Duranti's Restaurant History
The Duranti family has been involved with food since 1946 when Rocco and Anne opened their first restaurant. They wanted to share their love of family and good food with the public. Moving several times to accommodate larger groups, the restaurant has been in Oakland since 1979. Through the years there have been many interesting stories as they helped shape people's lives.
Rocky Duranti and his wife, Anne, had eight children all of whom were reared in the private quarters of their business and attended local universities. The Duranti staff proudly claims three generations of Duranti's. Rocky Duranti, Colonel, U.S. Army retired, was initiated into the food industry at the Hermitage Hotel on the Riviera, and at the Grand Bretagne Hotel in Athens, Greece, while serving with the United States Army. Colonel Duranti was a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded twice in contact with the enemy and received promotion on the battlefield. He was awarded the Purple Heart with cluster, the Bronze Star, and has been inducted into the Infantry O C S Hall of Fame in Fort Benning, Georgia. Currently, Maria Berta and Theodora Duranti manage the dining rooms and banquets, and Frank Duranti is head of the kitchen, making sure the food is fresh.
In 1959, Vernon Stouffer, president of the Stouffer food chain, spent $1,500,000 to open a restaurant at 128 N. Craig Street. It was the largest operating restaurant in Pittsburgh. The surroundings and facilities are complimented with old world charm. This is reflected in the rich solid woods and murals, which are highlighted by the gleaming crystal chandeliers. The private dining rooms used for receptions and hospitality functions, are paneled with rich stately teak wood. The original brick of the famous Duquesne Gardens, the memorable ice skating rink of the 40s and 50s, walls the Teak Room, which is now the main dining room. The large glass doors separating the Oakland Room from the main banquet room were hand painted by a commissioned European artist employing a lost art in this medium. The Duranti family moved their restaurant to this location in 1979.
Over the years, the Duranti staff have worked on various, interesting culinary projects. Some highlights include:
- Weddings planned and celebrated on three days notice
- We have hosted receptions for the Papal Nuncio, Neumerous sitting Archbishops and Bishops from several denominations, and many ordinations.
- Duranti's has launched many Senetorial, Congressional, Mayoral, and local political campaigns.
- We have had the pleasure of hosting second and third generations of Wedding Receptions.
- Birthday Celebrations from 1 to 105 years old.
- Every kind of local and international cuisine.
- Celebrating New Jobs and Retirements, Communions, Confirmations, Graduations, and Promotions.
- Several dozen turkeys cooked and wrapped at the last minute on Thanksgiving
- Filling a swimming pool with jello for a radio station promotion
- Creating extravagant Christmas displays
- And too many more to count and remember.
The entire Duranti staff enjoys the pleasure of welcoming guests. We attempt to anticipate special tastes and to serve with courtesy and efficiency. Guests will find the dining rooms quietly elegant with a relaxed atmosphere.
The earth is full of the fruit of thy works. Who causest the grass to spring up for the cattle, and herb for the service of man. To bring forth bread out of the earth, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man. (Psalm 104)