If you ask chef and partner Michael Perez, the idea for Donetto originated a few years ago, during a conversation he had at a Slow Food brunch with Miller Union’s Steven Satterfield. “He mentioned to me that there really isn’t much as far as Italian on the Westside,” says Perez. “I spoke with Steve Palmer [of hospitality and consulting group The Indigo Road] about the idea, and we kept our eyes open for a couple years. Sure enough, the building right across the street from Miller Union opened up. I think this little corner of town is quickly turning into something very special.”
Donetto—named after the largest recorded Chianina bull—opened in September 2017 in West Midtown’s Stockyards development and presents a Tuscan-inspired menu that includes house-made pastas, bread, cheese and meats. “We aim to educate our guests on what Italian food can be,” says Perez. “I feel like the climate in the Tuscan region is similar to the Southeast, and I really want to have a focus on what grows around us.” The restaurant itself—punctuated by modern metal, porcelain tile and oak paneling—is broken up into a variety of seating experiences, with views of the kitchen, bar and outdoor patio. “While the food is Italian, we intentionally made no overt references to looking like ‘an Italian restaurant,’” notes architect David Thompson, who had a comfortable, contemporary setting in mind.