A proud Italian-American, Eugene Lanzone was born in San Francisco in 1962 to Emilia Migneco from Augusta, Sicily, and Modesto Lanzone from Framura, a gorgeous 10th-century town near the Cinque Terre. His father originally started working for Joe Vanessi (who later became Gene’s godfather) when he arrived in San Francisco, and later went on to have several very successful restaurants of his own.
In typical Italian style, the family, including grandparents, aunt and standard poodle “Ralph,” lived in a pair of flats on Scott Street in the Marina. Growing up, Gene had a lot of neighborhood friends. He spent many happy hours with them on bikes exploring the Presidio, Crissy Field and Aquatic Park (that is, when he wasn’t peeling carrots and bussing tables at the restaurants). Gene also spent his summer vacations with his dad’s family in Framura, and he is fluent in Italian to this day. Gene’s dad was a huge art connoisseur, and they traveled extensively around the world and spent lots of time in museums and galleries. Both Gene and his father were members of the Dolphin Club and swam together regularly in the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay.
Gene attended Winfield Scott and St. Brigid’s for elementary school in San Francisco; and in Marin he attended Jameson Hall High School and College of Marin. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in Hospitality Management. After college, Gene worked with his father in their family restaurants and also started a computer company.
In 1988, Gene married Carolyn, and they had two boys, Robert and Antonio. Robert was born with cerebral palsy and Antonio was born with autism. Sadly, Carolyn passed away when the boys were very young due to complications from juvenile diabetes. In 2000, Gene met and married Laura Rodby (now Laura Lanzone) and together they raised Bob and Tony in the house on Scott Street.
After his father’s death and the sale of the restaurants, Gene continued to work in the restaurant business for many years. In 2009, Laura got her real estate license and Gene took over as a stay-at-home dad so she could go to work. His oldest son passed away in 2016, but Gene still stays home with Tony and is also a great help to Laura in her business.
Gene is very proud of his Italian heritage and has long-standing affiliations with, as he says, two “incredible” Italian organizations. Since 1991, he has been a member of the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club where he served as a board member and vice president, helping with many events including dressing up as Santa for the kids! The other organization, of course, is Il Cenacolo, where he is a board member and has served as Secretary for many years. He also loves to help with the Opera Outings and Christmas Galas.