Visconti's Restaurant goes 'old school'

Best of the Best special section
By: Don Chaddock, The Telegraph
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From scrubbing dishes and pushing brooms in a restaurant to now owning one that’s taken the Telegraph’s Best of the Best award nine years running, Chef Frank Visconti says it’s time to shake things up. For 16 years, Visconti’s Italian Restaurant has offered diners hearty portions at their East Bidwell Street location and now the popular eatery is planning to move down the road to the Broadstone area. “Probably the first couple of weeks in May we’ll make the move,” he said. But don’t think the restaurant will be shutdown for long during the transition. “I’m hoping (to be closed) only two or three days,” he said. “We have everything going now to make it smooth.” He said the new restaurant will have more parking and will be able to offer seating options for their customers. “We’re going to have a full bar, which we don’t have now,” he said. “We’ll also have a front and back patio and a banquet room.” Looking around the family-run restaurant, he said the move is for the best. “We’ve been here 16 years and it’s time to move on,” he said. “We like Folsom and want to stay. That’s why we’re moving to the Broadstone Plaza.” Visconti started his career as a dishwasher in a pizzeria and worked his way up the ladder in the industry, always working in Italian restaurants. When he was managing a restaurant, he decided it was time to take the leap and open his own place. That’s when he recruited his family to help with the endeavor. His father, Carmello, is often seen greeting customers in the dining room. As executive chef and owner of the restaurant, Frank Visconti said he always loved to cook. He’s a self-taught chef who started at an early age. “My mom tells me as a kid I would always play with pots and pans,” he said. “Some of the dishes (offered at Visconti’s) are family recipes and some are original creations.” He’s been cooking for 26 years and considers the restaurant “old school” in service, portions and atmosphere. “I’m a big eater,” he said. “I hate going somewhere to eat and not being full.” Tista Visconti, a waiter in the restaurant, offers a handshake to customers and gives them a warm welcome. “Most people can’t finish their plates,” he said. “It’s rare.” Frank Visconti said the restaurant has no microwaves and he doesn’t use preservatives in his dishes. “It’s all fresh,” he said. AT A GLANCE The restaurant is located at 322 East Bidwell St. The new location, slated to open mid-May, will be at 2700 East Bidwell St., Suite 700, in Folsom.