Washington City Paper: Chef Luigi Diotaiuti Wants to Attract Younger Diners to Aperto

From the Washington City Paper by Lani Furbank:

“A contemporary Italian restaurant from Chef Luigi Diotaiuti quietly opened in Foggy Bottom (2013 I St. NW) a little over a month ago. “After 40 years of a career, I learned that it’s always better to open with the low profile,” Diotaiuti says, explaining that it helps a restaurant iron out the details before guests pour through the doors. Now the chef, who sometimes wears a chef coat adorned with buttons in the shape of bowtie pasta, is ready to shout about Aperto’s opening from the rooftops.

Photo by John Robinson

Photo by John Robinson

Diotaiuti’s first restaurant, Al Tiramisu, has long been a staple in the city’s Italian dining scene, and the chef has built his reputation cooking Italian food inspired by his hometown of Basilicata, Italy. “Tiramisu has been my baby,” he says. “It’s been where all my last drops of my passion and my sweat … has been put.” But after 20 years, the chef finally decided it was time to open a second eatery.

There was a very specific set of criteria guiding his search. “I always wanted to have a private room or a place where I can do culture events,” he says. An open kitchen and a spacious outdoor patio were also essential. Then he found the former Primi Piatti space. “It’s like going back to the future,” the chef says because he worked at the restaurant for two years before opening Al Tiramisu.

While Diotaiuti wants Aperto to be as welcoming and dependable as Al Tiramisu, there will be some significant differences on the menu, and the new restaurant also hopes to pack its calendar with events, serving as a cultural center of sorts. In the venue’s two private rooms,Diotaiuti hopes to host not only cooking classes and wine dinners, but also more academic lessons about history and geography as they relate to Italian culture and cuisine. Think PowerPoint slides.

In the food and drink realm, the contrasts between Aperto and its predecessor are both culinary and structural. “Al Tiramisu is like the classic trattoria in downtown in Italy,” Diotaiuti says. Aperto is positioning itself as a trendier, more happening spot to attract the coveted millennial demographic.

Diotaiuti hopes one of the biggest draws will be the cocktail menu. Instead of sticking to wine, Aperto offers mixed drinks, including some made with Diotaiuti’s home-made limoncello, amaro, grappa, and vermouth.”

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Featured photo by Joy Asico.