Franco’s Ristorante Italiano owner dies

Franco Germano holding a squash — a very large squash — in the restaurant he founded in 1976 at the age of 31: Franco’s Ristorante Italiano, at 824 E. Fifth St. in Dayton. SUBMITTED
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Franco Germano holding a squash — a very large squash — in the restaurant he founded in 1976 at the age of 31: Franco’s Ristorante Italiano, at 824 E. Fifth St. in Dayton. SUBMITTED

Franco Germano was a connoisseur in the kitchen — carefully orchestrating each meal, leaving customers with just one reaction: “Magnifico!”

» UPDATE: Franco’s to host a tribute Wednesday to honor its late founder

Germano, the owner of Franco’s Ristorante Italiano in the Oregon District, died on Sunday. He was 73.

The owner of the popular Italian restaurant grew up in Duronia, Italy, where he developed an expansive knowledge and passion for food. He opened his restaurant at 824 E. Fifth St. in Dayton in October 1976 when he was 31 years old.

» Daytonian of the Week: Franco Germano of Franco’s Ristorante Italiano

His famous dishes include Franco's "World Famoso" Spaghetti. The distinctive spaghetti dish is dressed with oil and Romano cheese, along with "a lot of garlic," Germano told this news organization in November 2016. The famous dish is topped with Italian sausage, mushrooms and eggs.

“It is my own creation,” Germano told this news organization in 2013.

» BEST OF DAYTON: Franco’s named as a finalist for Best Italian in 2017

He moved to the United States at the age of 18, and soon joined the Army. He started in the food industry in 1963 as a dishwasher, and worked in the mess hall as a mess sergeant when he was drafted in the military. After serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, he took a job as chef and general manager of Sacksteder’s Cafeteria.

» PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Franco’s ‘World Famoso’ Spaghetti wowing diners for nearly 40 years

Germano was an avid golfer, who played two or three times per week at the Community Golf Course. He also loved soccer, both playing the sport and coaching youth, high school and college soccer.

His son, Nick Germano, posted a commerative photo of his father cooking at his restauarnt. “My dad doing what he loved to do. He can now rest in peace. Love you Dad,” he wrote.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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These are Dayton.com's picks for the best Italian restaurants in Dayton.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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