A native of Milan, Italy, restaurateur Riccardo Ullio moved to Georgia as an almost-teenager on July 4, 1981. He spent his college days on a Presidential Scholarship at Georgia Tech, garnering an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering. Riccardo was also awarded a graduate fellowship, and earned and Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering.
Like many students, Riccardo spent a lot of time working in food service and restaurants. Eventually the restaurant “bug” bit him hard.
“By the time I finished school, I had been working in restaurants my whole life,” explains Ullio. The energy, drive and sense of freedom that permeates the restaurant world was overpoweringly alluring, and he hung up his calculator for a chef’s hat.
In 1994, after his master’s degree in environmental engineering, Riccardo opened the ground breaking fast casual pasta concept Pasta da Pulcinella in Midtown Atlanta. After taking time to travel throughout Italy to study regional Italian cuisine, he opened Sotto Sotto in 1999 and Fritti in 2000. Sotto Sotto and Ullio’s more casual pizza concept, Fritti, have become Atlanta’s finest destinations for Italian dining.
Sotto Sotto, which translates to “hush hush” in English, is Riccardo’s modern take on a rustic Italian “trattoria.” Fritti, meaning “fried” in Italian, offers more casual dining with Atlanta’s most authentic Neapolitan pizzas baked in a Ferrara hand made brick pizza oven, and an array of salads. Both restaurants serve honest, delicious food with flavors developed from centuries of Italian culinary traditions.
Sotto Sotto and Fritti have received numerous accolades, including Atlanta magazine’s Best of Atlanta Hall of Fame and Restaurant of the year in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for Sotto Sotto; Fritti was certified by the Verace Pizza Napolentana Association (VPN) in 2007 for serving authentic Neapolitan style pizzas and is one of only 35 American Restaurants honored with this distinction. It has received three-star reviews from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and a four-star review from Creative Loafing.
Following his interest in regional Mexican cuisine, Riccardo opened Escorpion tequila bar and cantina in May 2011. Escorpion’s décor is inspired by the films of Robert Rodriguez, while the kitchen captures and innovates the authentic tastes of indigenous Mexico. The restaurant’s powerhouse cocktail menu is based entirely on agave-based spirits, including tequila, mescal and sotol, which serve as the foundation for a wide range of innovative and classic cocktail collections.
My time as part of SAA's Ramblin' On committee was a phenomenal one. I simply loved the experience, which allowed me to help plan a major event while developing necessary communication and cooperation skills with both other members of the committee and professionals, as well. Plus, the group of students I worked with ultimately all became my friends, which is an invaluable feeling!! - Josh Brown, HTS 2015, SAA Committee Chair
Mentor Jackets program is awesome. I not only have a wonderful mentor, but also ended up having a lifetime friend who can offer me advice and help whenever I need it. I will participate in this program every year. The program provides precious opportunities for students to connect closely with alumni. - Zhong Chen, Master's CS 2013, Mentor Jackets Participant
Being a part of the Student Alumni Association opened doors at Georgia Tech that I would never have dreamed of. During my time as a member of SAA, I was given the opportunity to coordinate a Dinner Jacket event with Tom Fanning, the CEO of Southern Company and a fellow Yellow Jacket. That was easily one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences from my time at Tech. Plus, I got a free steak out of it! - Imran Ali, MGT 2012, Dinner Jackets Participant