sure we satisfy our local customers. We are loyal to them, and they are loyal to us. ”

Why did you choose to do this?
“I had no money, so what did I have to lose?” It took a lot of hard work and dedication, and I’ve been very pleased with the results – I’ve been blessed”.

Why Alexandria?
“When I was still in Italy I met an Italian-American from Alexandria. We got married and came back here.”

Interesting Story?
“Over the years I’ve met a lot of interesting people. A while back, Charlton Heston visited the restaurant and asked me if I could make him a steak tartare. I said, Mr. Heston, I’ve made a few in my life, and I’ll make you one now. I went back in the kitchen and prepared one. He ate it and told me it was the best he’d ever had. We became friends. From then on, whenever he was in town he would call from the airport to have one specially made for him. Because of illness, he can’t travel so I don’t see him any more, but I still keep in touch with his family.”

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