Longtime Area Restaurateur Planning Park Avenue Italian

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SpagnoloRosario Spagnolo, owner of Terramia Italian Wine Bar and Ristorante in Altamonte Springs but not Lake Mary (I’ll explain in a moment), is planning to open a new restaurant on Park Avenue in Winter Park. Maestro, which will feature the cuisine of Spagnolo’s native Naples, will take over the space where Makis Place resided for a very brief period.

Spagnolo, pictured at left, says he hopes to have the restaurant open by the end of September, but he’s still waiting on permits from the city before construction begins, so…

But this is hardly Spagnolo’s first culinary rodeo. He’s been opening restaurants — and then mostly selling them or otherwise moving on — since 1989.

I first encountered him with a restaurant called Bravissimo, which was on Howell Branch Road in Winter Park in the space currently occupied by Butter Chicken Indian Cuisine. (It is still there, isn’t it? Has anyone checked lately?) Then he sold that restaurant and became chef de cuisine at Capriccio at the Peabody Orlando. Capriccio is now Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse and the Peabody is now Hyatt Regency Orlando.

But he was only at the Peabody for a couple of months before he went back to Bravissimo. Then he sold that and opened a pizza place on Central Boulevard in downtown Orlando called Metro Espresso, which is still there but hasn’t been owned by Spagnolo in a long time.

Are you beginning to pick up a pattern here?

After he sold the pizza place he opened another Bravissimo in Seminole Towne Center. (Is Seminole Towne Center still there?)

Then, in 2004, Spagnolo partnered with Massimo Nobile and opened Terramia in Altamonte Springs. And it’s still there! Well, that’s not exactly true. In 2013 the restaurant closed for a few months and relocated just around the corner from its original space. The two also opened a Terramia in Lake Mary.

But according to Spagnolo, the partners had different visions of where they wanted the businesses to go. So they split off, Nobile taking Lake Mary and Spagnolo retaining Altmonte Springs.

One of the features of the first incarnation of Terramia that I really enjoyed was the antipasto table in the center of the restaurant where servers dished up delicious starters. Spagnolo says he’s bringing the antipasto table back for Maestro.

He is also putting in a pizza oven and will offer other Neapolitan specialties. Look for braciola di manzo all Napoletana and perhaps coniglio alla Genovese, which have been on previous Spagnolo menus.

Spagnolo is partnering with a Brazilian businessman who owns five McDonald’s franchises there. He says that it’s their intention to eventually franchise Maestro.