In sad news confirmed this morning, Valter Nassi, impresario of fine dining Italian Valter’s Osteria, has died at the age of 76. I’d wager there aren’t many in Salt Lake City immediately known by their first name alone; any mention of Valter would instantly conjure up the image of the charming, larger than life personality who would greet arriving guests with a warm embrace.
Nassi first arrived in Salt Lake City by way of NYC in the late 1990s. His first restaurant outing in the Beehive state would be Il Sansovino, located in the American Stores Building on Main Street. When the building was eventually sold to Albertson’s, Cucina Toscana was his next port of call. It would remain so for more than a decade with the restaurateur eventually receiving the Downtown Alliance’s Achievement Award in 2013. Fans would flock not only for the food, but for Nassi himself.
By 2013 Nassi had upped sticks and moved to his own digs with the namesake Valter’s Osteria, the restaurant he helmed to his final days. The move saw Nassi transplant his welcoming magnetism into the former home of the Metropolitan restaurant on 300 South.
The Osteria (which means tavern or inn) menu features the Tuscan cuisine of Nassi’s Monte San Savino childhood – a culinary tradition that was showcased throughout his restaurant ventures. For those wanting the complete Osteria experience, a guided multi-course experience was the recommended way to navigate the menu – typically directed by Nassi himself; the selection of dishes was always anchored by a sampling of house made pastas, some of the very best in the city. Table side prep of classic dishes is also a signature of the restaurant’s service style.
In recent years Nassi launched a book titled, “The Magic of The Table” charting his culinary life and travels. Nassi talks about the book and his restaurant on KUTV here; and the volume is still available for purchase via valterofslc.com. Most recently Nassi experienced national recognition when his cameo appearances as congenial host on the Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City became a much loved moment by fans of the show and restaurateur alike.
Valter’s Osteria is now routinely frequented by a who’s who of local and national names. When Covid 19 indelibly changed the restaurant landscape, Valter’s Osteria was one of only three Utah restaurants given the nod for visiting NBA teams ensconced in tight Covid bubbles. Former Utah governor Gary R. Herbert was just one of many who took to online posts to remember the Utah icon.
A celebration of life mass for Valter will be held on November 10th at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Madeline in Salt Lake City. All are welcome to attend. Featured image top of page from Deseret news interview with Valter Nassi in 2014. Read more here.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have written in myopic detail about the Salt Lake City dining scene for the better part of seventeen years.
I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV. Pause those credits, yep, that’s me! I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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