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Frank Pullara

Owner & Executive Chef

Born and raised in Mequon, Wisconsin, Frank Pullara grew up in the kitchen cooking comforting, delicious Italian meals and learning generations-old, authentic recipes from his grandparents and great-grandparents. Those early memories with family stayed with Pullara throughout his career and now, after over two decades of experience, have shaped his restaurant endeavors with Culaccino and now, Bestia Mare.   

Pullara kicked off his path to a professional kitchen by studying the culinary arts through the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) apprenticeship program. In Milwaukee, he worked his way up through the program from sous chef to executive chef before moving to Naples, Florida to work at the acclaimed Campagna Hospitality Group (Osteria Tulia, Bar Tulia, The French), which also awarded him the opportunity to cook at the James Beard House under chef Vincenzo Betulia in 2016.  

In early 2020, Pullara moved just outside of Nashville, Tennessee to start the solo chapter of his career: opening his very own restaurant, Culaccino, in neighboring downtown Franklin, Tennessee which consistently remains one of the city’s most popular spots. In 2023, Pullara opened his second concept across the street, Bestia Mare, a casual, elegant concept inspired by the Italian South that features a fish-centric menu with a strong focus on sustainably sourced seafood, paired with a coastal Italian influence.   

When he’s not serving up signature dishes at both concepts, Pullara spends his time exploring Tennessee’s different parks, hosting cookouts with friends, and soaking up quality family time with his wife, Ashley, and twins Mia and Niccolo.