This weekend – May 20, to be exact – marks the 10th anniversary of Francesco’s Ristorante and Pizzeria in Maitland, and chef/owner Francesco Aiello plans to celebrate a decade of success. On Friday and Saturday, the popular restaurant will feature live music, much food and toasts to those who have supported Aiello and his crew over the years.
Aiello is a native of Palermo, Sicily, and developed a love for cooking at an early age, eventually attending the Instituto Alberghiero, a culinary school in Palermo.
After graduating, he moved to Central Florida and worked in Italian restaurants for several years, including one called the Sicilian on Lee Road and most notably Terramia Ristorante & Wine Bar in Altamonte Springs, working with longtime restaurateur Rosario Spagnolo, eventually opening the Lake Mary Terramia.
“Rosario was a nice mentor for me,” Aiello said. “Nine years I was working for Rosario and watching him.” But Aiello wanted more. “It was my dream to open my own business.” He figured he finally had enough experience, and with his business partner, John Maciewicz, set out to find a place of his own.