Bertuccis menu

Orlando based Earl Enterprises, which owns the Planet Hollywood and Buca di Beppo brands, announced Tuesday that it has purchased Bertucci's, a Massachusetts restaurant chain with 58 locations. The deal allows Bertucci's to exit Chapter 11.

“We are delighted to announce the ownership of Bertucci’s," said Earl Enterprise founder Robert Earl in a statement. "Our love affair with Boston is very deep and we look forward to continuing business in a thriving market.

“I love the menu, from the rolls to the pizza and the to the pasta dishes, we are happy to add Bertucci’s to our portfolio of brands,” he added.

Bertucci's, headquartered in Boston, was founded in 1981 in the Davis Square neighborhood of Somerville, Mass. It currently has 29 locations in Massachusetts and 29 others in 11 states in the Northeast. It specializes in brick oven cooking of pizzas and pasta dishes.

Earl Enterprises' other brands include Earl of Sandwich and Cafe Hollywood. Planet Hollywood itself faced Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1999. Earl brought it back from the brink but it collapsed again in 2001. It has reemerged, with its flagship restaurant now located at Disney Springs.

Tiffins ext

When I think about the top tier restaurants at Walt Disney World Resorts I usually think of Flying Fish, Citricos and California Grill, though the latter has declined somewhat in terms of experience. After a recent visit to Jiko - The Cooking Place, I'm prepared to include that Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurant in the upper echelon, too. (Victoria & Albert's is in a higher tier all by itself.)

What all of those restaurants have in common is that they are accessible without the requirement to purchase a ticket to one of the theme parks. Which is not to say there aren't good restaurants inside the parks. Certainly Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Monsieur Paul at Epcot's France pavilion offer a higher standard than a basic meal.

In that category of restaurants I now include Tiffins, a surprisingly adventurous and slightly upscale restaurant appropriately located inside Animal Kingdom. I was invited recently to dine with some WDW executives, so my experience wasn't the same as an everyday visitor, but I liked what I tasted, and what I saw going on at nearby tables.

Tony Romas N. Miami Burger

In this episode of Compliments of the Chef, Bob Gallagher demonstrates how to make Tony Roma's North Miami Burger, one of the popular items from the original Tony Roma's. The burger has been brought back to the Orlando restaurant's menu and on Monday's at lunch you can get one for $10. So head to the restaurant at 8560 International Drive then go get the ingredients and try one yourself -- after watching the video, of course.

Pannullo interior

This seems to be the year of milestones, at least for area restaurants. Beefy King, of course, is getting a lot of attention, as it should, for hitting the half century mark. And Christner's Prime Steak & Lobsters has been touted for its 25 year anniversary, even though the first 20 were as Del Frisco's Prime Steak & Lobsters.

Quietly, Pannullo's Italian Restaurant is also celebrating its silver anniversary at its Park Avenue address. It's not the oldest along the avenue -- Cafe de France and Briarpatch outdate it -- but its 25-year achievement is worth noting.

Also worth noting: It may have been 25 years since I last dined there, or pretty close. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but knowing of the anniversary and needing a place to meet a friend for lunch, I decided to stop in.