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A recipe for success

Michael Garey and Chef Mark Imparato

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

There is no shortage of great dining spots in Sarasota. So when Lazy Lobster Restaurant owner Michael Garey opened Giorgio’s Italian restaurant on Hillview, he knew he would have to find a way to make the Chef-driven Italian eatery stand out in a crowded market.

And anyone who knows Longboat Key, knows that Garey is a frenetic and tireless manager who has established the Lazy Lobster as one of the island’s busiest and most beloved dining havens.

Garey and his wife Catherine opened Giorgio’s last July with Chef Mark Imparato, with the goal of creating a diverse menu of Italian favorites. But most importantly, with every dish cooked entirely from scratch and avoiding any processed or pre-made ingredients.

The menu reflects the accomplishment with more than a dozen varieties of pasta, an equal number of sauces, including fresh pesto, Gorgonzola cream, Puttanesca and scampi. Then there are the various additions such as chopped clams, homemade Italian sausage, sautéed lobster, muscles as well as the iconic meatball. Of the eleven sauces, only the house red sauce is prepared so it can simmer for hours in advance. The other 10 sauces are all made fresh to order.  The prices are very fair — starting at $10 for a full entrée of pasta with your choice of sauce.

All of the entrees that would be expected in the Italian restaurant are present as well, including salads, soups, lasagna, pizza cooked in a brick oven and homemade desserts.

One significant change that Garey made in the beginning of this year, is to allow diners to create their own pasta experience through mixing and matching all of the various fish, meat, pastas and sauces in virtually any combination desired.

Garey says the concept is catching on faster than he anticipated.

For Chef Imparato, the restaurant is an extension of the passion that he calls the central focus of his life for the past 30 years.

“I love my food; this is my life,” Imparato said.

Imparato has labored in the kitchens at many of Sarasota’s most distinguished restaurants including Michael’s on East, Euphemia Haye and the Bijou.

Even a short conversation with Imparato leaves you marveling at the energy and intensity he brings to his art.

“We don’t just order our ingredients and unload them from a truck. We are buying the best veal from Norway and it is blended with pork and beef in the meatballs. We buy wheels of Gorgonzola to make the sauce and the tiramisu recipe comes from my family and is made the traditional way incorporating a  classic Sabayon with a Marsala wine, the way it is enjoyed in Italy,” says Imparato.

Garey in his managerial prowess hopes that the combination of affordable pricing, Chef-driven homemade cuisine and an inviting setting will render the restaurant a Sarasota favorite in short order.

“By changing the menu at the beginning of the year, we have found the diners to appreciate the ability to customize their experience and we find they are even more surprised when they taste the difference of dining on some of their favorite dishes when prepared by one of the area’s finest Chefs using only top-tier ingredients,” said Garey.

So for Italian fare cooked to order with healthy and fresh ingredients, Sarasota’s and Longboaters are encouraged to try the difference.

Giorgio’s on Hillview is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily and is located at 1936 Hillview Street, around the corner from Morton’s Market and minutes south of Downtown.

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Longboat Key News

1 Response for “A recipe for success”

  1. Barbara Fox says:

    Been to Giorgio’s several times since they opened. Never disappointed. Very good food at a fair price. Michael is doing an outstanding job in customer service, quality of food and making you want to go back again and again!

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