Local restaurateur Chris Christini thanks his lucky stars
Whenever things change, they stay the same. This is no truer than the Orlando restaurant scene today. Young lovers and longtime comrades alike persist without fail to mark the numerous tables and rooms of Christini’s Ristorante Italiano. Romance fills the air any night as couples enjoy the sounds of the accordion and savor their favorite Italian dishes.
1985: The fledgling Christine’s restaurant is bustling as usual. Arnold Palmer enters with his wife and a cadre of friends. Hollywood socialites and local players engage the fray. As the night progresses and diners dig into their delicious veal chops and delicacies, a gentleman comes through the door relentlessly. Unlike most Kristini’s patrons that night, Bob Hope took his experience at one of the world’s most amazing restaurants straight from the table to The Johnny Carson Show.
The meeting left Chris Christini and America, an indelible moment that will not soon be forgotten. The restaurant catapulted to culinary stardom at lightning speed.
Although his initial success in the fine dining industry made Chris Christini a household name among culinary aficionados, his restaurant quickly earned a place among the annals of fine dining history. Today Christini’s joins the ranks of 21 Club in New York, Capital Club in Dubai, Annabel’s in London and many of the world’s greatest restaurants known for their highest quality and service to guests. Not much has changed over the years, but clients are more diverse in age and demography than ever before.
A typical evening at Christines’ restaurant includes a level of refinement and competition accessible only to the connoisseur. But this does not mean that the nostalgic atmosphere serves only a select group of diners. Christines’ Restaurant attracts young and old, local and international, all those who recognize elegance and class at the best dining center in the world. Decades of success, founded on dedication to the customer, have allowed the restaurant to thrive amid the most volatile economies since the Great Recession.
Over the years, this reputation has built a ladder to the stars — and theirs. Without fail, the world’s most famous celebrities and public figures continue to choose Christini’s dishes for class, charm and delicious dishes offered to their patrons, among whom are legends as diverse as Tiger Woods, Mick Jagger, Michael Jordan, Pat Sajak, Rudy Giuliani and Jane Simmons. Although the unique aura and first-class service attract most of them, the restaurant’s arsenal of cuisine embodies much more than a simple pasta feast. From steak cut like butter to the world’s rarest caviar, Chris Christini offers diners a night of salivating memories that can’t be erased. After all, what do you expect from a guy who has mastered American, Italian, Greek and French cuisine? But his expertise did not stem from osmosis. Born into a poor but Greek-Italian Orthodox family in Sparta, Chris Christini knows very well the valleys and peaks of life.
In fact, he made his way to the American Dream on his own. His aspirations led him to the doorstep of America where he eventually ascended to the heights of culinary kings. Upon his first entry into the New World, discrimination and low wages seemed to have turned the odds against him. But over time, his skill and mastery in the art of dining caught the eye of the country’s most famous chef. Christini has risen from humble bartender to opening and running establishments such as 21 Club in New York, the original Four Seasons, Alfredo in Rome, and the grand opening of the Italian Pavilion at EPCOT. Opening his restaurant in 1983, Kristini gambles with his entire family’s livelihood, his stellar reputation, and is surrounded only by orange groves and a couple of remote subdivisions. The bet served well, now four decades later.
Without a doubt, today Christine carries the legacy of legendary excellence under his guiding tutelage – his reputation, backed by such outstanding and rare acclaims as the Ivy Award in the US, and his induction into the American Restaurant Hall of Fame, among many others. There is one thing Christini’s is missing, and that is you! So go by and say hi so he can thank you, one of his lucky stars.