Luigi DeNunzio – Founder
Think 1950’s and 60’s in the Italian port city of Brindisi. Picture a young man going daily to the market with a papa that loved food and cultivated that in his son. All the stalls of fish, meats, vegetables, fruit, and dairy. All the flavors. All the culture. Afternoons on the wharf eating with the local fishermen whatever leftovers hadn’t been sold. Simmered in seawater and seaweed and served with “real bread”. And admonished by his family for missing meals because he was dining with the farmers on their hearty, but simple cuisine. This is the background of a great chef. The aromas and memories Chef Luigi shared with others.
Following a young man’s sense of adventure, he arrived in Seattle in 1977, via Israel, and soon embarked on what would become his life’s passion, expanding and nurturing the Italian palate of Seattle by introducing them to “authentic” Italian cuisine. He accomplishes this daily by preparing and serving to perfection, only the freshest offerings of the season.
Luigi DeNunzio’s experiences at Jonah and the Whale, Mama Lantoni, Umberto’s, Il Terazzo Carmine and Settebello, provided the springboard to his partnership in opening Al Boccalino in 1989. In 1992 he added Denunzio’s (formerly La Buca), where in 1997 he began offering cooking classes heavily influenced by his interest in ancient Roman and regional Italian styles.
This progression sparked his Little Italy dream encompassing all aspects of Italian dining. Café Bengodi was opened in 1999, Che Sera Sera in 2014. Today, these various restaurants, all in Pioneer Square, provide a completely unique and different Italian dining experience for those wishing to embellish their tastes. From handmade ingredients, to the oils, the balsimicos, and brilliant wine, Luigi Denunzio shared his vision, talent, and belief that food should make you healthy and happy. His infectious spirit and personality inspired many to visit Italia. Che Sera Sera, Cafe Bengodi and Al Boccalino restaurants have since been closed, but Luigi’s legacy lives on at Luigi’s Italian Eatery now located at 625 1st Ave on the corner of 1st Ave and Cherry Street in Seattle, Washington.