Local First caught up with Brittany Knoch, director of marketing at Uccello's Hospitality Group, to chat about the history of the restaurants and where they're going next.
Local First: Share a brief summary of your business – how it started, who you worked with, why you chose to set up shop in West Michigan, etc.
Brittany Knoch: President and founder of Uccellos Hospitality Group (UHG), Sicilian-born Faro Uccello opened his first Grand Rapids area pizza shop in 1978. He quickly grew his brand, with seven more shops opening within nine years. As demand for his fabulous pizza and service grew, Faro seized the opportunity to open Uccello’s Ristorante Pizzeria & Sports Lounge in 1996. Giving guests the full dine-in experience with exceptional food and service was driving him to success, but Faro did not stop there.
Now with five successful locations throughout the West Michigan area, UHG has expanded into fast casual dining with two Herb & Fire locations and upscale casual dining with us here at MAZZO. Again seizing the opportunity to offer guests an encounter to exceed their expectations, Faro and the team at UHG have painstakingly curated the best in everything to offer an Italian restaurant in the heart of Downtown.
Faro’s personal philosophy to treat each guest to the best of everything is reflected in the menu, service, and feel of all UHG locations. He personally touches every aspect of his restaurants, leading by example, never compromising and always striving to do better.
LF: How would you describe the personality of Uccello's?
BK: At Uccello’s we have 4 main Visions:
Service: Giving exceptional guest experience that is simply unfair to the competition. Our guests COME FIRST.
People: Employing only the best people who believe in our “Guest First” philosophy, teamwork and respect.
Menu: Offering our guests an innovative, value and quality-oriented menu.
Sports & Entertainment: Having all of the best sports packages, showing all of the major sporting events on state of the art equipment.
LF: What have you celebrated in the last year?
BK: Uccello’s just turned 21 years old – Legally able to drink! With that excitement, we were able to launch an updated brand across all 5 Uccello’s locations.
LF: What do you see as innovative and extraordinary about your business?
BK: Uccello’s was one of the first Italian Restaurant chains in West Michigan. After Faro opened his location, more Italian families started to catch on to the brilliance. Now West Michigan is filled with incredible Italian food one every corner.
LF: Share a struggle that Uccello's has overcome.
BK: The restaurant industry is not an easy one. Casual Dining restaruants are having a rough time in today’s economy. Fast Food is the place to be and we are continuing to change up our ways to stay present in the Millennial mind through branding, online ordering, take-out and more. People want fast food, but not with skipping the quality. We strive to be one of the top restaurants with a farm-to-table philosophy and we will never falter.
We are constantly being reminded to stick to who we are. The Uccello’s family is passionately dedicated to providing an outstanding experience to every guest, every visit, in every one of our restaurants. We can’t lose our vision and values while still trying to remain present.
Catch Uccello's, Mazzo, and Herb & Fire Pizzeria at Fork Fest, October 26 at Romence Gardens