The Amiconi Italian Restaurant had been around for 22 years before Michele fell into it in 1982. I say fell into it because at the time he was working as an accountant, when his brother Angelo and a friend went looking for change, and found the restaurant advertised in The Age newspaper. The friend decided against it, and Michele went into partnership with his brother.
New to the restaurant business, they were thrown in the deep end and it was sink or swim. Michele's wife Anna was the head chef and Michele and Angelo worked the business and front of house area, doing everything and anything that needed doing. Twelve months later, they bought another restaurant in Carlton called 'Il Cantuccio' and Anna went to work there as head chef and her cousin became head chef at Amiconi. They owned Il Cantuccio for a couple of years.
Serving authentic Italian food cooked with fresh ingredients
Thirteen years later, Angelo left the partnership and Michele became sole owner. By this time, Michele had discovered that his talents lay in the restaurant business and he was better at it than when he was in accounting as his strength is in his people skills. He is warm and welcoming and very much a people person.
Michele has welcomed four generations of faithful customers
However, after years of being a sole owner, Michele decided he wanted to ease the workload and keep burnout at bay by taking on partners. In his own words, he gave his two faithful staff Joe and Vincenzo who came from an accounting and microbiology background and had been with him between 15 and 20 years an opportunity of an offer they could not refuse and they came on board in 2007 as partners.
Brothers Michele and Angelo, and a caricature of the three partners hangs proudly on the wall
The happy ending is obvious as the restaurant still stands today, with not much change made to the decor which has been left to live its life as an iconic remnant of the past that has successfully transitioned itself into the future and become Melbourne's icon of quality authentic Italian food.
Amiconi's training system for new kitchen staff and apprentices is thorough and geared to producing high quality work ethics. In the first year to year and a half, they do no cooking and instead learn all other aspects of the business starting from the basics. Staff members at Amiconi have been there over the last 20 to 40 years, which is saying something.
Michele's passion for his business surpasses monetary value and for him, it's all about the faithful and new customers that walk through those doors. As he said, he gets to spend time with his 'family' every evening.
Welcome to Amiconi! Check out the website for more details, the menu, and to keep up with current offers and events.