Climbing the food chain

New Leaside restaurateur Nick Nada started out as a dishwasher

Nick Nada got his first job years ago as a dishwasher in a Davisville deli.

Fast forward 25 years, and the restaurant veteran is a few months into his own restaurant venture in Leaside, Ozzero Italian Restaurant at 505 Mount Pleasant Rd.

The Sri Lankan born Nada worked his way up the food chain, so to speak, working as a dishwasher in Toronto’s The Fish House while in college and progressing to cook, bus boy, bartender and then waiter.

“I started from the bottom of the scale,” Nada says.

After switching to another restaurant owned by the same people, Joe Maggiano’s, Nada eventually became general manager, a position he held until the resto was sold.

That’s when he decided to go out on his own and follow his dream of having his own restaurant. He did his research, he says, and found there are many fine dining establishments on the Mount Pleasant strip, but not a lot of casual dining.

He says he wants everyone to feel welcome in his place. Named after a region in Italy, Ozzero specializes in Italian cuisine and is open for lunch and dinner. A popular dish is the chef’s vegetarian eggplant pasta, Nada says.

Like any foodie pro, Nada waits tables and does whatever needs doing in addition to running the resto.

“If I have to cook,” he says, “I cook.”

And as for having his own restaurant after more than two decades of working up to that point?

“I never gave up hope,” he says. “Hard work pays off.”

About this article:

By: Kelly Gadzala
Posted: Feb 1 2011 5:21 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto