On this episode of DC Entrepreneur, George speaks to Francesco Amodeo the owner and president of Don Ciccio & Figli on location at his distillery in Ivy City. The establishment, which features both a production facility and tasting bar, is bringing amari-based craft cocktails to DC based on recipes from Amodeo's family from the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Amaro drinks are bitter herbal liquers commonly consumed as digestifs.
From Don Ciccio's website: Francesco ‘Ciccio’ Amodeo began his journey in the hospitality industry as a young boy growing up in the small town of Furore, Italy, a quaint, tight-knit hamlet of just over 800 residents. With an extended family supplying the town with its most celebrated chefs, winemakers, and artisanal liqueur makers, Amodeo became an epicure at a young age, and began his life-long love affair with hospitality.
Deciding to follow in his family’s footsteps, Amodeo got his first job at the age of 14, working under the mentorship of Marisa Cuomo, one of Italy’s most respected winemakers. He continued his apprenticeship at his uncle's restaurant in Positano. Uncle Amodeo soon pulled young Francesco behind the cocktail bar, and in that moment, an Amalfi Coast alchemist was born. He had found his true calling in hospitality, and Francesco continued his tutelage at the town’s only resort. At Furore Inn Resort young Amodeo came of age, and received many specialized certifications of his expertise.
In 2004, he became a Master of Food and Beverage Management, but not before his certification as a Master Sommelier for the A.I.S. of Napoli, Italy. He is a Master Barman through the A.I.B.E.S. of Salerno too. In the spirit of adventure, Francesco travelled to Washington D.C. in 2005. Seeing its potential as an epicurean capital, he decided to return in February 2006 to make D.C. his home.
Francesco became prominent in the evolving hospitality scene, lending his expertise to notable establishments including Butterfield 9, Hook, Café Milano, and Bibiana Osteria Enoteca. But there was something else stirring in his blood. Francesco began to research and experiment with handcrafted liqueurs in his free time. With over a century of family history in the business, at the age of 29, Francesco started Don Ciccio & Figli. His vision: to bring the signature flavors of his hometown back to life, and share the artisanal ‘Rosoli’ with the world.