3-minute interview: Franco Nuschese

Local,Bill Sammon

Italian-born Franco Nuschese is the owner of Caf Milano in Washington.

How did Caf Milano get started?

The idea back in 1992, when we opened, was to create a casual place for the people of Georgetown and the students. And we saw that through the years it was attracting a different type of clientele.

What kind of clientele?

It has now evolved to the point where we are attracting all sorts of people, including from the political world, from the celebrity world, delegations from embassies. People can come to Caf Milano for just a drink, a light dinner or a formal dinner - with jeans or a black tie.

How big are the celebrities?

Well, we just had a visit from the Holy Father. And the people who have worked with me for so long could not believe they were able to meet him. The Holy Father said hello to each member of my staff and took pictures with everybody. He met with them one by one – 25 employees! I have to tell you that some of them were in tears. It was very touching.

How do you keep your employees motivated when the Pope isn't visiting?

In the restaurant business, for as good as you are, you can never be that good 24 hours, every single day. So it's about being able to build up a great team. It's about always keeping that energy up, which I try to do every day. I do that by working with my personnel to make sure that they feel they work in a special place.

What do you like most about D.C.?

It is the capital of the world, without a doubt, in many senses. Everybody wants to come to Washington at some point in their lifetime. It's such a great mix. ... Washington is the window to the world.

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