When Chef Scott Harris opened the doors to Mia Francesca on North Clark Street in 1992, he created a trend in the Chicago restaurant scene that has become a benchmark for urban dining. Mia Francesca, touted an immediate success by the press and patrons alike, was one of the first restaurants to encourage the lively art of dining with a contemporary, casually sophisticated trattoria ambiance. Featuring simple, rustic cooking, friendly service and fair prices, Mia Francesca won accolades from Chicago Magazine as “Critics’ Choice – Rookie of the Year.”
For Harris, Mia Francesca represented both a start and a finish. A veteran of many well-known Chicago restaurant kitchens including; The 95th, Ambria, Cucina Cucina, Harry’s Café, Sole Mio, and Petthany’s in St. Croix, Mia Francesca was the culmination of his years of experience and the desire to provide Chicagoans with a new style of dining. To open Mia Francesca, Harris partnered with Michael Noone and Terry Alexander, restaurant entrepreneurs in their own right, whose subsequent successes include Streetside, Mod, and Sonotheque.
Harris has expanded his vision to form the Francesca’s Restaurant Group which operates restaurants throughout the Chicagoland area, San Diego, CA, Madison, WI, and Raleigh, NC. His restaurant concepts include Francesca’s Restaurants, Davanti Enoteca, Glazed and Infused, Fat Rosie’s Taco and Tequila Bar and Disotto. His managerial philosophy of building working partnerships with Chefs and other restaurants professionals, not just obtaining financial backers, has had a direct influence on the success of his restaurants. “We have really created a Family of Restaurants. Everyone has a vested interest in the restaurant’s success,” Harris notes.