As reported earlier this week, Spoleto Italian Kitchen, the South American-born chain of quick-serve restaurants, appeared to have closed all of its Central Florida locations. At the time of publication, none of the chain’s representatives were available for comment. Friday, managing partner Laura Henderson returned a call to confirm that indeed the restaurants are permanently closed. She cited the pandemic as the reason for the shutdown, noting that the parent company is in Brazil, which is currently being hard hit by the coronavirus.
The chain – originally known as Spoleto – My Italian Kitchen – was started in 1999 in Rio de Janeiro and opened its first restaurant in the United States in Orlando in 2015 on University Boulevard. It was an assemblage concept that had the customer choose the type of pasta, sauces and other ingredients to be added to a bowl by a staff member behind the line. It was reviewed hereon April 8, 2015.
Three other locations opened in Central Florida, including in Winter Park, Windermere and inside Florida Mall.
There are more than 350 Spoleto Italian Kitchens in Brazil, which has the largest population of Italians outside of Italy.
According to his Linkedin profile, John Velasquez, who brought the Spoleto brand to the U.S., left the company in December.
Henderson said in her call that she hoped that in a year or so after the pandemic crisis is over that Spoleto could once again reopen in Central Florida.