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Patrizia’s is doing so well on Fort Lauderdale’s Galt Ocean Mile that the family-owned restaurant chain is already well into the process of opening a second location in Deerfield Beach’s Cove neighborhood.
The plans call for the Italian eatery’s newest South Florida imprint to open at 1544 SE Third Court around mid-October.
That timing is all the more impressive when you realize that Fort Lauderdale’s Patrizia’s opened in April, a little over four months ago. It was the chain’s first property outside of New York, where there are 10 restaurants spread across all five boroughs, as well as one in Red Bank, N.J.
“We felt we’re the right restaurant at the right moment, so we pulled the trigger,” explains managing partner Gennaro Frezza. “We actually found out a lot of our following, our clientele, is relocating from up north as well.”
He explained that while the ownership had been scouting around, it was actually Patrizia’s loyal fan base that steered them toward Deerfield Beach.
“We have to give a lot of credit to our clientele who follow us,” Frezza recalls. “They kept saying, ‘Open in Deerfield. Its close so we can drive down from Boca or up from Lighthouse Point.’ You know, it’s amazing how many people flipped the switch and decided to move down here because they love Florida. It worked out for both of us.”
“We are actually going to stick to what we know and continue doing what we did in Fort Lauderdale,” says Frezza, who has also moved from New York to South Florida, settling in Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard neighborhood. “We’re adding a small lounge area to the bar because we had that space.”
The bar will be on the left as you enter, and on the right there will be a party room for private functions. The decor will be similar to the Fort Lauderale location.
“Maybe not as posh. It’ll be more chic and, like, hip with high ceilings with exposed duct work. There’s almost like this industrial thing going on.”
Founded in the Bronx by brothers and chefs Giacomo and Gennaro Alaio in 1991, Patrizia’s bills itself as a mid-price restaurant with a family event vibe. Waiters famously whirl linen napkins over their heads while singing for guests celebrating birthdays.
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“At Patrizia’s we want to make our guests — I don’t know how to say it — they become family. That’s why what we do is the right fit for Florida. I think we’re changing the market in Florida…with our customer service. We brought in a great staff that were locally based. They had a tons of experience from other restaurants and we transformed them into [becoming] one of us. I think at first [they were] very foreign to how we do things. We train them in our very homey style, and it’s more of the experience.”
The company has been adding staff to the Fort Lauderdale restaurant, training them for the new location. “New bartenders, new servers, new chef, new cooks. Giving them experience on how to do things day to day…so when we open the doors in Deerfield, we’re ready to go.”
And they may repeat that process again.
“We definitely plan on expanding,” Frezza says. “Right now there’s no concrete plans on where we going next but we’re looking to move fast. We see Florida as a lot of room for growth.”