The Face Behind Sole Mio

Chef Angelo Montes speaks of his Italian roots, being an executive chef and his close ties to the Woodbury community.

There’s a little bit of Italy right here in Woodbury. Chef Angelo Montes was born in Licata, Sicily and raised in Biella near Milan; there he was able to experience firsthand the cuisine and tradition of the Italian culture which is now reflected in his local restaurant, Sole Mio Ristorante. When chef Angelo moved to America 17 years ago for a better life for his family and kids, Woodbury ended up benefitting by getting an authentic Italian dining restaurant in the community.  

So what can people expect when they come to Sole Mio? A family ambiance—restaurant patrons are treated like family when they enter the doors of Sole Mio. The spacious and beautiful space is located in Valley Creek Mall on the city’s west side. And be prepared: On your first visit, you might discover your new go-to restaurant. Chef Angelo notes that more than half their customers are faithful regulars. “We interact with many of the same people on a day-to-day basis; whether individuals, couples, families or co-workers, all are like family,” says employee Ben Nelson. “Sole Mio has created an environment that welcomes anyone who walks through our doors. When you appreciate the people you work for and the patrons who come through your doors, you have an amazing place to call home.”

You can also expect to be served amazing Italian dishes by an American Culinary Federation certified executive chef whose skills have been tested. “Only about 3 percent of chefs in the U.S. actually have this certification,” chef Angelo says. “You have to go back to school and go through nutrition tests, management classes, practical tests and much more.” He was also awarded C.H.E.F.F.Y. of the year by the American Culinary Federation in 2010, followed by the Chef of the Year award in 2012. Chef Angelo is not just any chef; he prides himself in his training and certification, noting that many chefs can call themselves “chefs” without any specific training.

 Expect a full menu at Sole Mio, complete with entirely made-from-scratch dishes. Sole Mio boasts a complete menu, from the large wine list to aged steak, veal, chicken and seafood, all with an authentic Italian flair. Chef Angelo and his talented staff have spent much of their time handcrafting the menu and perfecting it to the liking of their team and their customers.

The mark that chef Angelo has left since fulfilling his lifelong dream of opening his own restaurant in Woodbury goes well beyond his pure talent in the kitchen. Since moving to Woodbury in 1999, chef Angelo, his wife Teresa Franco and two children  have lived in the same home and have continued to get more involved in the Woodbury community. Chef Angelo is proud of the community he lives in, and it shows through his personal values, his impressive charity work and his relationships with community members from the mayor to business people to the city’s fire and police departments.

Most notably, chef Angelo has been a huge supporter of the Woodbury Community Foundation Chef Fest, an annual fundraiser tradition in which area top chefs come together to make food and show their support as chefs and friends to the community. “Being involved makes me feel really good; I want to show the community my support,” chef Angelo says of his involvement.

Chef Angelo leads a fast-paced lifestyle, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.  When you speak to him, his colorful personality shines through. He’s very transparent with his passions and hobbies, allowing everyone to get to know the person behind the face of the guy creating all the fabulous food.

The full and busy work life that Chef Angelo leads translates over to his personal life as well. One of his biggest passions is motorcycling which he tries to do as much as possible in the warm months. He has also developed a love for downhill skiing in the winter, and loves to go skiing with his friends and race with them. “One thing about me is I have a lot of fun. I may be a little older, but I still feel like I’m 25,” he says.

Whether you’re searching for a
beautiful restaurant, great wine, a family-friendly dining experience, wonderful and truly Italian dishes or one of the most fun and friendly chefs in town, Sole Mio Ristorante is the place to be.  

From the menu: Chef Angelo’s Recommendations

This is a pasta dish of clams, mussels, shrimp and Atlantic cod sautéed in a red pescatore (“fishman” in Italian) seafood sauce. $21.99

Hand-breaded veal smothered in tomato sauce, topped with melted mozzarella cheese and served with spaghetti marinara. (Sole Mio is the only restaurant in the area that serves veal, which many customers love.) $24.99

A 14-oz. ribeye topped with sweet caramelized onions, chopped sautéed bacon and Marsala reduction sweet wine sauce (Chef Angelo’s own recipe), served with garlic mashed potatoes. $34.99