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Aaron Ferer | Mark Eaton | Gary B. Francis

Aaron Ferer

Dining in a city once commanded by restaurateurs with a strictly local focus is changing with the new millenium. As the Winter Olympic Games shift focus on Utah to an international view, the dining scene is evolving. Critics claim that many restaurants here now rival their famous counterparts in New York and Paris. Forchetta, headed by Aaron Ferer, restaurant designer, has a bold vision for exciting new dining concepts and is putting this vision to work in Salt Lake City. Tuscany, designed by Aaron, opened in 1996 to tremendous acclaim. Continually rated as one of America's top restaurants by Zagat, Tuscany has truly found its niche in the community. Tuscany is one of three restaurants Salt Lake City to be honored by Wine Spectator with their prestigious Award of Excellence every year. Along with partners, architect Gary Francis and Jazz great, Mark Eaton, this was Aaron's first foray into the Salt Lake market with his dining concept and design expertise.

The driving force behind Forchetta is Aaron Ferer. A resident of Salt Lake City, he is heavily involved in the national restaurant scene, having affiliations with many of America's top restaurants. Additional dining concepts are planned for Salt Lake City, and plans for small boutique hotels with anchor restaurants are in the works for the western United States. His ability to recognize trends is one of his greatest assets. Aaron is a true visionary in the hospitality business, knowing how to produce added value."I try to give people the same food quality of international award winning restaurants at prices they can afford, without compromising food integrity or quality."

Ferer was one of the original founding partners of the famous Grill in Beverly Hills. Several years later, Grill Concepts was formed as a more casual dining concept. Grill Concepts then acquired the Grill in Beverly Hills and continues to open and manage both the Grill and the Daily Grill concepts. Aaron remains a major investor in Grill Concepts, publicly traded on NASDAQ. Starwood Hotels, a prestigious, high end, hotel chain, has recently taken an ownership interest in Grill Concepts. While the Grill Concept restaurants will be opening nationally within these prestige properties, additional Grill Concept restaurants will continue to open independently.

Aaron's concept, design, ownership and executive management interests encompass a virtual who's who of restaurants. He is responsible for the concept, design and executive management of multiple award winning Bay Area restaurants, and has invested in Nancy Oakes' and Pat Kuleto's Boulevard. Aaron is an investor partner with Michael Mina, in a new restaurant, Redwood Park, opening this fall in San Francisco. Michael is famous for the 4-star Aqua in San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Aaron's real passion is concept and design of dining establishments. He attacks every detail professionally. Extensive travel and research are conducted for every project. "I get the whole picture before doing it. The key is putting the right project in the right place. I know my job, though and do my homework thoroughly. I feel I am a good judge of any given marketplace". Aaron provides executive management for many of his projects, ensuring quality on an on-going basis. He lends his incredible attention to detail to all management elements.

Aaron believes in success, but not success at any price. Aaron holds his people in very high esteem. "I value passionate, innovate and creative people. The trick is to get them to buy into your vision. I love them to death, pay them well and treat them right. I make tremendous demands of them. They do not work for me, they work with me." Aaron likes to challenge his staff, to push them to achieve their best. "It is the people involved that ultimately make my concepts successful."

A commitment to quality is foremost in all Ferer's projects. Extensive quality control is conducted on a nightly basis in all the restaurants. Everything coming out of the kitchen is checked on a nightly basis. "I want to deliver uncompromising quality " every guest, every meal, every day." says Ferer. He understands well the concept of dining as entertainment and strives to find innovative ways to deliver.

