About a dozen friends and admirers of Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad greeted the nation’s longest serving governor in Boone Wednesday afternoon at the well known and recently reopened Tic Toc Italian Trattoria.
Local business acquaintances and politicians, such as Rep. Chip Baltimore (R-Boone), welcomed Branstad to Boone County ground familiar the governor.
Victor Martinez reopened the landmark Italian restaurant in May, and he spread a wealth of light summer fare before the governor and his guests Wednesday, including canapes, fried mozzarella, shrimp cocktail and other toothsome comestibles.
The Mexico-born Martinez praised his chef, Rino Baglio, who hails from the Lake Como area of northern Italy, as “one of only 12 world-grade master chefs. He’s an Escoffier chef, and I’ve seen him work miracles in the kitchen.”
Martinez and Baglio have been friends for three decades, and the Italian cooking master persuaded his Mexican business partner to leave Bellvue, Wash., and move to central Iowa to run Tic Toc.
The Tic Toc Supper Club opened in the 1950s under the ownership of Joseph (Rudy) and Rosie Fraulini of Madrid. They built the business into a popular landmark for Italian food and ran it for many years before passing the restaurant to their daughter and son-in-law, Rick and Marchelle Fontanini.
The Fontaninis sold the business to Chris Thompson-Bolton in 1993, and Kevin and Jayne Calmer of Boone bought out Thompson-Bolton in 2014, closing last November.
Over the years, the Tic Toc became an icon in the Boone business community, and news of Martinez’s plans to reopen were met with joy earlier this year.
“We got the authentic, original Rudy Fraulini’s recipes,” Martinez said, “and we use locally sourced ingredients and sell draft beer from the Boone Valley Brewery next door.”
Branstad and company raved about the food, including the tiramisu topping all.
The Tic Toc Italian Trattoria is located at 716 Keeler St. in Boone.
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