Roberto Militello, the general manager who runs Pane e Vino Ristorante Italiano, was raised in Milan and strives to recreate an authentic Italian experience at the Katy-area eatery.
“Italy has a beautiful gift with its food,” Militello said. “You can see your mom get up early in the morning to go to the market for fresh ingredients and then come home to prepare the sauce, pasta, meat and cheese. We eat smaller portions and enjoy more variety. I am trying to transfer that gift of culture and knowledge about food from my country to this country.”
Militello compared the Italian restaurant culture to the one he has seen in the U.S., where oftentimes customers are rushed either by their own fast-paced lifestyles or by staff who quickly want to turn tables.
“I don’t want to rush the customer,” he said. “I want people to come here and, even if they just order a cappuccino, to take a couple of hours and know that it is OK. If you go to Rome, Florence, Venice and Milano, it is going to be like that.”
Pane e Vino opened in 2014 on South Fry Road, co-owner Lucy Ortiz said. She and her husband, Fabrizio Paletta, bought the restaurant in March 2017 when the founders were not generating enough profit and decided to sell the restaurant.
By February 2018, Ortiz and Paletta hired Militello to run Pane e Vino and allowed him to make it his own. The restaurant has since been redesigned and adopted a new menu based on a consulting session with an Italy-based chef with over 35 years of experience.
Ortiz said Militello deserves much of the credit for the success of the restaurant for being there every day, adding a special touch and creating an image for Pane e Vino.
“I’m Italian,” Militello said. “Italian people work here. We are knowledgeable about the food and wine found in every region in Italy.”
Pane e Vino Ristorante Italiano
8945 S. Fry Road, Ste. A, Katy
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 5-9 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-10 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Mon.