Dianne Sclafani's Story
Dianne's food experience started in her childhood by living above in her family's 500-seat Italian, seafood and steak restaurant and catering facility. From early on, she was immersed and eager to learn the food recipes, production, working with the staff, the business, and most of all, becoming a part of their customer's happy occasions.
The restaurant was founded by her Grandfather, Pete J. Sclafani, Sr. The business started small in the Mid-City area of New Orleans in 1945 and expanded to Metairie in 1958. “Papa Pete” had many businesses before the restaurant. He was an experienced butcher, owned bars and other businesses which helped to prepare him for opening the restaurant. He loved people and appreciated serving his guests quality, delicious fresh food. Over the years, the restaurant was known for Italian favorites as well as the freshest seafood and steaks. There were many signature dishes such as Stuffed Shrimp in Hollandaise Sauce, Red Snapper Soup, Sclafani's Italian Salad Bowl prepared at tableside, Stuffed Artichokes, Seafood Platter, just to name a few. The Sclafani's Italian Salad Dressing and Remoulade Sauce were sold in local grocery stores.
Customers visited the restaurant regularly from all around the New Orleans area, often from Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Many national and international tourists dined here as part of their New Orleans experience. Celebrities enjoyed putting their framed, signed pictures on the walls of the dining room in the restaurant. Large corporations in the oil, chemical, and gas industries frequently had their banquets and business meetings at the restaurant. Every weekend they were booked for wedding receptions and other special events.
Dianne says the restaurant was her “playground”, where she worked and learned the good, bad and ugly of the aspects of running a successful multi-service restaurant and business.