EXCLUSIVE -- Kevin Fonzo, the K in K Restaurant Wine Bar, has sold the popular College Park dining destination and will no longer be its chef/owner. Fonzo told his staff Friday about the change, which will take place immediately.
The new owner is Oviedo resident Chad Phelps, a chef whose experience so far has been in institutional kitchens.
The reason for selling, Fonzo said Saturday, had to do with his family. "This has always been a family restaurant," he said. "I wasn't 100 percent the owner." Both of Fonzo's parents died within the last couple of years, and he said that it was his parents wish that he sell the restaurant so that the proceeds could go to his siblings to help pay for their children's education.
Fonzo says that he still has a vested interest in the business because his name, or at least his initial, is still affixed. He expects the sale to be final in mid July and plans to stay on as a consultant for a few weeks to help Phelps become acquainted with the staff, purveyors and the customers as well.
K Restaurant was originally known as Cafe Allegre and was first located farther up Edgewater Drive. He bought the business and renamed it in 2002. He opened a second restaurant, Nonno, in the old converted house where K is currently located. He eventually merged the two restaurants into one
Fonzo is considered one of the area’s top chefs and has been nominated for a prestigious James Beard award multiple times. In recent years he has become associated with teaching students at the Orlando Junior Academy about cooking and nutrition. His foundation, in association with Emeril Lagasse's, opened the Kitchen House and Culinary Garden near the College Park school. Fonzo has also been participating in leading culinary tours to Italy, South Africa and other worldwide locations. He said he plans to expand both his teaching and traveling endeavors.
Fonzo said that the name, concept and menu will remain the same.