Lobster mashed potatoes; seared foie gras with pomegranate relish; cilantro cactus salad: the unexpected harmony of these wildly unlikely dishes have built Chef Justin Grecco’s reputation for taking local produce and transforming it into sumptuous, imaginative global cuisine unavailable anywhere else. His devotion to the freshest ingredients, flair for innovation and passion for good food has made these surprising combinations so popular and so delicious.
Just over a decade ago, the adventurous St. Paul native was a student struggling through college until one particularly moving meal in Florence. He tasted a dish that brought him to tears, and it was then that he realized his calling. Immediately upon returning to the United States, Grecco enrolled at Minneapolis’ Le Cordon Bleu College, and his culinary career took off.
After finishing culinary school with a 4.0, Grecco fostered his talents throughout the country, with stints at McCormick & Schmicks, Ritz Carlton San Francisco, and Bellanote, a popular upscale restaurant in Downtown Minneapolis where he served as one of the founding chefs. Despite his successes in these kitchens, Grecco still longed to be in charge of his own.
In October 2008, Grecco realized his dream and opened the doors of Grecco’s on the St. Croix. Nestled along Wisconsin’s St. Croix Falls, Grecco has taken the reins in developing unique, limitless flavors from his own unhindered imagination. With a fine attention to detail, Grecco handpicks ingredients from local growers and combines them with an Asian, European, or North American twist. Also an avid wine connoisseur, Grecco personally takes the time to pair the perfect glass with his meals.
Since his introduction to the kitchen, Grecco has had an insatiable desire to share his passion for food with others.
Chef in a Box release in 2009 took his passion even further, bringing his food directly into the home. Creating a specialized menu of new flavors that come together in any kitchen, Grecco ensures his guests have an amazing experience, even when they can’t make it to the restaurant.
In Grecco’s most resent success early in 2010 he opened Roman Anthony’s a contemporary Italian restaurant based after his first born son’s name. Being that Grecco was first inspired in Italy to become a chef; this had been in the works for a quite awhile. The Twin Cities response has been outstanding as all the major TV stations invited Grecco too cook on their live in-studio broadcasts. The Star Tribune even rated Roman Anthony’s in the Top 5 New Restaurants “Outside the Cities” in the 2010!