Figlio

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Interviewee: Peter Danis, Owner
Location: 1369 Grandview Avenue, Grandview Heights, Ohio 43212

Peter Danis, Owner (photo courtesy of Laurie Danis)

Peter Danis, Owner (photo courtesy of Laurie Danis)

Q | What is the most popular dish on the menu?
A | Even though our restaurant is Figlio “Wood Fired Pizza” we tend to sell more pasta than pizza!   While our pizzas are great, our pasta sauces are all made from scratch and have a unique flavor.  The Marsala sauce, Drunken Tomato Cream sauce, Brown Butter Caper sauce, and especially the Diablo Cream sauce all rock!  Especially the Diablo Sauce.  That is why the Chicken Diablo Pasta has been the #1 selling dish at our menu for over 20 years!

Q | Are there Any Menu Items Not our menu that our staff could create upon request?
A | We rotate a third of our menu on and off throughout the year to be consistent with our philosophy of eating foods that are local and seasonal.  Sometimes some of the menu items that are rotated off the menu never find their way back on since we are always creating new dishes.  Lucky for us, we have the lowest staff turnover rate of any restaurant in Columbus.  (No one has ever left us to work in the same position in any other restaurant.  That is unheard of in this industry!)  As a result, our staff can make a dish that has been off the menu for over 20 year years!  In fact, that happened the other night.  Someone ordered our “Three Onion Pasta” – that dish has been gone from the Figlio menu for 18 years but our Chef John Franke has been with us for 24 years so he was able to produce the dish within minutes!  He has a great memory for recipes, foods, and flavor combinations.

Q | Are there any guest creations that have been so good that they have ended up appearing on the main menu?
A | As you know, our Create Your Own Pizza is a wildly successful section in our menu.  Ever since the Food Network started on TV it seems like everyone wants to be a chef!  When my wife Laurie and I came in to our own restaurant as “guests” we always created our own pizza that had this odd combination of grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola cheese.  We thought it was delicious so our chef suggested that we put it on the main menu.  Ever since, “Peter and Laurie’s Favorite Pizza” has been the #1 selling pizza on the menu!

Q | Your dough is fantastic!  How did you develop it?
A | Laurie and I are perfectionists.  When we needed to come up with a pizza crust we bought about a dozen cookbooks and started making dough.  There was one recipe that we really liked by this young, relatively unknown chef in California.  His dough was tender on the inside, had a hint of sweetness, and held up to the ingredients that we used to top our pizzas.  The only problem was the recipe had a mistake on it that was obvious to us but got by the proof readers of the cookbook before the book went to print.  So we hopped on a plane to search for the chef to ask him about his recipe and figure out the way to make the perfect crust.  We found him in San Francisco in the dining room of his restaurant, introduced ourselves to him and got the answer we were looking for.  That young, unknown chef has become a celebrity chef.  Perhaps you’ve heard of…Wolfgang Puck!

Q | Why did we name our restaurant “Figlio”?
A | Laurie and I met at OSU’s Moritz College of Law, fell in love, and married.  After several years, we decided to have children.  On the night our first baby was born, I asked our very liberal, female OBGYN if I could participate in the delivery to the extent she was comfortable.  She turned the delivery over to me and she merely watched over my shoulder to make sure I was doing it right! I was filled with joy and passion that night and wanted to duplicate that feeling on a daily basis.  It was that night I decided “life is too short to practice law!”  And since having children led to our change of careers, we thought the restaurant should be named Figliolanza – which means “children” in Italian.  But we went with Figlio instead – which means “son”.   And since we have 3 daughters – our restaurant has become our “son”!

Balsamic Salad

Balsamic Salad

 

Pistachio + Goat Cheese Pizza

Pistachio + Goat Cheese Pizza

 

Mussel + Shrimp "Cioppino" Pasta

Mussel + Shrimp “Cioppino” Pasta

 

Chicken + Avocado Pizza

Chicken + Avocado Pizza

 

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

 

The wood-fired oven: where all the magic happens!

The wood-fired oven: where all the magic happens!

 

Such a simple yet elegant space!

Such a simple yet elegant space!

Have you been to Figlio? I’m dying to know if you chose the “Create Your Own” option and what toppings you selected! Comment below! :)

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2 comments

  1. We have been regulars since they opened – how many years ago?! – and travel to their various restaurants from Mount Vernon, Ohio. It is well worth the drive. One week in the summer a few years ago, we drove four nights in a row – just cannot get enough of those wonderful dishes. My first choice is Chicken Marsala, but then my other first choices include the Roasted Red Paper Pasta, Eggplant Pasta, Bourbon BBQ Pizza, and each salad. Dessert? The Red Velvet Cake and Italian Sunday. Oh my, it is snowing here with more on the, but they are closed – maybe Thursday! Thanks Peter and Laurie for a wonderful dining experience that no one would tire of dining daily. Jim & Jamie

    • Wow, Jamie, what a fantastic review! How could anyone not want to go after reading it?! Maybe I should switch my dinner plans tonight… :)

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