In the words of the Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook, Tony Vallone is the restaurateur who "virtually defined fine dining in Houston."
1965 – Tony Vallone opens his first restaurant, Tony's on Sage (where Macy's now stands in the Galleria).
1972 – With the construction of the Galleria, Tony's moves to Post Oak (in part thanks to the support of Galleria developer Gerald Hines, who was a huge fan and supporter of the restaurant and Tony's cooking).
2005 – Tony's moves to its current location on Richmond.
Tony's is "better than ever."
(Houston Chronicle, April 2015)
Throughout his career as Houston's leading restaurateur, Tony's insatiable passion for quality and his boundless love of creativity and innovation in the kitchen have made Tony's one of the most celebrated restaurants in the U.S.
Today, the food at Tony's is "better than ever," as Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook wrote in her recent profile of Tony Vallone and his fifty years in the restaurant business.
"I am constantly amazed," says Tony's general manager and partner Scott Sulma, "by his ability to teach and to draw talent out of our team in the kitchen and in particular from our chefs."
That's not surprising when it comes to Tony, whose mantra, "first in season, first in Tony's" has made the restaurant one of the nation's top destinations for white truffles from Italy, Beluga caviar, and Grade A5 Kobe beef, among other top quality food products.
The bottom line: Tony and Tony's are at the top of their game even after five decades of "defining fine dining" in Houston as Alison Cook has written.
Many point to his encyclopedic knowledge of cuisine and his many years of experience dining the world's best restaurants as the secrets to his success. But it's really his love of "working the floor" that makes it all worthwhile, he explains.
"My greatest thrill," he says, "is being in the dining room and meeting new people every day."
Throughout his career, Tony has insisted on using only genuine Italian food products. In his landmark tome, "How Italian Food Conquered the World" (2011), Italian food authority and Esquire restaurant critic John Mariani cites Tony as a U.S. pioneer in the "FedEx" age of the availability of authentic Italian food products in North America (Parmigiano Reggiano, burrata, Sicilian sea salt, etc.). Nearly an entire chapter is devoted to Tony in the book.
Since the first oil boom in the 1970s, Tony's has been a favorite dining destination among world leaders, top entertainers, and energy and finance luminaries. Tony has served every sitting president since Johnson except Reagan and Obama (although Obama did eat at the restaurant before he was elected president).