Pharrell isn’t the only one who stays up all night. Dan Gunam knows a thing about keeping the good times rolling, too. As one of the founders of the now-defunct supperclub Roosevelt Room and the now-happening Osteria dei Ganzi, an Italian restaurant that turns into the kind of place you end up spending the entire night, Gunam knows how to keep his patrons in good spirits. That’s why Osteria dei Ganzi is such a hotspot for the night crowd. A good vibe’ll do that. We caught up with Gunam to find out what he does in his down time and what he loves most about Toronto.
Tell us a little about yourself – your background, experiences, a snippet about you…
Having been in the marketing industry for over 10 years, I’ve always had the love for hospitality and nightlife. I decided it was time to combine my passion and experience to create some unique ventures that would offer something more to Torontonians and our tourists. The first thing I felt we lacked was a European approach and flavour in our events and venues. As a result, I started to host various events in the city with French and European DJs and opened Roosevelt Room, which brought both Nikki Beach and Bagatelle to Toronto during Film Festival.
Ganzi is very different from Roosevelt Room. What inspired you to open an authentic Italian restaurant?
Having had authentic Italian food at my friends’ homes and having traveled to Italy, I realized we lacked an “old school” approach to cooking Italian cuisine. I felt that most of the restaurants focused more on modernizing the dishes, and I just wanted to keep them authentic and offer a place where a true Italian would feel at home. Teaming up my with business partner and friend, Luca Viscardi (who’s originally from Milan), gave us an opportunity to create something fun, unique and authentic altogether.
You managed to open Ganzi in a beautiful heritage building. Was this intentional or a fluke?
Having the historical feeling of a building is part of the Ganzi experience we are offering guests. When shopping for a space, we were looking for a building that had bit of history and culture. When I came across our space, I didn’t think twice about getting it. I truly loved the history of the house and even loved the rumors that Al Capone once used to hide out here.
What is the “must try” dish at Ganzi?
Our Pizza is amazing. We use DOP certified flour to give you that delish Italian dough that is so popular. You have to try our Margherita Pizza and our Picante Pizza if you like a hot dish (our picante is spicy). Also, our osso bucco is one of the best you will find in the city, as it’s not just the bone marrow but served the authentic way.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…it’s a young city, full of diversity and possibilities.
What are three things you simply cannot live without?
My iPhone, my morning Americano, and my car (I love driving).
What’s your favourite drink/cocktail and where do you go to get it?
I am fan of gin and bourbon. I used to go to BarChef or Cold Tea for my cocktails, but since Joao joined to Ganzi family I’ve been getting him to create some concoctions for me. I have to say he is one of the rare mixologists that can create such detailed cocktails.