Giorgio’s brings classic Italian-American charm to downtown diners

John and Mike D’Ambrosio in their downtown restaurant that opened in October of last year. This is their third location.  Photo by Sally Baho

By Sally Baho

Sally Baho

Father-son duo John and Mike D’Ambrosio proudly launched their third Giorgio’s smack dab in the middle of downtown Morgan Hill in late October. Within a few hours of opening its doors, customers packed the Italian grill and pizzeria. They continue to do so.

“This is the first time we’ve been in a downtown,” John said. “We’ve never had more than a six-stool bar!” Their long bar seating 12 is well-lit, spacious, and inviting, making you want to settle in and sip a Santa Clara County wine. Giorgio’s other two locations are located in San Jose and Milpitas and have for decades been culinary institutions in their respective communities. But the excitement and energy they bring to their new Morgan Hill restaurant is palpable.

Some classic starters, or antipasti, are their signature sausage bread or burrata and peppers. The sausage bread is made with their family-owned and operated company, New York Sausage. For entrees, you can’t miss their ravioli, which they sell out of regularly.

“The sausage burger is bomb,” emphasized Mike, while John insisted the lasagna was one of their “sacred cows.”

Both agreed that no item on the menu is a sleeper, from the penne calabrese to the mostaccioli di bari — chopped filet mignon and fresh mushrooms simmered in a creamy gorgonzola sauce tossed with penne pasta. Or you can opt for a salad, sandwich, or one of their many pizzas. Their bread is baked daily in house and always served warm and with herbed butter. You can’t miss dessert: fresh-stuffed cannoli, tiramisu, or gelato.

Giorgio’s always offers a $6 martini, Manhattan or margarita “any time, day or night,” said John. And their wine list features mostly local wines but also offers some Italian classics.

John grew up around a lot of Italian home cooking. Both of his parents were good cooks, and they lived down the street from his immigrant grandparents.

Well before he was of driving age, he was making bread, and then making up dishes. “You just teach yourself,” he said. His palate — and recipes, which are used to this day at all of his locations — evolved by itself. He meticulously teaches his cooks and chefs his recipes so they are to his standard.

John insists that they couldn’t have the service or success they’ve enjoyed without their executive chef , Juan Muñoz, or their general manager, Marian Welch. Both are longtime employees as are many other people at Giorgio’s.

“Marian has been with me for almost 40 years,” John said. “Most of our management has been with us for 20 to 30 years.”

The D’Ambrosios are here in Morgan Hill for the long haul. They have fixed up their patio for year-round outdoor dining. Come summer, live music will entertain diners. They will also soon offer brunch and summer specials to match the weather and to accommodate outdoor dining, something we all know and love in Morgan Hill.

To the community of Morgan Hill, John said, “I hope we never disappoint you, I hope you never have a disappointing experience.” He emphasized the restaurant’s philosophy is service. “We want to pamper and spoil you. You’re spending your hard-earned money.”

Mike added: “We are proud to be a part of this community. This community cares and we want to do them right.”

You will never be rushed at Giorgio’s. It’s known for its relaxing ambiance where diners take their time enjoying a well-cooked meal. So, whether you come in for a drink and appetizer at the bar, an alfresco afternoon lunch on the patio, or a birthday dinner in the restaurant, you are certain to be pampered by the staff.


Sally Baho is a Morgan Hill resident who has a passion for great food and wine.