When Chef Scott Harris opened the doors to Mia Francesca on North Clark Street in 1992, he created a trend in the Chicago restaurant scene that has become a benchmark for urban dining. Mia Francesca, touted an immediate success by the press and patrons alike, was one of the first restaurants to encourage the lively art of dining with a contemporary, casually sophisticated trattoria ambiance. Featuring simple, rustic cooking, friendly service and fair prices, Mia Francesca won accolades from Chicago Magazine as “Critics’ Choice – Rookie of the Year.”
For Harris, Mia Francesca represented both a start and a finish. A veteran of many well-known Chicago restaurant kitchens including; The 95th, Ambria, Cucina Cucina, Harry’s Café, Sole Mio, and Petthany’s in St. Croix, Mia Francesca was the culmination of his years of experience and the desire to provide Chicagoans with a new style of dining. To open Mia Francesca, Harris partnered with Michael Noone and Terry Alexander, restaurant entrepreneurs in their own right, whose subsequent successes include Streetside, Mod, and Sonotheque.
Harris has expanded his vision to form the Francesca's Restaurant Group which operates restaurants throughout the Chicagoland area, San Diego, CA, Madison, WI, and Raleigh, NC. His restaurant concepts include Francesca's Restaurants, Davanti Enoteca, Glazed and Infused, Fat Rosie's Taco and Tequila Bar and Disotto. His managerial philosophy of building working partnerships with Chefs and other restaurants professionals, not just obtaining financial backers, has had a direct influence on the success of his restaurants. “We have really created a Family of Restaurants. Everyone has a vested interest in the restaurant’s success,” Harris notes.
Peter DeRuvo, current Mia Francesca’s Corporate Executive Chef, graduated from Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island where he studied the culinary arts and hotel and restaurant management. In 1993, DeRuvo began his culinary career as a Chef at Al Forno an Italian restaurant in Providence, where he obtained immense learning skills and philosophies about cooking that would sustain him throughout his entire career.
DeRuvo made his way to the Bay Area to cook under Chez Panisse alum Chef Paul Bertolli and Paul Canales at Oliveto in Oakland, where he was able to fine tune his cooking techniques. While living in the Bay Area, DeRuvo was introduced to olive oil producer, Albert Katz where a brilliant friendship formed. Katz sent DeRuvo to Tuscany, Italy where he spent a year gaining vast knowledge of the entire olive oil industry where he tended to the olive groves at Montecastelli, a well-known producer of Italian wines, olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Exploring the world of olive oil in the land of plenty, DeRuvo continued to cook at two star restaurant Casalta Ristorante with Chef Lazzaro Cimodoro. DeRuvo continued his studies of olives traveling throughout the South of France to cities such as Nice and Monte Carlo.
When he’s not brining his unique approach to Italian dining as Francesca’s Corporate Executive Chef, you can find him spending time traveling, golfing, reading and of course, eating.
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Friday: 11am - 10pm
Saturday: 10am - 10pm
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Everyday: 3pm - 6pm
Illinois (Chicago - Little Italy)
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12955 El Camino Real (At Del Mar Highlands Town Center)
Del Mar, CA 92130
Phone: (858) 519-5060
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