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For New Owner, Montclair Family Restaurant a Home of His Own

By Uriah Kiser July 15, 2014 8:00 am

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071414-leoneDUMFRIES, Va. – Since coming to the U.S. more than 15 years ago, owning his own restaurant is something Francesco Leone has dreamed about.

Leone lives in Woodbridge with his wife, a his daughter, 6, and two sons ages 2 and 4, and recently made his dream come true. He purchased the Montclair Family Restaurant on Va. 234 outside Dumfries.

After spending the past 13 years working under this father-in-law at Armetta’s Restaurant on Minnieville Road in Dale City, getting an eatery of his own was the next logical step.

“Little by little, if I put a lot of hard work into this we will continue to be successful,” he said.

Hard work is something Leone is no stranger to. I worked with him, in what seems like another lifetime, at Tony’s Pizza on Va. 234 in 2001 (Armetta’s and Tony’s Pizza are under the same ownership). Leone was often behind the grill, taking orders, and making them in the back of the restaurant helping to ensure the place never ran out of food.

At Montclair, he says he’s thankful to inherit staff that has worked at the diner for years and a customer base of familiar faces that come almost daily.

Leone says the previous owner was hesitant to sell, but he eventually brought Leone in, showed him the books, and then he agreed to sell.

Those who come and sit at one of the 19 tables inside the diner shouldn’t expect too many changes on the menu. Rooted in Greek and American fare, the gyros here are very popular and come loaded with feta cheese and thick shanks of lamb, beef, or chicken. Burgers are popular here, and Leone also takes pride in the rotisserie chicken and the green beans freshly prepared here. Breakfast is also a big hit with regulars.

“When I went into the kitchen for the first time I had to ask the cooks where the microwave was. It was so small and hidden,” said Leone. “We have one,’ they said, ‘but we don’t use it that much.’”

Leone came to live in the U.S. in 1998 and married his wife at a ceremony back in his native Italy a year later. His family has been supportive of him stepping up and running his own business, and he says his children are the light of his life.

“If I can do this job for someone else for so many years, I know I can do it for myself,” he said.

Montclair Family Restaurant is located at 17001 Dumfries Road near Dumfries and is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Reservations, walk-ins, large groups are all welcome and take out is available.

Before he was a news reporter, Uriah Kiser was a restaurant server at several area restaurants. He still values many of the friendships made while working in the restaurant business and still likes to go out to eat.

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