We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan DiFranco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I grew up in an Italian family. I bet you know where this is going… we like to eat. Every social event with the family revolves around food. So much so that every holiday while we eating, we are talking about what we are going to make to eat next year. So that is how DiFranco’s was born. My focus is to serve great food with great service, in a fun, yet casual atmosphere. My background is restaurants and it’s what I love. So putting family, food, and my passion together was a no brainer.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
DiFranco’s is a small locavore restaurant specializing in old-world fare with seasonal ingredients and fresh made pastas. Id like to think that after being in business for 9 years, I can say that I’ve beaten a lot of odds of running a successful restaurant. I think that in order to run said restaurant you must strive for consistency. And no it’s not easy because there are so many facets to the business. In today’s restaurant industry, you must serve delicious food with outstanding hospitality, in a fun yet hip environment EVERY day you are open. In order to do this you must work hard and stay on top of your game.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many places and things to see in Denver and Colorado and unfortunately even with a week long trip we wouldn’t even be able to experience everything there is to see and do. But there definitely are a few places and people I love and definitely would want them to experience.
For the beginning of the trip, I would hop in the car and we would take a trip down to Telluride. Although it is quite a long drive for such a few days– it is a beautiful drive and one of the most beautiful towns I’ve been to in Colorado. When there I would take them skiing and then make sure we spend at least one night at a restaurant called There. After a few days in Telluride, we would make the journey back to Denver. Upon arrival in Denver, I would make our first stop to visit Dana Rodriquez over at Work and Class. Dana or Loca (her nickname meaning crazy in Spanish), is one of my counterparts and serves up some of the best food in Denver. After that I would take my friend to go dancing at Tracks (pre and post COVID of course). Tracks Nightclub brings some of the best DJ’s, as well as provides a fun and energetic environment to close out the evening with friends.
Now that the trip is almost to a close there are still a few more places we have to stop at for food and drink. Our choice for wine would be be to go visit Paul Bonacquisti and Emily Diaz at Bonacquisti Winery in Sunnyside. Paul’s makes many delicious wines from local grapes and on Friday nights is a great place to go for live music.
Either before or after the winery I would make a stop at Machete for a delicious coin margarita and chips + salsa (but be careful because these can creep up on you). But after a margarita or two, we would also have to treat ourselves to the lobster taco.
And because we have already made a stop at my restaurant, DiFranco’s, we would then enjoy a wonderful Italian dinner at Olivia Restaurant over in Wash Park. I’m not one to eat much Italian food outside of my own restaurant, but Heather and the crew over at Olivia have something awesome cookin’ over at their place.
Oh but wait…. we forgot dessert! There’s no complete trip to Denver without a stop at the Chocolate Lab on East Colfax. Phil’s chocolates are great for any occasion, but fit perfect for a night cap after a nice Italian dinner.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The boy stood up shakily, and looked once more at the Pyramids. They seemed to laugh at him, and he laughed back, his heart bursting with joy. Because he now knew where his treasure was.
This might not mean much on its own, but when in context in the entire story the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho it all makes sense. I would like to dedicate my shoutout to this quote and ultimately the entire book. This story has guided me mentally and emotionally over the past 10 years of owning my business, DiFranco’s.
And similarly like the boy, I ultimately look to my roots and where I come from in how I run my business. Thus my family and friends, being my rock, deserve just as much credit and recognition in my life’s journey.