Dallas

Dallas restaurant feeds Dallas and Boston players before the NBA Finals

In just three years, Enoteca Italia has been selected about 20 times to feed NBA team

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics took to the hardwood ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Championship Finals at the American Airlines Center Wednesday, but ensuring these elite athletes perform at their best goes beyond the court.

Each organization thoroughly prepares each player to be well-rested and well-fed for tipoff, and that’s where Chef Alban Besiri's game plan comes in.

"I'm waking up early, going to the market, coming to the restaurant, going back to the market," said Besiri with a smile. "We're going to be very busy. We're cooking for the Mavericks, we're cooking for the Celtics and we are so honored and humbled to be able to get this recognition for our restaurant."

Besiri and his wife Gena opened Enoteca Italia in Oak Lawn during the pandemic and have enjoyed rising success.

The husband and wife-run restaurant has been hand-selected to prepare meals pre-game and post-game for NBA teams on multiple occasions.

The chef credits his success to the quality of his food and connections made along the way in Dallas and Chicago beforehand.

My game plan is getting in the kitchen, prepping their meals, making sure it's perfect

Chef Alban Besiri, Enoteca Italia

The Celtics organization recently reached out informing Besiri that the team has requested his food once again ahead of Wednesday’s game.

"Out of all these restaurants, we're blessed," said Besiri.

Enoteca Italia will feed the Celtics on Wednesday and the Mavs on Friday.

"You have to be very attentive to detail and you have to know every allergy and every specification they have and that comes with years of cooking, caring about food and making sure you're going to the farmer's market to pick out your own vegetables."

On the Celtics' menu are carbs and plenty of protein — everything from roasted chicken to handmade pasta, bruschetta and protein-packed meatballs.

Besiri closely guards specific players' preferences and any allergies.

"Top secret, absolutely," said Besiri. "Otherwise I won't be getting their orders."

Nourishing both teams with protein and carbs is a winning game plan for Enoteca Italia.

"This is a family-run operated business. We work very hard to give great food and great service and down the line you get noticed. So as long as you keep working you'll make it happen," said Besiri.

Making meals for the team isn't interfering with regular business. The restaurant on Oak Lawn Avenue will remain open to the public on Wednesday.

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