Armando Martorelli, owner of the very good Trattoria Toscana on Park Avenue, is taking over the old Hot Olives space in Winter Park’s West End. The new restaurant will be called, curiously enough, Armando’s, and will be primarily a pizzeria with other foods, such as pastas and antipastos.
Martorelli told me that he has installed an authentic Neopolitan brick pizza oven that is combination gas and wood-burning. The restaurant will also feature a large antipasto table in the center of the room filled with cheeses and meats and fish dishes, the items found in typical Italian trattorias.
One of the building’s distinguishing characteristics -- its openness and feeling of al fresco dining even though under the roof -- will be changed and the restaurant will be more enclosed. There will be, however, according to Martorelli, an indoor and outdoor bar (it’s visible now to those driving down New England Avenue, he says.)
The existing site also had a notoriously small kitchen that hampered previous tenants. Martorelli says he is converting the current kitchen to basic dishwashing and storage duties and will expand the new kitchen in about the only way possible -- by moving it outdoors.
Armando’s is aiming for a September opening. Martorelli says he plans to keep Trattoria Toscana open, at least for a while.