“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez

For longer than I choose to confirm, I’ve lived in Los Angeles. After growing up in San Diego, I moved here for college (hey, LMU Lions), and never moved back.

What I love about Los Angeles is that it always strives to be the trendsetter. It is a city consistently making waves (pun intended), urging for social change, and determined not let New York best it as the superior US city. Angelenos are leaders, always looking to improve and be the best version of themselves.

Not too long ago I had the honor of meeting one of these trendsetters, Vince Giuliano, co-founder to Bettolino Kitchen

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of being invited to Bettolino Kitchen, a quaint Italian restaurant located in Redondo Beach.

In college, I lived in Rome for a summer, so my love of Italian food is equal to my love of Mexican food. And if you are from San Diego, you understand how serious that is.

Having celiacs makes my love of Italian food a bit complicated, so I was thrilled when I saw Bettolino Kitchen offers an array of delicious gluten free options.

Usually I’m a wine drinker, but when our waitress mentioned a fresh peach mojito, I had to try it. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. If they had bottomless option, I would drink all the peach mojitos I could fit in my stomach (responsibly of course).

Once my friend arrived, we decided on two appetizers – a caprese salad with beets as an added bonus and the Burrata e Zucchini. It was my first adventure in beets and, I’m not going to lie, the whole time I kept thinking about Doug, Skeeter, + “The Beets,” (bonus points if you know what that means) which made me like the appetizer event more. We hungrily ate all the things. And I’m pretty sure my friend would have licked the plate, had we not been in public.

Now, I know what you are thinking. This is Charity Girl Problems, key word being charity. Why are you writing about food?

Don’t worry loves, I’m just about there. **Spoiler Alert** Bettolino Kitchen does have a social mission and it’s just as awesome as their delicious food.

Just as our Figs + Zoila salad arrived, Vince joined us at our table to share about his passion not only for good food, but for making a difference in the community where they live and work.

While all the food at Bettolino Kitchen was delicious, it’s safe to say our conversation with Vince was the highlight of my evening.

He and his sister, Andreanna, co-founded the restaurant together with the shared mission of continuing their family legacy in Italian cuisine and adding their own twist – a commitment to giving back to the people and community around them. Whether it be generously donating food and gift certificates to local fundraisers, to actively volunteering, it is rare you will hear the word no when it comes to doing something good.

Andreanna and Vince actively empower their employees to participate of Bettolino Kitchen’s give-back mission. For volunteering their time with a charity, Bettolino Kitchen donates an hourly wage of $10, up to $100. Employees are then able to donate that $100 to a non-profit of their choosing.

On top of paying their employees to volunteer, once a month the entire Bettolino Kitchen crew volunteer together. Afterwards, staff is treated to lunch at a restaurant nearby.

As Vince left, our entrees arrived. For me, the Pork Belly Risotto, and for my friend, the Gnocchi de Piselli (made from scratch!). We ate in silence for the next few minutes, savoring the deliciousness. Each course was decadent and delicious, but this course definitely sealed the deal.

And PS – the risotto is almost as good the next morning. I mean, who doesn’t love leftovers breakfast.

In chatting with Vince, it is clear that making a difference is something he is truly passionate about. He is constantly thinking about how they can add additional give-back initiatives and ways to empower his team to find their own give back style.

It is clear this dedication to getting involved and making a difference makes Bettolino Kitchen a unique place to work. Everyone we met that night, from the hostess, to our server, to Vince himself, were all very genuine, warm, kind people. We very much look forward to coming back and trying even more of what they have to offer.

Thank you to Bettolino Kitchen for inviting me to your restaurant, it was an amazing experience – both the food and the company. And thank you to Vince, for taking the time to share your passion + for all that you do to share what you have with others in need.

Keep up with Bettolino Kitchen on Facebook and Instagram.