Fiorella Blanco

So, You Want to Open Up a Restaurant?
April 22 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Order in the Chaos

I looked out the plane window at the lush, green landscape below. The fields were segmented into wonky-shaped rectangles with brown, narrow roads that connected and separated everything. There was an order to it that I realized I don’t notice until something goes amiss, like when I miss a turn or my cell service disappears.

There are moments in our every day, when things seem to be happening at random. That email you sent goes unanswered; that dude never shows up; those pants are never going to button again. When I’m feeling like, Hey, what’s the point? I remember this view: that there’s order among the chaos. I know enough to know that I actually don’t know enough and need to trust the journey.


It’s always my favorite thing when someone acts like they could do someone else’s job better. Sure, Tim, you could definitely be a server and juggle a 10-top with a chef out sick. OK, you do that. We all know that restaurants in particular can be a real gamble because there are so many elements that have to work together to make for an excellent dining experience. The restaurant industry accounts for 10 percent of America’s workforce.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Fiorella Blanco, Co-founder of Fratelli Milano and VISTA

Fiorella Blanco is a restaurateur, which is pretty much the most fun word to say. She’s part of that 10 percent, having worked at restaurants throughout her life. Now, Fiorella is a household name in one of Florida’s best cities. She was born in San Jose, Costa Rica and grew up in Golfito. By the time college came around, Fiorella pursued a major that fit with what she knew best: tourism and hospitality.

After college, Fiorella worked for a local tour company, where she met her now-husband. Love didn’t get in the way of Fiorella’s career dreams, though; in fact, it helped. Her husband championed and furthered her career, and the two collaborated, opening their first restaurant together.

Then, Fiorella and her hubby made the leap to move to Miami, Florida. Eventually, they opened Fratelli Milano. The dining hot spot is in the heart of the city. Now, Miami is home to some of the tastiest places, but Fratelli Milano stood out for a couple reasons, a couple of them being the Italian food and hospitality. But also, at the time the restaurant opened, it was one of the few full-service restaurants that served lunch and dinner, making it the ultimate place for downtown workers. That edge helped grow Fratelli Milano from 20 seats to 85.

Fiorella shares some of the struggles she’s faced as a business owner. Her restaurant location has been affected by road closures, homelessness and abandoned buildings. While the area inches toward revitalization, Fiorella has another Italian restaurant up her sleeve: VISTA. Three stories, 200 guests and a 150-year-old banyan tree.

Nicknamed “Fiore,” AKA “little flower” in Italian, Fiorella also has another instrumental characteristic to her success. She can speak four languages. In a diverse and cultured city, Fiorella’s able to connect with vendors and customers in a way that, quite literally, not everyone can.

As her nickname suggests, Fiorella is more than could possibly meet the eye. She’s charmed by culture and language and scrumptious dishes, and we’re charmed by her.

The restaurant industry is booming, but it’s hard work! Don’t let that deter you, though. Check out Fiorella Blanco’s four tips on the ins and outs of running a restaurant by clicking here or heading over to!


Funny woman Ellen DeGeneres said:

“I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose… When you connect with that love and compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.”

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