Roberto Dante Martella

Owner, Grano Restaurant

Roberto Dante Martella

Roberto Dante Martella
Owner, Grano Restaurant

For the last twenty years, Roberto Martella has greeted neighbours, friends and celebrities alike at the North Toronto restaurant that he and his wife, Lucia, operate on Yonge Street just south of Eglinton Avenue.The restaurant is a mix of culinary and cultural expression; a meeting place where musicians, artists, academics, entrepreneurs, writers and wine lovers come together under the spell of Roberto’s gracious and warm hospitality. Roberto is the consummate host, connecting together food and ideas and people, all the while championing the best of Canadian and Italian culture.

Roberto grew up in the Bathurst/Dupont area of the City of Toronto where his father owned a number of barber shops.After graduating from high school and the University of Toronto, his first job was as an after-care officer at the St. John’s School for Boys and later as a corrections officer at the Vanier Centre for Women.

His future career began to emerge when, after a tour of Europe, he traveled to Japan on a student exchange program in 1975. On Sado Island, he met a young Japanese drumming group, Ondekoza (now the Kodo Drummers), which combined meditation and running with traditional music.Members of the group still travel to North America each year to run the Boston Marathon and travel to Toronto where Roberto entertains them.

Back in Canada he became the general manager of the Canadian Italian Business & Professional Association and involved in food and wine importation and small ‘p’ politics within the Italian community. In 1986 Roberto and Lucia purchased part of the current Yonge Street property and opened the restaurant.

In addition to the restaurant and its many gatherings, Roberto has contributed to the broader community by serving on a wide range of boards including the Canadian Opera Company, the Columbus Centre, the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto City Summit Alliance, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Luminato Arts Festival.