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Best in Business Leadership 2019: Nick DiDonato

This spring, Nick Di Donato and his Liberty Entertainment Group will open a posh new nightclub called Arcane on King Street

Presented by KPMG Canada

 Just west of Spadina, in a space you might remember for its nearly two-decade run as Brassai. A few months later, Arcane will be joined in that same complex by a new Peruvian-accented Latin restaurant called Xango, which will be helmed by none other than Claudio Aprile of MasterChef Canada (and long ago, in the mid-’90s, another restaurant called Xango, on nearby John Street). And that’s it from Di Donato this year.

Unless of course you count overseeing his latest, most ambitious restaurant, Don Alfonso 1890, launched in 2018 (and ranked No. 48 on this year’s list). As well as his 100,000-square-foot entertainment complex at the Liberty Grand, on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, his BlueBlood Steakhouse at the historic Casa Loma, his club Spice Route and his three Toronto Cibo restaurants. And don’t forgot his Cibo in Coral Gables, which he set up in 2008 when he became the first Toronto restaurateur to make it big in Miami, assuming control of the 40,000-square-foot Coral Gables Country Club. And then there’s the Cibo in South Beach, and…

Never mind. You get the idea. For a man who came to Toronto to study engineering at the U of T and was working as an engineer at Imperial Oil when he started to dabble in the nightclub business (with PM Toronto, which he launched with his brother Pat in 1986), Di Donato seems to be doing all right. Actually, a whole lot better than that—and by any measure. For achieving this astonishing success, showing the industry how it’s done while at the same time devoting himself to numerous charitable causes (like his Caring & Sharing Christmas Gala), KPMG wishes to salute Nick Di Donato with its first annual Better Business Award.

Sebastian Distefano,of KPMG
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