Grano Restaurant
By YP Contributor

Davisville's Authentic Italian Kitchen

Grano started out in 1986 as an Italian bakery led by husband and wife team Roberto Martella and Lucia Ruggiero. "My background is in food and wine importations,'' Roberto explains, ''and Lucia is a graduate in anthropology at the University of Toronto. Like many Italian women, she learned our culinary traditions by her mother's side, and today she oversees everything culinary at Grano."

Over the years, the small bakery has grown. Today, it’s a full-fledged Italian restaurant that aims to celebrate Il belpaese (“the beautiful country”) through the table. Grano still bakes its bread and desserts in house, and has, at any given time, Toronto's greatest selection of olive oils for customers to purchase. Grano also serves up flavourful Italian dishes, fresh homemade pasta ladled with rich, tasty sauces and calamari considered amongst Toronto's best. And, of course, being an Italian restaurant, Grano also has a wine list that is second to none. "We celebrate everything Italy has to offer," Roberto says proudly.

We celebrate everything Italy has to offer. - Roberto Martella, owner
Home baked bread, classic Italian dishes, cultural events

Nurturing Italian Cuisine and Culture

Not only does Grano cater to its customers' appetites, it also feeds their souls. "Since 1990, we've hosted our weekly Language & Linguine events, where we teach the Italian language to whomever's interested in it. It's very friendly and welcoming, and a great success ever since we started doing it," Roberto says. "What we do here is as cultural as it is culinary, there's a real sense of community and customers love that."

In addition to their Italian language workshops, Roberto and Lucia welcome many speakers, authors and scholars into their restaurant. "Since 2004, we've produced the Grano Series, which is a speakers’ series where we host great minds who come over and share their ideas on various topics. We've had wonderful and very inspiring speakers like Bernard-Henri Lévy, Christopher Hitchens and David Mitchell, for instance."

"There's a saying in Italian that I really like," says Roberto, "because I think it represents Grano in the best way and that goes: Non si vive di solo pane. It means 'One does not live on bread alone.' It's evocative of our mission to nourish both our customers' bodies and their minds."

Home baked bread, classic Italian dishes, cultural events

A Family Affair

Roberto and Lucia raised their four kids in the apartment above the restaurant. "It's great, because even if they grew up here in Canada, they bathed in Italian culture since they were born. And today, my two oldest kids are getting involved in the restaurant, bringing their wonderful and youthful take on things to give it a new life," says Roberto.

"The fact that we're still here and as popular as ever after 28 years in business really means something to me. And with the freshness that the kids are bringing to the business, I'm sure we'll still be around in 30 years."

Home baked bread, classic Italian dishes, cultural events
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