Show 63, March 1, 2013: Donato Poto, Partner, Connie & Ted’s, West Hollywood, and Providence, Hollywood

Donato PotoDonato Poto is the ever-gracious, “Mr. Hospitality,” when it comes to seasoned restaurant General Managers on the volatile Los Angeles dining scene. He speaks three languages including Italian, French, and English.

In the mid 80s he was the GM of Piero Selvaggio’s Primi in West Los Angeles. At lunch this hot spot was the unofficial commissary for the senior executives, producers, writers, and actors & actresses at the nearby Twentieth Century Fox Studios. If you were anybody this is where you lunched at 1:00 p.m. Talk about pressure…

Today Donato is a partner in both Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood and Providence in Hollywood.

Connie & Ted’s was just selected as a Semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant. His business partner, Chef Michael Cimarusti was also recognized as a semifinalist for The James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: West for Providence.

Donato’s other partner in Connie and Ted’s, Craig Nickoloff, founded the hugely successful Claim Jumper Restaurants. (Nickoloff sold Claim Jumper to a venture capital group at the height of its success in 2005.) Donato credits Mr. Nickoloff with providing the Connie & Ted’s team the wisdom on how to provide exemplary service when you’re serving hundreds of sophisticated guests per day for lunch and dinner.