Alfredo di Lelio opened Alfredo di Roma Restaurant in 1914 and began a tradition of culinary excellence that has attracted celebrities from around the world.
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, major stars of silent films, visited Alfredo’s for the first time while in Rome on their honeymoon in 1927. This delightful food and atmosphere brought them back every day for a week.
Before returning to Hollywood, the couple presented Alfredo with a solid gold serving spoon and fork. The gift was inscribed – “To Alfredo, The King of Pasta.”
The spoon and fork became the family “symbol of excellence.” They are proudly displayed today in Alfredo’s in Rome when serving “Fettuccine Alfredo”, the house specialty.
Managing Partner, Alfredo 100
Born in Biella, the capital of wool and cashmere in the Piedmont region of Italy, Ilaria Coletto strayed from the path of her textile-oriented family and found her calling in hospitality. As a young girl she spent most afternoons with her grandmother where she was taught to cook and appreciate good food, resulting in her passion for Italian cuisine.
Although she studied International Relations at the Catholic University of Milan, Coletto’s interest in hospitality was piqued at the age of 18 with a summer internship at Hotel Tres Carabellas in Ibiza, Spain. Despite being surrounded by distracting Ibiza nightlife, Coletto revved up her work ethic and stayed focused, learning as much as possible during her six months residency and discovering a newfound passion.
Upon graduation, Coletto became a concierge and guest relations agent at Boscolo Exedra Hotel in Milan before gaining experience in a variety of luxury hotels in Milan and London. Missing Biella, Coletto decided to return home where she teamed up with her brother to buy shares in a small wine company, furthering her love affair with wine culture. During this time she attended sommelier school and eventually would sell her portion of the company and venture off to Miami, Florida for a year long sabbatical.
While in Miami she met many restaurateurs that allowed her to shadow them in the workplace. Making the most of this invaluable opportunity, Coletto meticulously took notes and her little-to-no restaurant business experience rapidly flourished into an abundance of knowledge. Through her connections, she met seasoned Italian restaurateur Russell Bellanca and they quickly hit it off, deciding to partner up and open Alfredo 100 in New York City four months later.
Coletto, now 29-years-old, is thrilled to finally follow her passion and run Alfredo 100 alongside Bellanca. As a native Italian, Coletto has brought bona fide Italian traditions to the restaurant, including tableside preparations of pasta and seafood dishes. With her expertise and passion for hospitality, Coletto prides herself in making personal connections with clientele, mirroring her home country’s attitude in that customers are family.
Inspired by good energy and positivity, Coletto currently resides in New York City. She is an avid traveler, enjoys staying healthy with yoga and Pilates and caring for her dog, Cannella.
Co-Owner, Alfredo 100
Born to an American mother and Roman father, it was in Russell Bellanca’s DNA to appreciate fine food and the culinary techniques that support it. As an 8-year-old with a healthy appetite living in Rome, Bellanca’s father treated him and his brother to luxurious fine dining meals and Spaghetti Westerns, which was the genesis of Bellanaca’s love for the restaurant environment. Upon moving to America, Bellanca explored an alternative passion at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he majored in graphic design and architecture while working simultaneously in a traditional Italian restaurant kitchen. Torn between his two greatest passions, food and design, Bellanca ironically thanks his design professors for helping him realize that he would regret sitting behind a desk his entire life, and thus, he left the design world behind to work in the restaurant world.
At age 24, Bellanca followed in his father’s footsteps and took over the two restaurants Guido Bellanca had previously opened, Alfredo’s in New York City (1985) and Alfredo’s at Disney World’s EPCOT (1995). Under his management, both locations flourished and received numerous accolades, from inclusion in various restaurant guides and websites to being considered one of the most successful restaurants at EPCOT. In 2001, Bellanca opened Alfredo of Rome in Rockefeller Center, receiving a multitude of high ratings from New York Magazine to the Michelin and Zagat guides. In 2012, Italy’s National Institute of Tourism and the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce presented the restaurant with the prestigious Ospitalità Italiana, or Authentic Italian Table Award, which recognizes exceedingly authentic Italian restaurants and institutions worldwide, much of which is credited to Bellanca’s hard work.
As the President of Alfredo International and with over 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Bellanca has worked in every facet of hospitality, from the kitchen to the bar to upper management, and has even opened three large restaurants, including Trattoria Cinque in 2008, plus several fast-casual concepts. His latest venture, with partner Ilaria Coletto, was the relocation and transformation of Alfredo of Rome to Alfredo 100 in 2014, honoring the 100-year anniversary of the original Roman location. The new restaurant exudes a retro-modern feel and offers an approachable authentic menu, while also introducing various lesser-known dishes (like the calves brains of his childhood), something that Bellanaca is very proud of.
With much of Bellanca’s family still living in Italy, he visits his homeland frequently to meet with local growers in order to secure the finest supply of ingredients to maintain the quality and authenticity Alfredo 100 is known for. When not running his Alfredo Empire, Bellanca enjoys playing tennis, the drums, cooking and spending time with his wife and daughter who offer their boundless support. Although they live in Manhattan, their hearts are always in Italy.