Columbia Edgewater Country Club is pleased to announce that Vito DiLullo, of Portland, Oregon, has been named its Executive Chef.
Most recently, Vito was chef and owner at Ciao Vito, his award-winning restaurant on NE Alberta Street. Ciao Vito put Alberta Street on the map in the rising Portland food scene when it opened to strong accolades in the winter of 2004. Described by Willamette Week as having “urbane but unpretentious décor, with an Italian-casual menu and suave cocktails,” Ciao Vito was known as the restaurant where ‘anyone is welcome.’ The talented staff – all of whom hailed from the neighborhood — created a warm, welcoming vibe that was positively electric.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Vito developed his passion for food and cooking from his Italian parents and grandparents, who were expert gardeners and food aficionados. His formative years centered around family traditions and the daily rituals of cooking. After a two-year stint playing basketball at Bethany College, he graduated from Youngstown State University with a degree in Political Science . Vito then embarked on a five-year journey with the Peace Corps where he taught Physical Education, Health and coached basketball. His travels to Niger in West Africa exposed him to a myriad of cultures and furthered his curiosity for cooking and the potential to become a chef someday.
Upon his return to the States, he moved to San Francisco, where he attended and graduated from the California Culinary Academy. He worked in various California kitchens including the famed Bay Wolf in Oakland and Fornou’s Ovens in the Stanford Court Hotel. A subsequent move to Portland and an initial gig at the mythical Zefiro helped frame his commitment to working with high-quality ingredients and restaurants, while learning from the best chefs in Portland.
Greg Higgins offered Vito an opportunity to become sous chef at Higgins, Portland’s original farm-to-table restaurant, which Vito did for more than four years, working and developing techniques in a fast-paced, busy, and demanding kitchen. During this time, he also took part in elite cooking events across the US, including those at the James Beard House in New York, Louisville, Kansas City, Seattle, as well as throughout France. The experience at Higgins was paramount to obtaining the skills and knowledge necessary to run a successful restaurant kitchen.
Next, Vito accepted the Executive Chef position at Caffe Mingo on NW 21st. “Accidental” restaurateur Michael Cronan entrusted Vito to continue to improve the beloved 90’s era San Francisco Italian-style venue. It was here that Vito was able to meld his classical training with the more simple and immediate cuisine of the Italian food he loved. He explored the relationship of food and wine with trips to Italy — cooking and learning at various places including the great Michelin- starred Ristorante Antine’ in Barbaresco. As a result, Caffe Mingo was elevated to one of the top restaurants in Portland, year after year.
The temptation to control one’s own destiny was too much for Vito, and in 2004 he opened his namesake Ciao Vito restaurant on NE Alberta and 22nd. Ciao Vito was THE place in the Alberta/Concordia neighborhood in NE Portland for 17 years. In March of this year, Vito made the difficult decision to sell his restaurant to an employee, and took the summer off to regroup, revitalize, and plot his next move in the culinary world.
Vito is excited about the opportunity to join the team at Columbia Edgewater Country Club and bring his expertise and passion to our Club. We welcome him to the Club on or around October 1, 2021.
“I am thrilled to join CECC this fall,” said Vito DiLullo. “I look forward to working with the team to further enrich the member experience at the Club. My passion for food will complement the seasoned kitchen staff that the Club already has in place. We’ll be focused on creating fantastic food and drinks, rooted in simple, seasonal ingredients, for a memorable dining experience.”
Columbia Edgewater Country Club was founded in 1925, designed by Arthur Vernon (A.V.) Macan, the premier architect of his time in the Pacific Northwest. The private, member owned Club is a GRAA top 50 Private Facility in the Nation for Practice Facilities, boasts the largest number of single digit handicaps in the Northwest, has hosted numerous professional and amateur Championships, and is well known throughout the Pacific Northwest as “The Golfer’s Club.”
For more details, contact PGA Director of Golf, Bryan Tunstill, at [email protected]