EYE ON Business: Authentic Mediterranean-Italian food in Lakewood Ranch | East County

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Nabil Rezkalla might have long gone to school to be an architect, but he life everyday living to be a restauranteur.

When Riviera Mediterranean Grille opened for organization Oct. 3, the Italian-Mediterranean fusion cafe turned his most recent foray into the culinary planet.

“Always, my passion is the cafe small business,” stated Rezkalla, who co-owns the cafe with Sharie Kelly. “I experienced this strategy in my head all the time.”

In the earlier, Rezkalla has operated both equally Italian and Mediterranean eating places in Florida and Virginia. The two styles of delicacies are close to his coronary heart. Rezkalla, who is also just one of Riviera Mediterranean’s cooks, is 50 percent-Italian and 50 percent-Egyptian. He grew up in Egypt and gained a architectural diploma in France before moving to the United States in 1999.

Even though his Virginia dining establishments were being strictly Italian, he mentioned the Mediterranean aspect was in particular important to insert in Florida. Rezkalla reported Italian food stuff can be heavier and a lot more carb-centric, although Mediterranean food provides his menu some lighter, more healthy solutions. He reported people in East County are far more wellbeing-acutely aware.

Nabil Rezkalla is a co-proprietor and chef of Riviera Mediterranean Grille, which serves Italian and Mediterranean foodstuff. Rezkalla was born in Egypt and is fifty percent-Egyptian, half-Italian.

So far, his most well known dishes have been Sicilian shrimp scampi, grouper Francaise, hen Francaise, gyro platter, filet mignon platter and combined grill, full with saffron rice and combined vegetables. Rezkalla said all his dishes are ready from scratch.

Rezkalla has been in the cafe business for about 25 many years, but Riviera signifies the commence of a journey into a new business for Kelly. Although she grew up all around her family’s cafe in Park Hill, N.Y., a suburb of Syracuse, she hardly ever labored at the tavern that was commenced by her great-grandfather.

“But I adore food items,” Kelly said. “And I like looking at individuals content, eating very good, healthful meals.”

Kelly and Rezkalla, who the two live in Parrish, met about a 12 months ago. Rezkalla was operating as a manager at a friend’s restaurant, and Kelly, who has been an inside designer her entire existence, was doing kitchen area style perform. Their backgrounds appeared conducive to setting up a cafe together, and when they discovered an open up device on Condition Street 70 in Lakewood Ranch, they determined it was too excellent a offer to move up.

(From remaining) Sharie Kelly, Jennifer Ramsey and Nabil Rezkalla. Kelly and Rezkalla co-very own Riviera Mediterranean Grille, though Rezkalla and Ramsey are both equally chefs at the restaurant.

“We’re each the kind of people today that refuse to are unsuccessful,” Kelly reported. “That’s why we are doing the job our butts off. … If someone informed me two decades ago I would own a restaurant, I would’ve reported, ‘You’re nuts.’ But I like alter. And I like a problem. And I just like to preserve increasing and progressing.”

Kelly created the inside of the cafe. She is aiming to make the cafe a position wherever men and women can sit, loosen up and enjoy the environment at their have rate, even when they are accomplished ingesting. At evening, for case in point, that indicates dim lantern lights and smooth jazz.

Though business enterprise has been powerful, Rezkalla explained opening in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic has appear with challenges.

“People nonetheless be concerned about the coronavirus, get worried about their well being,” Rezkalla said. “We opened in a pretty complicated time, but thank God we’re performing good.”

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