30 years ago in October of 1980, Portofino, then Portside Inn, opened for business. For all these years, Portofino, well known thoughout the country, has served has a landmark destination for diners.
Our Managing Partner/GM , Jerry Beasley
Jerry Beasley, an alumnus of the University of Georgia and Mercer University, has been identifying, developing, and training successful restaurant management for 30 years. Experienced in resort, multi-unit, and private sector challenges, he has developed a specific success strategy that is guaranteed to produce results at the guest level. His basic approach to operational standards is a no-nonsense game book of discipline to service, food and beverage quality. As a triathlete, his competitive orientation is all about looking within to achieve results and teaches self-discipline as the single, most-important quality to produce the ultimate dining experience for the Portofino guest.
As a well-respected restaurant professional, Jerry Beasley has developed a network of successful professionals that are ready to assist you in any event, challenge, and function.
Executive Chef, Jeff Mellas
Chef Jeff Mellas began his career at Portofino in 2002 while attending Schoolcraft College's Culinary Arts Program. His skill, professionalism, and passion for cooking did not go unnoticed, and shortly after his graduation with honors from the nationally-recognized culinary school in 2006, he was quickly promoted to the position of Executive Chef.
During his tenure as our Executive Chef, Jeff Mellas has created two to three seasonal menus per year, overseen a dynamic banquet and catering program, and created many exciting theme dinners. Beyond holding a culinary arts degree, Chef Jeff Mellas is also an active member of American Culinary Federation (ACF) and the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).
Chef Jeff has developed many culinarians who have gone onto careers of their own and is involved each year with several youth culinary programs and personal development organizations. Chef Jeff is a highly-competitive golfer that can be found often on local courses early in the morning before work, honing his golf skills.
Portofino, rich in history
Portofino’s location on the Detroit is steeped with rich nautical history. In 1899, the General John M. Wilson was the first ship launched from the Detroit Shipbuilders site where Portofino is now located. In May of 1900, Frank Kirby, one of the foremost ship architects of the 20th century launched the Tashmoo, a luxurious steamship, to be followed later by some of the greatest names in ship history, The Columbia, the Pere Marquette 14, the Britannia ferry, The City of Cleveland and The City of Detroit 3. It was during many of the building and launchings of these magnificent vessels that Frank Kirby encouraged a young apprentice, Henry Ford.
As you stand on the Portofino dock, facing the beautiful skyline of Detroit, it is easy to imagine a celebrated senior figure in engineering, Kirby, talking to young Henry Ford as they watched gigantic steel hull ships splash, for the first time into the Detroit River.