Ettore Grisanti was born to Eustaganio Grisanti and Crolinda Andreuccetti in Valdottovo Italy on January 19th 1893. On January 31, 1910 with $68 in his pocket, Ettore arrived in the United States on the ship “ The Duca di Genova”. He came to meet up with his older brother Rinaldo. He worked with his brothers Rinaldo and Edolfo at various grocery stores. Ettore married Annie Boldreghinini at St. Patrick’s Catholic church on February 17, 1917. On January 7, 1918 his only son Dino Joseph Grisanti was born. The next year in 1919 Ettore opened up a wholesale fruit business with a partner J. Mortroni. Ettore died the next year on July 18 1920 at the age of 27. Annie married Frank Benedetti on April 19, 1923 and they raised Dino Joseph and Frank Jr. Dino went on to graduate in 1937 from Catholic High School. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II in Europe and North Africa as a member of the tank destroyer battalion.
After Dino Joseph Grisanti was discharged from the army in 1945 he returned to Memphis and entered the restaurant business with his step-father Frank and his brother Frank Jr. They operated the State Café at Beale Street and Main until 1972 when the building housing the restaurant was slated to be demolished.
Dino bought out the Southwestern Grill at 645 North Mclean and renamed it Dino’s Southwestern Grill. Dino Joseph retired in 1983 and his son Rudy then took over the business.
The building was built in 1927. Where Dino’s Grill is now was originally Piggy Wiggly Grocery Store number 54.
Elvis Presley was known to eat at the State Café during the 1950’s when he could. He had to have caps for his teeth made in Hollywood when he started making movies. He always needed to remove them before meals. One day Elvis and Dewey Phillips were enjoying a meal at the State Café when a group of girls rushed the table. Elvis and Dewey got up and in the commotion the handkerchief with the caps in it was knocked to the floor and the caps rolled away. Dewey and Elvis looked for them but when they found them they had already been stepped on and shattered into tiny pieces. Dewey later told a reporter that Elvis had paid $150 a piece for them.
In 2015, Rudy Grisanti will retire and pass ownership to his son Dino Grisanti.
. . . and Sara
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