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Franco Bertolasi, R.I.P.

I just learned that sweet and charming restaurateur, Franco Bertolasi, 69, founder of The Riviera passed away yesterday from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He will be sorely missed. Franco was the finest host ever to grace a restaurant in Dallas and thousands of woman will mourn the loss of Franco’s lovely hand-kiss. (Thanks for the note, CC.)

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2 comments on “Franco Bertolasi, R.I.P.

  1. Was sad to hear of the passing of Mr. Bertolasi-truly a restaurant icon in Dallas. Have a humorous story about Franco back decades ago when I was a young culinary student who was in awe of all the glowing press the Riviera, chefs Lori and David Holben, and staff were receiving. I decided to save up my pennies and go there as soon as possible. Months later that day finally arrived and my then girlfriend and I nervously entered the doors of the hallowed Riviera one evening. And of course there he was — this very handsome middle aged man dapperly dressed and deeply tanned. He greeted us warmly and took us to the bar and gave us a taste of his favorite opened bottle of wine. Without missing a beat he gracefully took my girlfriends hand and said “lets go see the wineroom – this will be the most sensual evening of our lives!”. That was the last I saw of my girlfriend and this suave Marcello Mastroianni character straight from a Fellini movie for quite some time. Finally I worked up enough nerve to ask the bartender the whereabouts of the downstairs wineroom as now an immoderate amount of time had passed. The bartender leans over to me and says “I’m sorry sir, but there is no downstairs wineroom”.

  2. All of us in the Dallas restaurant business learned from Franco Bertolasi, but what we learned wasn’t just about the restaurant business, it was about charm and grace, style and celebration. The Riviera has been missed, but Franco leaves a legacy that will never be duplicated. Bravo! A life well lived!

    As Ever,

    Whit