My RI Life: Antonio Franco, Executive Chef At Basta
My name is Antonio Franco; I am the executive chef of Basta restaurant in beautiful Pawtuxet Village. I was born and raised in the Mount Pleasant area of Providence. I have a big family; I'm the youngest of 6 children. I've been cooking in restaurants almost 15 years now. I'm entirely self taught, no formal culinary training. My passion for food and hospitality is unmeasurable; I love what I do. When I'm not cooking, I enjoy trying new restaurants, going to the gym, eating healthy, practing my aim at the gun range, reading, and the design/build of random things - motorcycles, furniture, cars, etc.
Food & Drink
I have so many places I enjoy going for good and drinks in the state it's almost hard to narrow down. We are fortunate to have access to such amazing places in Rhode island, so this is difficult. Generally, it depends on the occasion.
For bars with casual drinks and such, I really enjoy The Eddy, The Avery, The Dorrance on a Friday night, and Lili Marlene's. They all have amazing drinks and atmospheres. For the late night drinks in a more active setting, I enjoy Brass Monkey and Rock & Rye in Providence, owners of both are awesome people and the scene is great.
Now for food. This is tough...Mexican is one of my very favorites. El Rancho Grande has outstanding food and drinks and Chilangos for one of the best burritos ever. For American food, I'll go with Lindy's Tavern in Forestdale (great seafood), Mills Tavern (Niman Ranch Ribeye), The Beef Barn in North Smithfield (best roast beef ever), New Rivers for charcuterie, and Blackie's for modern, inventive snacks. Breakfast is Nick's for local amazing food, White Electric for coffee and a bagel or The Cozy Grill for a quick bite. South Amercian favorites...obviously my dear friends over at Los Andes (I ate there the other night.) and El Paisa in Central Falls. My sushi go-to spot is Sakura, sometimes Lim's on Wayland Square. Italian food, this is tough...Old Canteen, Al Forno, Bacaro, Mike's Kitchen. I could keep going, but you'll be reading this for days.
I invite everyone to come visit me at Basta. We are gearing up for a great spring and summer. Our patio should be up and ready to go very soon. We are also working on a new menu. I always tell people to try the pizza and pasta first, all fresh and made in house. We also just received a VPN certification for the authenticity of our pizza; we are the only restaurant certified in the state and 1 of 60 in the nation. It basically means that we make pizza true to the way they do in Naples. The restaurant is doing better than ever and we are all very proud. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you in soon at Basta.
Photo Credits: All photos of Antonio provided by him. Additional Basta photos courtesy of the PattyJDotCom Instagram.