Franco Bertolasi, my friend.

Dallas has lost part of it’s cultural past.

Soon after I moved here in 1982, Franco Bertolasi opened one of the finest restaurants to serve North Texas, The Riviera.  Franco’s food was delicious but it was Franco himself who helped make the restaurant so unique.

The parking lot was always filled with Mercedes, Jaguars…Porsches.  But people who frequented fine restaurants several times a week would tell you there was something special about The Riviera.  Franco was always there with a kiss when you entered the door and at least one pass-by while you were eating.  He loved life.  Franco was delightful.

Several years ago, many people began to notice that Franco had the first symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.  It was so sad to see him bravely fight the enemy that would eventually claim him.

I prefer to remember Franco’s smile, his “welcome Jane”, and his gracious hand kiss.  We miss you Franco.

Franco Bertolasi was 69.

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2 Responses to “Franco Bertolasi, my friend.”


  1. 1 Sue July 8, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Jane, thank you for your comments about Franco. I worked for him for almost seven years. I remember one evening, I was covering for the hostess, and he introduced us. I was star-struck. All I could utter was, “Hi.” As Franco was ushering you into the bar, he gave me a look as if to ask, “What’s up?” In return, I gave him a look that said, “Okay. I just met Jane McGarry, and I wasn’t cool about it.” He smiled and winked. It was then I realized that Franco treated everyone the same. No matter how famous they were, to him, they were family.

    I can just see him now at the pearly gates…wearing a bright red blazer, smiling and saying, “Welcome, my friend.”

  2. 2 Paul July 9, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Franco was a terrific person. He will be missed.


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