CLEAN PLATE BEST REWARD
THERE is no higher compliment than a polished clean plate or diner’s request for a takeaway container, says Lo Zucchero Italian restaurant and café owner George D’Annunzio.
“If they cannot eat any more and want it for tomorrow’s lunch, then you know you have found a winning dish,” D’Annunzio said.
The City Beach eatery was recently awarded the Gold Plate for Family Dining 2015 for the second year in a row, Restaurant Catering Family Dining 2015, Australian Hotels Association Family Dining 2015 and the famed Italian Award from the Italian Government.
D’Annunzio said his restaurant received so many new awards last year that he was having difficulty finding space to hang them.
“We were drilling holes in a wall and thought: ‘You know what, let’s do a splashback and use Velcro so we can just move them around’,” he said.
“Of course these awards are a team thing, it’s not just me.
“We are all like family … actually; half of us really are family. Winning an award is great, but also just seeing your customers leave smiling and blowing kisses is more important to me than anything else.”
D’Annunzio said he and his Italian-born chefs drew from their heritage to create the menu.
“Sometimes just a smell or taste of something brings me back to what I had when I was young, and my chefs are the same,” he said.
“My parents come from Vasto, Abruzzo, which is well known for its seafood and is also the sister city of Perth,” he said.
“My mum always says to keep food simple and everyone enjoys it. We have followed that tradition for many years.”
Named after popular Italian blues singer Zucchero Fornaciari, but also literally translated to ‘the sugar’, D’Annunzio said it did not take long for Lo Zucchero to find its sweet spot.
“The classic dishes using fresh produce, like our wood-fired pizzas and pastas are so important,” he said.
“You see some places that are cutting corners, and you can’t hide behind that. Customers would tell you straight upfront.”
After seven successful years at The Boulevard, D’Annunzio said it was time for Lo Zucchero to expand.
“We are looking at opening a second location in Mandurah at the end of the year,” he said.
“It will still be Lo Zucchero, but as a microbrewery. We’re thinking of getting a gondola put out the front to go real Italian, and I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
Lo Zucchero owner George D'Annunzio continues to accumulate awards for his restaurant.