Revived Dillon Italian restaurant a family affair
Adriano Ottoborgo grew up in his family’s former restaurant, Ristorante al Lago in Dillon. Literally.The family lived in an apartment underneath the establishment. “When they were kids, they were always up here playing,” his father Ivano Ottoborgo said. “They were literally immersed in the restaurant business.” “They learned how to sled on the big oval serving trays,” Gina Ottoborgo, Adriano’s mother added.Ivano ran Ristorante al Lago with his own father for more than 20 years, until Ivano’s parents became ill in 2000. They leased the business out to another group, which closed the establishment in 2008.”It was sitting empty for three years,” Gina said. “Adriano was doing construction with Ivano after high school, and he said, ‘It’s sitting there, why don’t we go back into the restaurant business? I’d really like to try it.’ So now we’re all back in it.” The family opened Adriano’s Bistro & Deli last December in the same location on Lake Dillon Drive they’d always occupied. Again, they live downstairs. And again, they offer an ever-changing menu of Northern Italian cuisine, like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken bolognese and mussels fra diavolo. A traditional Italian pizza oven – Adriano’s idea – was added before opening last winter. “I remember growing up here, I remember the restaurant life,” said Summit High grad Adriano, 22. He loved the culinary classes he took in school, and was always asking his father to try out recipes. So when he wanted to open a restaurant, he went to Ivano. “I figured, who better to learn from than someone who has been in the business for 30 years?” Adriano said. In the Ottoborgo family, everyone contributes. They’re around each other almost all day long.”We’re all still here,” Gina laughed. “I think we all work really well together.” Ivano works in the kitchen – as he’d always done at Ristorante al Lago – Gina manages the dining room, their son Danilo, currently in college, bartends and waits tables. The couple’s youngest, Chantelle, who is in high school, busses table. “But she is waiting to turn 18 so she can wait tables,” Ivano said.
As for the restaurant’s namesake Adriano, he manages the pizza oven. “It’s a good excuse for him to play with fire all day long,” Gina said. “They’re different pizzas,” Ivano said of the new fare. One, with sausage, prosciutto, coppacola mozzarella and marinara is aptly named “Bestia” – “beast” in Italian. All ingredients are made in house, including the sausage, bread, dough, sauces and desserts. They even brine their own mushrooms. They were doing cheese for a while, but the required volume became too much. If they could fit a curing room, Adriano said, he would happily make prosciutto and cheeses. The restaurant has a great local base, and a lot of people tell Ivano they’re happy to see the family back in business. Loyal customer and family friend Jay Weinstein calls the food “unbelievable.””They took a risk in a down economy,” Weinstein said. For Adriano, seeing his name on the sign outside is a little weird, but, the business makes him proud. As does the fact that his family backed him 100 percent, and were willing to jump into it with him. “It’s a really great thing,” he said. “It’s what I want to do.” For restaurant hours and more information, call (970) 468-6111.
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