The First United States Restaurant Venture by Michelin Star Italian Restaurateur Mario Iaccarino Will Bring the Sorrento Coast to St. Louis
Photos Courtesy of Casa Don Alfonso
Renowned Italian restaurateur Mario Iaccarino is pleased to announce the opening of his first U.S. restaurant project, Casa Don Alfonso at the The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis this fall. A family with four generations in the hospitality industry, the Iaccarinos opened Don Alfonso 1890 in southern Italy’s Sant’ Agata, creating what is today an internationally lauded and beloved boutique hotel and restaurant with iterations all over the world, including Toronto and Macao. At Casa Don Alfonso, Iaccarino looks to welcome St. Louis diners with his family’s timeless Mediterranean recipes and signature charming hospitality that encapsulate the essence of the Sorrento Coast. “It was an easy choice to bring this project to the states with The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis,” says Iaccarino. “We share the same philosophy and incredible attention to detail, so it was a natural fit from the very beginning.”
Iaccarino’s vision for Casa Don Alfonso is a relaxed and approachable setting, for which The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis enlisted Atlanta-based architecture and interior design firm The Johnson Studio to bring to life. The 140-seat restaurant and bar feature multiple dining opportunities with relaxed seating in the lounge area and counter seating surrounding the open kitchen in addition to traditional tableside service. The color palette, inspired by lavender fields in Sant’ Agata, sets a romantic tone for the restaurant where the light purple motif is featured in a cascading glass wisteria chandelier, hand-painted floral tile by Italian ceramicist Giovanni de Maio in the kitchen, and even accented in the servers’ uniforms.
Prominently displayed is artwork from Italian artist Anna Russo featuring Mediterranean landscapes and shorelines, citrus fruit, and florals. Having been friends with the Iaccarino family throughout the years, Russo’s art can also be seen at Don Alfonso 1890. Guests will also notice curated family photos of the Iaccarinos in the restaurant’s corridor, as if being welcomed into the family’s home. Bringing together Sant’ Agata and St. Louis, and as a nod to the city’s converging rivers, The Johnson Studio intertwined architectural elements like arches and curves, inviting the diner’s eyes to dance through the interior.
Don Alfonso 1890’s culinarian and chef Ernesto Iacarrino ‘s Mediterranean menu looks to illustrate beloved recipes passed down in the Iacarrino family for generations, while also honoring the culinary traditions of Italy’s Campania region. An early preview of the dinner menu includes treasured family recipes like Anti-Aging Soup,
Sorrento-Style Gnocchi, Grandmother Titina’s Ziti, Organic Neopolitan Pizzas and Fish Cartoccio as well as whimsical desserts found in Naples’ bakeries. Overseeing the Casa Don Alfonso kitchen is chef de cuisine Sergio Chierego. Honing his skills at celebrated restaurants all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Saudi Arabia, chef Chierego joins the Casa Don Alfonso team for his first stateside appointment. Originally from Cagliari, Italy, chef Chierego most recently served as the chef de cuisine of Azzurro at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, where he drew upon seasonal ingredients to create modern Sardinian dishes. Chef Chierego and his team of culinary professionals will utilize the finest ingredients available to most closely resemble the sun-kissed produce harvested at the Iaccarino family’s farm. The Iaccarino farm was established by Mario and Ernesto’s grandfather, Don Alfonso, and acts as the ultimate inspiration for the cuisine by honoring the land and showcasing the exceptional quality of ingredients.
Spearheading all restaurant operations will be general manager Alen Tanovic. Tanovic’s breadth of experience working in luxury hospitality has cultivated leadership and dedication for the guest experience, ensuring the highest level of service to create an unforgettable atmosphere. Casa Don Alfonso will open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner service this fall within The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, 100 Carondelet Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63105. Grand opening announcements and hours of operations are forthcoming.