Portofino’s story is one of family, friends, and love of food. Our story starts with two young men, Giosue (Josh) and Luigi (Gino), who were childhood friends in Naples, Italy. They immigrated to the United States when they were very young – Josh to the north, and Gino to the south.
Josh went to New Jersey to work for his older brother, Valentino, who had opened a restaurant there. Gino went to Winston-Salem, NC, to work with his cousin. When Gino’s and Josh’s paths crossed again, they saw an opportunity to work together. This joint venture was the birth of Portofino’s Ristorante Italiano e Pizzeria as the two friends opened their flagship restaurant on Eastway Drive in Charlotte in July of 1996.
Josh’s little sister, Carmela, who followed in his footsteps via New Jersey, and Josh’s wife, Margherita, helped open the first Portofino’s and were there for the subsequent openings. Portofino’s on Park Road opened in 2001.
The call of family beckoned and big brother Valentino sold his restaurant in New Jersey, made his way south to Charlotte and the third Portofino’s opened on South Tryon Street at Ayrsley. Giovanni, a family friend, also became a manager during this time.
Most recently, Portofino’s at the Arboretum opened in the summer of 2012. Carmela got married in September 2008 and her husband Raffaele is the manager at the Arboretum restaurant.
So remember, when you dine at Portofino’s Ristorante Italiano e Pizzeria, you are truly sitting at the family’s table.