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 grew this concept, opening multiple Italianni’s across the United States, as well as internationally in Mexico, Columbia, the Phillipines, and Korea. While the original location in Hurst always did well with it’s loyal following, Carlson made the decision at the turn of the millennium to sell off the US locations, 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 Russell’s, with the help of Executive Chef extraordinaire Violeta Zertuche, have enjoyed great success at Italianni’s and look forward to all the new and exciting people the future is sure to bring in.
Brett Russell Partner
Brett grew up in the Metroplex before heading to Austin and getting a degree in Marketing from The University Of Texas. Working his way through school at several prominent Austin restaurants, Brett developed a passion for food and the restaurant business. He also developed a passion for wine, which he continues to enjoy on a (almost) daily basis.
Joyce Russell Partner (As Written By Brett)
Joyce hails from San Antonio, and is responsible for the creation of Brett. A loving mother and rigid disciplinarian, Joyce rules Italianni’s with an iron fist. The Ying to Brett’s easy going Yang, Joyce makes sure when she’s around that there will be no funny business. A former beauty queen and Soul Train dancer, Joyce relies on her experience as a high school biology teacher/ cage fighter to keep the Italianni’s staff in line. She’s also the sweet lady you’ll find walking around making sure everybody is enjoying themselves.
Violeta Zertuche Partner/Executive Chef
Violeta worked for Carlson Restaurants as their International Store Opener/ Trainer before the Russell family stole her away when they purchased Italianni’s. Violeta was trained in the kitchens of some of the finest Italian restaurants in Dallas, and has an unrivaled passion for the culinary arts. Always trying new and creative ideas, Violeta worries less about pomp and pretentiousness with her food and focuses on what really matters: taste. That being said, she is an artist when it comes to presentation, as can be evidenced by her monthly 4 course Chef’s wine dinners. As for her personality, don’t let her petite 5’ frame fool you— she is most definitely a firecracker.