Lindsay Peyton
Owner /Chef Frank Ricci is part of the family that owns the south end's most notable steak house, Angelo's. He owns and operates 909 Coffee and Wine bistro on 152nd Street in Olde Town Burien.

Born to be a chef -- Frank Ricci heads kitchen at Burien’s Bistro 909

By Lindsay Peyton

Frank Ricci grew up in the restaurant business. Cooking is in his blood – and he can’t imagine doing anything else.

Ricci’s earliest memories are of hanging out in his family’s business, Angelo’s of Burien.

The Italian restaurant has been a fixture in the neighborhood for about 60 years.

His father Angelo Ricci first opened a small deli on the corner of SW 153 and 6th Ave in Burien in 1957. Restaurant seating was added in 1961, and the place went from being a stop to grab a sandwich to a well-known establishment for a full Italian dinner.

Ricci said his father was mainly at the front of the house – and his brothers taught him to cook. His eight siblings almost all worked in the restaurant. When he was only 12 or 13 years old, he followed suit.

“I was just helping, doing anything I could,” Ricci said. “When I got a little older, I started doing dishes. I learned salad prep and then how to cook on the stove.”

He took to it right away. “I enjoyed cooking,” he said. “There was just something about it. It was fun – coming up with a new dish, getting a reaction, figuring out how to make a dish perfect. There’s a lot of trial and error.”

After about 20 years of working at both Angelo’s locations, Ricci was ready to start something new.

“I wanted a change of pace,” he said. “And Burien was growing. It could handle a new type of restaurant.”

He and his family opened Bistro 909, named for its address at 909 SW 152nd St. 10 years ago, in May 2007.

At the time, there were no coffee shops in the area – and that became a big part of the café’s offerings, as is the wine and cocktail list. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The menu features a range of options, including chicken crepes served with sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta and basil pesto crème, rigatoni with Italian sausage and sun-dried tomato pesto and ribeye steak with grilled spring onions, asparagus and roasted potatoes.

Ricci also creates a menu of specials, which shows off his creativity in the kitchen.

“It’s all about whatever’s in season,” he said. “We get really quality products and keep it simple. Hopefully, my passion will carry over to all that I cook.”

A recent menu featured grilled octopus with potatoes, celery, asparagus and spring onions with spicy olive oil and oven-roasted tomatoes, as well as roasted duck breast with white beans, spinach, pancetta, onions and micro cilantro.

A roasted Alaskan halibut was served with basil, fennel, oven-dried tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and roasted potatoes, and a spring time salad featured English peas, farro, spring onion, pecorino and arugula with a lemon vinaigrette.

Ricci continues to look for inspiration in the kitchen wherever he goes.

“I go out to eat all the time, and I keep reading,” he said. “I have chefs who inspire me, and new ingredients are always fun to try. I’m always changing and evolving. I strive for the best.”

Ricci said Bistro 909 has continued to grow over the years and has become a successful establishment.

“It’s been very rewarding,” he said. “It’s been great – and I’m hoping to be here another 20 years.”

For more information, visit 909coffeeandwine.com.

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