Top San Francisco Italian Restaurant Palio d'Asti Brings in a New Generation

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Financial District’s best Italian restaurant and party venue makes general manager a partner.

italian restaurant san francisco

Martino DiGrande is now Managing Partner of Palio d'Asti, the top Italian restaurant in downtown San Francisco.

True hospitality requires building long term relationships and paying constant attention to what your customers are telling you that they want on a daily basis.

Twenty-eight year-old Martino DiGrande is a quietly rising star in San Francisco’s dining scene. Recently named Managing Partner of the 21 year downtown veteran Palio D’Asti (voted Top 3 Best San Francisco Italian Restaurant 2010 by sfgate.com readers); his energy, education and proven work ethic combines a new approach to dining with an old school perspective guaranteed to make Palio a long time institution.

Martino grew up in his family's restaurant and learned the ropes early. After winning a Golden Gate Restaurant Association college scholarship, obtaining a hospitality degree and completing an internship at the venerable La Planeta in Sicily, he was hired right out of school in 2006 when Palio D’Asti’s chef-owner Dan Scherotter wandered into the DiGrande place one night and was impressed by how Martino bartended, waited, hosted and bussed tables--all while keeping a positive attitude and carrying on with the folks at the bar.

“You have to have skin in the game, and Martino's unusual for his generation in both his level of maturity and that he is willing to put his money where his mouth is,” explained Scherotter, who himself became a restaurant owner when Palio’s founder Gianni Fassio allowed him to buy in to the San Francisco Italian restaurant after years as starting as a chef. “We balance each other well and unlike many big money restaurants owned behind the scenes by anonymous LLC partners without practical experience, I believe that our Chef/Manager partnership will allow Palio to build into a downtown institution that easily lasts another 20 or more years.

Martino initially worked under Palio’s wine director before taking over both the wine program and the bar when he became General Manager in 2008. He's been responsible for modernizing the restaurant’s cocktail program--including seasonally changing drink specials at affordable $7-$9 pricing. He also built up the restaurant’s popular “free pizza” happy hour that draws fans from throughout San Francisco’s financial district.

“Excellent service is what’s important to me because it will always trump trendiness and celebrity flash,” said DiGrande. “True hospitality requires building long term relationships and paying constant attention to what your customers are telling you that they want on a daily basis. I love this business and want to insure that Palio features the kind of consistency that only a hands on partner can offer over the long term.”

Palio D’Asti is located at 640 Sacramento Street between Kearny and Montgomery in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District; convenient to Moscone Center and major downtown hotels.

Open for lunch Monday- Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Palio offers dinner Monday- Saturday from 5:30 to 9:00 pm. A weekday bar menu is offered from 2:30 to 5:30 pm with “free pizza” Happy Hour Monday-Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Intimate San Francisco private dining is available for breakfast, lunch, cocktail receptions and dinner for groups of 10 to 300. 2 hour free validated parking is available at the nearby Portsmouth Square Garage at lunch or dinner.

Reservations are available online via Open Table and directly at http://www.paliodasti.com or by calling (415) 658-9295

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Tom Walton
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