Dante Boccuzzi

What the Chef: Dante Boccuzzi


Published: 03/22/2012

by Jane Snow

After Dante Boccuzzi opens his fourth restaurant in four years this summer, the uber-popular chef plans to pause briefly to catch his breath. He’s not ruling out restaurants five and six, though.


“Part of the reason for coming back to Cleveland was the opportunity to grow,” the busy chef says. “As long as I can manage it and it works, I want to do more.”


Dante, 40, is chef/owner of the smoking-hot Dante in the Tremont area of Cleveland. His newest, DBA, which will also feature the contemporary dishes he calls “modern American,” is set to open in June in Akron in the space formerly occupied by VegiTerranean.  He also owns Ginko, a modern Japanese restaurant on the lower level of Dante, and a casual Italian, DC Pasta Company, in Strongsville.


Dante knows how lucky he is to be living almost every chef’s dream, but it took more than luck to get there. After leaving his hometown of Middleburg Heights to  study at the Culinary Institute of America, he spent years working in top restaurants in France, Italy, London, San Francisco and New York (Charlie Palmer’s Aureole was one of his stops).


In 2007 he returned to Northeast Ohio with his Italian-born wife, Monica, whom he met in London.


“It was time to leave New York City and get my own restaurant,” he says. The couple has four children,  ages 3 to 15.


“My free time is limited so I try to spend it with the family,” Dante says. When he is not dreaming up dishes such as barley risotto with toasted walnuts and caramelized pears, he occasionally plays a round of golf with friends. His other passion, music, is on hold for the moment. He played with a chefs’ band in San Francisco and a blues band in Italy, fitting in gigs around his cooking duties. He’s too busy for that now, and must content himself with noodling on the guitar in his home studio.


“Even with all this expansions stuff, I’m still just a chef,” Dante says. “You’ll find me most days in the kitchen.”


That no doubt explains his luck.


Chef Dante Boccuzzi’s flagship restaurant, Dante, is at 2247 Professor Ave. in Cleveland, phone 216-274-1200.