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Love of fine dining is in the air as Amore Restaurant opens on Key

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The much anticipated Amore Restaurant will open on Longboat Key next Thursday, Nov. 13, and chef Andrea Bozzolo and property owner Howard Rooks could not be more excited.

Located in a nostalgic location for many Longboaters, the home of the former Plaza Restaurant next to Publix, the restaurant will specialize in contemporary Italian cuisine, with fresh made bread and pastas, locally sourced produce, seafood and meat, and an extensive wine cellar as well as homemade desserts.

Chef Andrea is known for his success at Andrea’s the Art of Food and Wine as well as being the founding chef for Divino, located in downtown Sarasota.

Chef Andrea and Rooks teamed up seven months ago and a combination of factors led to their partnership.

Rooks says that he was a loyal customer at Divino’s and was always impressed with Chef Andrea and last spring presented “the right moment and right time to extend the friendship.”

Rooks bought the Longboat Key building 10 years ago from Chef Paul Mattison who was operating there at the time. Mattison subsequently closed the restaurant and Rooks had to ride out the recessionary real estate market for several years.

Rooks decided that with the reconfigured Publix his building presented many new advantages for a restaurant to be successful. Primarily, the advantage is one of new visibility by all of the Publix plaza shoppers.

Rooks undertook a complete renovation of the interior of the building, the landscaping, the kitchen, as well as adding 50 outdoor patio dining seats.

Chef Andrea has the task of keeping the 50 outside diners as well as the 210 possible indoor patrons entertained with his menu and expanded bar.

Chef Andrea hails from the Piedmont region of Italy and said he grew up in a family surrounded by fine food and four-hour lunches on Sundays. His home was 16 miles from Switzerland and after hotel school, he worked as a chef for Princess Cruises and studied the cuisine of Italy, France and other European influences.

Chef Andrea has been working 17-hour days over the last months defining and refining his menu, which will feature many entrees priced under $30, with an emphasis on freshly made pasta, local fish, rack of lamb, as well as fresh desserts made daily.

Rooks is confident that those who remember the elegant yet inviting interior of the Plaza Restaurant will return and find a new favorite place to dine on the key.

Serving will begin on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 4:30 p.m. Amore is located at 555 Bay Isles Parkway and will be open at 4:30 p.m. seven days a week.

The much anticipated Amore Restaurant will open on Longboat Key next Thursday, Nov. 13, and chef Andrea Bozzolo and property owner Howard Rooks could not be more excited.

Located in a nostalgic location for many Longboaters, the home of the former Plaza Restaurant next to Publix, the restaurant will specialize in contemporary Italian cuisine, with fresh made bread and pastas, locally sourced produce, seafood and meat, and an extensive wine cellar as well as homemade desserts.

Chef Andrea is known for his success at Andrea’s the Art of Food and Wine as well as being the founding chef for Divino, located in downtown Sarasota.

Chef Andrea and Rooks teamed up seven months ago and a combination of factors led to their partnership.

Rooks says that he was a loyal customer at Divino’s and was always impressed with Chef Andrea and last spring presented “the right moment and right time to extend the friendship.”

Rooks bought the Longboat Key building 10 years ago from Chef Paul Mattison who was operating there at the time. Mattison subsequently closed the restaurant and Rooks had to ride out the recessionary real estate market for several years.

Rooks decided that with the reconfigured Publix his building presented many new advantages for a restaurant to be successful. Primarily, the advantage is one of new visibility by all of the Publix plaza shoppers.

Rooks undertook a complete renovation of the interior of the building, the landscaping, the kitchen, as well as adding 50 outdoor patio dining seats.

Chef Andrea has the task of keeping the 50 outside diners as well as the 210 possible indoor patrons entertained with his menu and expanded bar.

Chef Andrea hails from the Piedmont region of Italy and said he grew up in a family surrounded by fine food and four-hour lunches on Sundays. His home was 16 miles from Switzerland and after hotel school, he worked as a chef for Princess Cruises and studied the cuisine of Italy, France and other European influences.

Chef Andrea has been working 17-hour days over the last months defining and refining his menu, which will feature many entrees priced under $30, with an emphasis on freshly made pasta, local fish, rack of lamb, as well as fresh desserts made daily.

Rooks is confident that those who remember the elegant yet inviting interior of the Plaza Restaurant will return and find a new favorite place to dine on the key.

Serving will begin on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 4:30 p.m. Amore is located at 555 Bay Isles Parkway and will be open at 4:30 p.m. seven days a week.

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