What’s Cooking with Chef Roberto Leoci of Savannah, GA

Jul 9 2014

by Cheri Leavy

Chef: Roberto Leoci

Restaurant: Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar

Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar is downtown Savannah’s newest gathering place for fine food + drink. Chef Roberto Leoci utilizes the purest ingredients and age-old techniques to create soulful and sophisticated coastal Italian dishes.

Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar is located at The Brice, a Kimpton hotel (601 East Bay Street) in the former Mulberry Inn building. Pacci held its grand opening on May 20.

Leoci was named 2014 Georgia Grown Executive Chef by the GA Dept. of Agriculture for his dedication to regionally-sourced products. He’s also been named Savannah’s “Best Chef” and “Best Italian Restaurant” for several consecutive years by Connect Savannah for his namesake restaurant, Leoci’s Trattoria.

During a recent visit with Roberto, he shared what’s cooking in his world…

Five ingredients always in your pantry:

Vidalia Onions, Georgia Olive Oil, Leoci’s Jams, Anson Mills Grits, Imported Calabrese Peppers

Five ingredients always in your fridge:

Garlic, Swiss Diary Cream, Fresh House Made Pasta, Burrata Cheese, Leoci’s Salumi

What are some of your go-to items you like to serve at a cocktail party?

Fresh Ginger + San Marzano tomatoes make the best Bloody Mary’s. I garnish them with Calabrese Peppers.

What would you want for your last meal?

Lobster, Lobster, Lobster…preferably in a light tomato sauce with fresh spaghetti and a massive spoonful of Georgia Caviar.

Dream guest list of five people for a dinner party and why?

I love making people happy with my cooking too much to narrow it down to just 5!

Do you cook at home? And if so, what?

I cook all the time at home. I love grilling on my Green Egg and you can’t beat a great steak on the grill.

Where do you like to eat in Savannah besides your restaurants?

Sushi is one of my favorites, ELE to be exact, with my favorite Sushi Chef Joe.

Career if you were not a chef?

Artist… I love blending colors together and studied art in college. If I had time I would definitely be painting.

What is your favorite thing about Athens, GA?

Spending some time at with the Epting family at Lee’s House. (The Hill) I can’t wait to return to Athens very soon!

Editor’s Note:

Roberto and his beautiful bride came to the Athens’ Summit and at the welcome event out at The Hill we shared a few nips of Lee Epting’s Pappy Van Winkle. Roberto served his gourmet Italian Products such as sal.

Chef Roberto Leoci and his other restaurant, Leoci’s Trattoria, were sponsors at our very first Summit event on Jekyll Island, Georgia. We love having our Italian ex pat turned Southerner as a friend and collaborator!

What is your favorite thing about Savannah in the summer?

A quick escape to Tybee Island.

What is your favorite summer time ingredient?

Cucumbers. I could eat a whole bushel!

Five Favorites-

Favorite Cocktail:

Jack and Coke. At Pacci, we make our own Cola.

Favorite Cookbook:

El Bulli, Ferran Adria

Favorite Kitchen Gadget:

Stick Blender

Favorite music to listen to in the kitchen:

OutKast- I’m friends with fellow Savannahian, Big Boi (Antwan Andre Patton)

Favorite culinary destination and why?

My family’s home in Sicily, which is 5 minutes from Valle dei Templi in Argrigento. The food is so pure and delicious. It’s where I first experienced my passion for food


Chef Janice Wilcher of Epting Events and Harry’s Barbeque

Chef Aaron Phillips of the Last Resort

Chef Peter Dale of The National

Chef Sal Speight & Bar Manager Brian Winters of Heirloom Cafe

Chef Mikel Sykes of the Porterhouse Grill

Emily Ullrich of Em’s Kitchen at Hawthorne Drugs

more spotlights coming via guide2athens


Co-Founder of The Southern Coterie


Co-Publisher guide2athens & Bulldawg Illustrated


Cheri Leavy View More Blog Posts from this Author

Cheri Leavy is a connector, cheerleader and marketing consultant for fellow entrepreneurs.
Building rapport and strengthening a sense of community:
• A community of female entrepreneurs through the The Southern Coterie and The Southern C Summit
• The faces and places of Athens that make our city so vibrant through guide2athens
• A community of devoted football fans through Bulldawg Illustrated
- Contributing editor to Coastal Illustrated, Executive Board Member of the UGA Alumni Association

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