Bella Piatti restaurant
Bella Piatti is celebrating five years.

Nino and Liz Cutraro celebrate five years of Bella Piatti as they grow their chain of Wahlburger restaurants.

Having one of the finest restaurants in this region means continued visits from many former and present customers who enjoy the wonderful food prepared and served in celebration of its five-year anniversary.

The fine Bella Piatti restaurant, owned by Nino and Liz Cutraro, on Townsend Avenue, across from the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, honors five years of fine Venetian and other culinary offerings of Executive Chef Francesco Apollonia, still a tremendous choice.

Plus being a huge dining favorite, Bella Piatti and a second venture give them big thrills.

Nino Cutraro, Liz Cutraro and Mark Wahlberg
Nino Cutraro, Liz Cutraro and Mark Wahlberg

While movie star Mark Wahlberg was here in 2003 filming his starring role in Transformers 4, he stayed at the nearby Townsend Hotel and regularly ate at Bella Piatti … enjoying offerings of Chef Francesco … His numerous visits also turned into a close friendship … that resulted in Nino and Liz also jumping on the huge Wahlburger chain bandwagon sweeping the country and beyond.

To date, Nino and Liz now also own three Wahlburger franchises in Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati … with the opening of a fourth in Taylor, Mich., April 16 … Number one was in Greektown, followed by Cleveland and Cincinnati … In sight are more Wahlburger franchises hopefully by the end of this year … Talks have already begun with military bases and Meijer.

Pretty nice having a film idol for your partner every time you open a Wahlburger spot.

Bella Piatti itself has already become quite known for its dishes not seen at too many eateries … Like Chef Francesco’s big sellers of lobster tail in a tomato sauce, the precious gnocchi faragliona with its Bolognese sauce that says so much about Venetian delicacies, etc. … Even the salads and something delicious about the 32-ounce porterhouse steak and 18-ounce bone-in strip steak or swordfish and so much more … Venetian dining, too, at Bella Piatti mixed with oodles of Italian delicacies have not gone unnoticed.

Every year seems to get bigger and better for this fine couple with no sign of slowing them down … Nino and Liz Cutraro are easily among the finest couples to be admired.

SO MANY READERS ask where they can find a good mom and pop restaurant … Where home cooking and personal attention are prevalent and smiles galore greet each diner … Mom or dad or both would do the cooking and were so proud of their cuisine that they many times would peek out from the kitchen to look for smiles on their customers’ faces with every bite. … Sadly, they seem destined to fade … The children of so many former mom-and-pops obtain educations in other fields … Running a restaurant was not their bag, numerous family-oriented and such operated restaurants went by the wayside except for perhaps a precious few.

READER MINI REVIEWFrom Dennis Silber … “It’s hard to imagine French fries and caviar on the same plate. Well, imagine no longer because of a wonderful new restaurant here in Boca Raton, Fla., called Jimmy’s Fries to Caviar, Federal Highway near Yamato. This quaint, very comfy bistro has become a go-to-place for Debbie and me. Beginning with the warm welcome of Twain, the congenial hostess, and throughout the art-laden area, a comfy feeling is balanced with a menu of varied tastes. Beginning with starters, the mussels are sweet and bathed in white wine, tomato, blue cheese and bacon or Heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella and basil with aged balsamic. The specialty of Fries & Caviar, served in a jenga-style stack, are interspersed with salmon and trout caviar, fresh dill and crème fraiche and served as a sharing plate for the table. Entrees fall into three categories. From the pasta menu, we enjoy the chicken parmesan with homemade fettuccini. Our land favorite is crispy roasted half duck with raspberry sweet chile glaze. From the sea, pan-seared salmon served with generous crab pieces or the pan-seared scallops with champagne vinaigrette. Desserts are generous, creative and difficult to refuse, banana cream pie, zabaglione with berries infused with champagne and tiramisu. Fries to Caviar is especially informal and priced moderately.”

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … Harry appeared before Heavenly Court at the pearly gates. “What have you done to merit entering Heaven? We do not see anything special in our books?”

“Well, I can think of one thing,” he said. “On a trip to the Black Hills, I came upon a gang of tough-looking bikers who were threatening a young woman. I told them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen. So I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him on the head, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring and threw it on the ground. I yelled, ‘Now, back off or you’ll answer to me!’”

The angels were impressed and asked, “When did this happen?”

“Just a couple of minutes ago.”

CONGRATS … To Don Cohen on his birthday … To Elizabeth Applebaum on her birthday.

Danny’s email address is


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