Chef Fabio Salerno is a proud Clevelander, growing up on Cleveland’s east side. Fabio’s passion for cooking grew organically beside his parents growing up in the restaurant business. Fabio grew up spending most of his days on his grandparent’s farm in Seven Hills who had migrated from Sicily in 1955.
This foundation gave way to his extensive knowledge of Italy’s culinary heritage, skillful techniques and creative imagination. Having grown up performing every job imaginable in his family’s restaurant until leaving for college in 1992, you could say that Fabio was born into the hospitality industry. Rick’s Café, which his family owned and ultimately renamed Salerno’s Café, was a mainstay in a very affluent neighborhood in Beachwood, Ohio for 18 years.
After the family sold their restaurant, Fabio ventured to gain some life experience and moved to Miami to attend college in South Florida. His passion for the service industry, food and beverage, and the entertainment business never left him. Working in some of South Florida’s premier restaurants and entertainment venues.
Moving back home after 4 years, from late 1996 to 2003, Fabio Salerno was General Manager of several of Cleveland’s most admired and profitable nightclubs and entertainment complexes. By the end of the 90s, Fabio was operating multiple locations throughout the city and building a foundation for a career that will span 18 years in downtown Cleveland.
In 2003, his first passion for food and wine inspired a return to the restaurant business to pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant. After training with a classic Northern Italian chef in the Piedmonte region of Northern Italy, Chef Fabio Salerno opened Gusto! Ristorante Italiano in Cleveland’s historic Little Italy neighborhood, a site his family has operated for 12 years.
Since 2003 Chef Fabio Salerno has owned and operated 6 very popular local establishments ranging from Italian eateries, wine bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues.
In spring of 2013, Fabio opened one of Ohio’s most successful new restaurants and entertainment venues, named TownHall. Award winning design and menu, TownHall sits in Ohio City, one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio.
Chef Salerno has recently moved his Northern Italian restaurant, Lago – Cucina, Enoteca, Birreria that he operated for 7 years with his wife Nicole, from the very popular dining neighborhood Tremont, to where Fabio began his career 18 years earlier in Cleveland’s historic Flat’s entertainment district. Lago is the anchor restaurant in the aLoft Hotel and the exclusive caterer to the hotel property, which has given life to Lago Custom Events, Salerno Group’s full service catering company specializing in, on and off premise food and beverage and full service event design ranging from Weddings to Corporate events and all social gatherings in between.
When Fabio isn’t in the kitchen or one of his restaurants, he is usually chasing down one of his four children. Dominic 16 years old, daughter Sofia 7 years, son Gianni 6 and baby boy Luca 4 years old.
Quote from Fabio: “For any success that we have had over the years, the majority of the credit has to go to my wife Nicole, whose endless support of any and all crazy ideas I have come up with and who’s tireless management of our family and home and the ability to still give our businesses 110% everyday, is not only inspiring but motivates me to be better day in and day out. Thank you”