Design, Concept, Ownership and Executive Management

  • Tuscany - Salt Lake City

    Aaron's projects in which he is no longer involved:

  • JoAnns in San Mateo (sold)
  • Barley & Hopps in San Mateo - highly acclaimed reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle)on NBC with Michael Bauer - 3 Best Microbreweries

    Concept , Controlling Ownership and Executive Management

  • Carpaccio in Menlo Park
  • Capellini in San Mateo (with Pat Kuleto)(Best Italian in the South Bay - Best of the Bay Area Dining - S.F. Chronicle 7/8/01)

    Ownership Interests:

  • Started the Grill in Beverly Hills – Aaron was one of the original founding partners Grill concepts was formed to begin the Daily Grill in Brentwood Grill Concepts bought the Grill in Beverly Hills. Grill Concepts is now a publicly traded company on NASDAC, of which Aaron is a major shareholder. Grill Concepts conducts projects with major hotel operators.
  • Grill and Daily Grill concepts nationally gross $45-$50 million.
  • Daily Grill is a more casual concept that the Grill.
  • Boulevard in San Francisco (Chef: Nancy Oakes, Designer: Pat Kuleto)
  • Redwood Park - San Francisco Opening in Fall 2001 in the TransAmerica building With Michael Mina, four star chef from critically acclaimed Aqua

    Future Projects

  • Plans for expansion in Salt Lake City area with additional restaurant concepts.
  • Plans for boutique hotels with anchor restaurants in the Western United States.
  • New restaurant concepts beginning with the Western United States.
  • Boutique hotels with anchor restaurants.


Mark Eaton

Mark Eaton is currently involved in a number of different ventures. He is a partner in Salt Lake Area restaurant, Tuscany, located at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City, Utah. He recently completed a three-year run as host of the internationally syndicated radio show, SportsHealth Today, which was heard daily in 95 markets. He is Chairman of the Board of the Mark Eaton Standing Tall for Youth Foundation. Activities sponsored by this organization include the Mark Eaton Life Enhancement Basketball Camp and Outdoor Camps. Mark is still actively involved in making public appearances, doing local and national endorsements, and working with numerous charitable organizations.

During Mark's twelve year NBA career with the Utah Jazz, he was named NBA Defensive Player-of-the-Year twice and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team five times. Mark set an NBA record for blocked shots in a single season with 456, averaging 5.56 per game during the '84-'85 season. Mark led the NBA in blocked shots four times during his career. He was the first player to total 1,000 blocked shots in just three seasons. Mark swatted a total 3,064-blocked shots in his career, which was 125 short of the all-time record held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He had 18 career games of double-figures in blocked shots, six triple-double games and five games of plus-twenty rebounds. In 1989 Mark was selected to play in the NBA All-Star game. Mark holds the Utah Jazz record for the most rebounds in a game (25), which he accomplished on two occasions, and also retired as the Jazz leader in games played with 875 regular season games. Mark was a member of three division winning title teams and also played in 74 play-off games during his career. Mark was drafted in the fourth round (72nd overall) in the 1982 draft and was also drafted in the fifth round by the Phoenix Suns in the 1979 draft. His number 53 was retired by the Jazz on March 1, 1996.

After graduating from Westminster High School in Westminster, California Mark enrolled in Arizona Automotive Institute, where he graduated as an automotive service technician. Mark played two seasons for Cypress Junior College in Cypress, California after he was found repairing cars by Assistant Coach, Tom Lubin. In his sophomore season, Cypress won the California Junior College State Title. At UCLA, during his senior year, Mark played just 53 minutes in a total of eleven games.

Gary B. Francis

One of the four founding partners of Tuscany, Gary Francis is the principal of G. Francis & Associates, Architectural Design / Construction / Development practice located in Park City, Utah. G. Francis & Associates was founded in 1977, and focuses on exclusive residential properties, multi-use and architecturally significant commercial projects.

Mr. Francis is a graduate of the Graduate School of Architecture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, California.Mr. Francis is in charge of site evaluation, architecture, construction management and interior design collaboration with co-owner, Aaron Ferer for Tuscany.In addition to projects in Park City and along the Wasatch Front, the office has completed architectural projects in California, Texas, Idaho, Virginia, Georgia and Massachusetts. Typical projects are valued at between $1 million and $5 million.