Julia Hanna - Personal Bio
"Family is whoever sits around the dinner table"
This has been Julia's lifelong philosophy regarding her family, friends, and business practices spanning over 25 years as a chef and restaurateur. Her strong Italian upbringing embodies the belief that everyone is welcome at the table, a foundation that is used in every aspect of her life.
Early in her career, Julia managed a number of restaurants, including Lyte Jazz Club in Toronto's Royal York Hotel. At the age of 26, Julia made the leap from manager to restaurateur, opening Café Galleria in Oakville, which became the most successful Italian Restaurant in the area. A decade later, Julia sold Café Galleria, and opened Paradiso, featuring the first Mediterranean inspired menu in Oakville. It was voted Oakville's Best Restaurant in its first year, and hosted the Sony Juno Awards Ceremony 3 years in a row. In 2000, Julia sold Paradiso.
After a very short break, Julia returned to the hospitality industry in 2001, conceptualizing, opening, and managing the Harbour Lighthouse Banquet and Conference Centre in Bronte Harbour.
Julia became fascinated with Nuevo Latino, a modernization of classical Latin dishes, and in 2003 opened Ristorante Julia in Downtown Oakville. The restaurant features a unique blend of Italian and Latino cooking: 'Lataliano', as she calls it. "One should never sacrifice taste for nutrition or nutrition for taste; one can have it all" became the driving force behind the menu development and promotion for the restaurant.
In 2008, Julia opened her newest restaurant venture, Ritorno, in North Oakville. Ritorno, meaning 'return to', is truly a homecoming to Julia's Italian roots. This restaurant pays respect to her grandmother's philosophy of delicious, unpretentious Italian cuisine. Ritorno honours all grandmothers by inviting everyone to bring a picture of their grandmother or mother to be placed with admiration on the Nonna Wall.Back to Top