Originally a concept started by Carlson Restaurants, the parent company of TGI Friday’s, Italianni’s Restaurant was envisioned as being an affordable place to enjoy great Italian food in a family friendly setting with a focus on homemade recipes prepared from scratch. Carlson Restaurants made the decision at the turn of the millennium sell off the US location, and the Russell family purchased the original location in Hurst in 2002. Staying true to the original concept but putting a personal touch that only an owner operated restaurant can provide, the Russells have enjoyed growing Italianni’s into what it is today and always look forward to all the new and exciting people the future brings in.
When the Russell family bought Italianni’s in 2002, Brett, my oldest son, partner, and newly graduated from UT Austin at the time, set about to create a unique and highly enjoyable dining experience that would keep guests coming back not only as customers but as friends, too. Over the years, we have both felt honored to have met so many gracious and extraordinary people. Our original goal was to make every customer feel like guests in our own homes while providing fresh, made from scratch food with bold flavors, fresh ingredients, subtle textures, and hearty portions. But most of all we want you to feel welcomed and to provide you with a dining experience that you will remember for how much you enjoyed not only the food, but the hospitality, too.
Michael Martin, Italianni’s General Manager, graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in Political Science but his passion for people, food, and wine has kept him in the hospitality industry much to Italianni’s benefit. Michael enjoys traveling the world when he can and has eaten at some of the world’s finest restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant, he is also out resident wine expert so if you have a question about wine, just ask him. He is the man behind our monthly four course wine dinners.
Brin Burke hails from Ohio originally but has been a Texan long enough to be called one as evidenced by him saying “hey y’all”. (This was recently pointed out to him by his Ohio friends.) Brin started with Italianni’s (after a couple bumps in the road) as a waiter but his skills and his personality soon led him to the bar first then management. Brin is the one that keeps us and customers all laughing through the daily trials and tribulations of running a restaurant. (He is also a huge Michigan fan.)
Angelica Avalos, Italianni’s Executive Chef, has a passion for life. She believes in living life to the fullest and to do that, one must also have a passion for food. She loves making food for people but not just any food… delicious, mouthwatering food as evidenced by her daily special creations and her four course wine dinner menus. Her lifelong passion and deep appreciation for food makes her the perfect person to head up our kitchen here at Italianni’s.
Amanda (Mandy) wears many hats. Mandy is always running through the restaurant, checking on tables, meeting new customers, making sure everybody is happy and that the food is coming out of the kitchen hot and fresh. Mandy is also our “HR Department”.. she always has a big shoulder to cry on, makes sure birthdays get remembered, always has time to listen to one’s troubles. All while still going to school working on her degree and taking care of her family which consists of her husband Chip and two adorable little girls.
Jonathan Harrison, the other half of our kitchen management team and sous-chef, is a “local”. Growing up in the Northeast Tarrant and Mid Cities area, he graduated from L.D. Bell High School where he played sports, both football and basketball among others, and eventually made the decision that since one of his favorite things to do was cook, he would enroll in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. In his final year at Le Cordon Bleu, much to Italianni’s benefit, Jon had to do a year long externship to satisfy his degree requirements before graduating in the fall of 2017 and Italiannis was fortunate enough to be able to accommodate him. By the time he graduated, we knew we had to have him as a member of our management team. Jonathan is married and has three young sons which keep him VERY busy outside of Italiannis.
What people are saying
We love our customers. See what they’re saying about us.