Rising From The Ashes: ANAHEIM WHITE HOUSE

[ 0 ] December 15, 2017 |

by bill biss – 

Bruno Serato, the owner of the revered dining establishment known for three decades as Anaheim White House, is a remarkable humanitarian in his charity work and a chef supremo, putting his passion, talent and heart into every detail. In February of this year, Serato, his family and staff watched as their beloved restaurant was almost completely destroyed because of an electrical fire.

His nephew, Sylvano Ibay, the managing partner of Anaheim White House and also the vice-president and chairman of Bruno Serato’s Caterina’s Club, was there by Serato’s side as it happened. [More on Caterina’s Club later.]

How has it been since the horrible event? Bruno Serato stays positive, saying, “We are on top with the reconstruction and should be open in January. The look will be completely different from before but the beauty of the frame is still the same.”

Ibay offers his perspective in dealing with such a heart-wrenching occurrence. “It’s been frustrating to say the least; in the first few weeks it was really difficult to go in. It just broke my heart every single time…really difficult. You know what we’ve had for thirty years of just working day-in-day-out and we just cried at what we had over there. To see it in shambles and rubble, it was hard to see.”

“We are on top with the reconstruction and should be open in January. The look will be completely different from before but the beauty of the frame is still the same.”

Continuing Ibay adds, “The good thing is, it’s kind of a blessing in disguise. The attitude we’re trying to take on, it is that the last couple of months has been really nice is the process we’re trying to take with this. Really, more than 80 percent of the restaurant was destroyed. Now, they’ve begun the rebuild process and it’s looking a lot better. The exterior of the house is going to look more like it looked in 1909. We’re working with The Historical Society to bring it back to more of its original state. The interior, is going to be essentially the same floor plan, with some subtle changes, it’s going to be beautiful for the old and new customers to see.”

The outpouring of support has been a very important factor during this crisis, Serato stated, “The love and help was overwhelming. I would like to thank everyone out there who did care about what happened. When tragedy like this occurs; you know who your real friends are.”

Reflected by the fact that since February of 2017, a “Go Fund Me” page has raised around $200,000 dollars in support of the restaurant. “The community support that stepped up, honestly it was really humbling, quite frankly,” expressed Sylvano Ibay.

“Even the day of the fire. Bruno and I were there at four o’clock in the morning and come seven a.m., family, friends, city officials and customers were stopping by, because it held a special place in their hearts. All of our staff also showed up to lend each other some support to help us through it all.”

While all this was going on… Serato’s charity for children, an organization called Caterina’s Club [rightfully named after his mother], amazingly continued on during the time since the fire, serving almost 4,000 children every day with a fresh pasta meal.

“Absolutely!” says Ibay. “As a matter of fact, Caterina’s Club has even grown in the short time since the restaurant has been closed. Bruno and I have been able to dedicate more time to it. We’re serving in 62 different sites in 20 different cities. Just that alone… we’re able to reach more kids.”

Their remarkable work also extends to the “Welcome Home” program which has helped over 140 families move out of motels into apartments, houses or condos. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you put your mind to it!

You could write a book about the strength, spirit and charity that stems from the heart of Bruno Serato. Everyone who knows of his many achievements, also remembers Anaheim White House as a loving place to break bread, enjoy a special evening with family and friends or a valued restaurant to experience for the first time.

To know more of the man himself, let Bruno Serato tell you his story in his new book The Power of Pasta. “Mangia!”


THE POWER OF PASTA: A CELEBRITY CHEF’S MISSION TO FEED AMERICA’S HUNGRY CHILDREN

With Bruno Serato’s latest book, The Power of Pasta, the humanitarian shared a few thoughts on his life and how giving is the reason for any season, truly.

The Power of Pasta is a biography of my life and what I have done with my charity for the kids the past 12 years,” stated Serato. “It’s been received very well and I am very happy about it. It’s a great Christmas gift and profits go to my children’s charity.”

The indomitable spirit of screen legend Sophia Loren is also in the mix, too. The star praised Serato for his work and life, “The Power of Pasta is an uplifting tribute to the most inspirational use of Italy’s most famous culinary export. Bravo, Bruno!”

Serato shared his thoughts on Loren’s magic, how she helped him in getting through the ordeal of the fire and helped promote his cause and life story.

“Sophia Loren was one of the first people to call me the day of the fire. She told me to be strong and to not give up, truly she gave me a lot of support. I call her ‘The Statue of Liberty of Italy.’ She is an amazing woman…her beauty is not just on the outside.”

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Category: Food & Drink, Orange County

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