RESTAURATEUR and part-owner of the newly opened Italian Diner in Bangalow, Aldo DaVanzo grew up in Australia but spent two years of his childhood in Naples, Italy.

"Because I spent so much time travelling as a child, I had a bit of wanderlust," explains Aldo.

"When I was 17 I moved to London, where I worked for three years managing a very good restaurant called Smiths in Covent Garden. Coming from an Italian family I always had an interest in food and that re-ignited that.

"From there I came back to Sydney and I started a business with a very good friend, importing and selling cosmetics. After selling that I took over a restaurant called Mimi's in Darlinghurst. I had that for four years. After that experience I was the maitre' d at the restaurant at The Royal Hotel in Paddington.

"It was working at The Royal where I met my very good friend Sharon Fraser. We worked together for years and had a lot of fun. After 10 years I started to think, what do I want to do with my life? I also paint and I was balancing whether I wanted to make money or drop out and paint? I decided to buy into a restaurant, L'Unico Trattoria at Trinity Beach in Far North Queensland because I knew I could make money and I did.

"I loved it for the best part of 13 years and then I took two years off and travelled all over Europe and North Africa. I had all those experiences I promised myself I would. I spent time in Tuscany and a month in the Basque country in Spain.

"Then I went back to L'Unico for a year, where I am now a silent partner. I always kept in touch with Sharon, who had moved here in 2000 and she had been hassling me to live here. Being the sneaky person she is, she got me to come for a holiday and coach the over-30s women's soccer. As a red-blooded Italian, let me tell you I enjoyed that! But what really fast-tracked my move was the possibility of a great venue in Bangalow.

"Sharon and her partner Steve are totally Italianised after living in Lucca in 2011.

"After initially telling me about the venue as something for me, they decided they wanted to be a part of it, which is fantastic.

"Bangalow has amazing people that make you feel so welcome and it has the best sense of community I have ever encountered.

"The restaurant is doing so well; I've opened restaurants before, but this is mad. We're really busy every lunch and dinner.

"The produce here is also amazing. I met an environmentalist recently who told me this is one of the most fertile places on the planet and I can believe that!"

Aldo's Tips

Being an art fan, I have searched out all the hidden gems of gift shops and art galleries here and most are within 45 minutes and totally worth visiting. There are a lot of talented people here!

Come to the Italian Diner!

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