Del Porto, located in Covington, Louisiana, is the highly lauded brainchild of husband-and-wife chef team David and Torre Solazzo. David, a 1998 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, honed his skills at The Brasserie restaurant in Rochester, New York, before moving on to California to pursue his career. Torre, herself a 1999 graduate of the California Academy in San Francisco, was working at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in Marin, California before the two met.
That year, both David & Torre came to work in the Napa Valley’s famed Italian restaurant, Tra Vigne, where they were introduced. In 2000, the two decided to return to Torre’s native New Orleans in order to get married, having no definite plans to stay. But stay they did, having absorbed into the area’s vibrant culinary atmosphere. Torre spent time at Restaurant Indigo, and the two each worked under Chef Gerard Maras at both his eponymous restaurant Gerard’s in downtown New Orleans and at Artesia Restaurant in Abita Springs, Louisiana. It was there that they came to love Louisiana’s Northshore, discovering what seemed a perfect venue for the unique rustic Italian cooking for which they both shared a passion.
In June of 2002, David and Torre decided to venture out on their own, opening a modest, 10-table restaurant in the heart of Covington, Louisiana. Less than a year after they were awarded the title of Best New Restaurant in a 2003 issue of New Orleans Magazine. Their business steadily expanded as they perfected the style of Italian Cuisine to which they were dedicated, and they began to cultivate a following throughout not only the Northshore, but the greater New Orleans area. The restaurant’s accolades continued as well, and in 2006, Del Porto Ristorante was named Best Italian Restaurant in the New Orleans area by the Times Picayune. In a region where Southern Italian fare and rich, tomato-based sauces are de rigueur, the Solazzos’ contemporary Italian cooking, with a focus on house made, seasonal, farm to table ingredients, has made a singular impression.
By late 2006, David and Torre agreed to expand their restaurant accordingly, moving in January of 2007 into their new and present location at 501 East Boston Street in Covington, Louisiana. Since then, Del Porto Ristorante has been named one of the Times Picayune Top Ten Restaurants in New Orleans 2007 – 2011, and earned a place among Zagat’s Top Rated Zagat’s Restaurant Guide. David and Torre were semi-finalists for Best Chef South by the James Beard Foundation 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2011 they were given the St Tammany president’s arts award naming them both as “culinary artist of the year”.
In December 2011, after celebrating a decade of marriage and restaurant success, David and Torre welcomed their fist child into the world. Chefs/Owners David and Torre Solazzo continue to evolve as the driving force behind Del Porto Ristorante, and their quest for excellence will continue to offer their sublime take on Italian cuisine to southeast Louisiana.