The historic streets of downtown Stuart are coming alive with a new, delectable dining experience. LouRónzo’s Italian Fusion opened in December and is not only pleasing palates, but also impressing guests with its exceptional ambiance. Whether you live in the Palm Beaches or on the Treasure Coast, you’ll find it’s well worth the drive.
Located on the southeast side of the Haney Circle roundabout and across the way from Duffy’s, LouRónzo’s took over the spot where Gusto restaurant was once located. However, inside you’ll see that the eatery has been dramatically transformed. The revolving doors have been removed and the structure reengineered to hold a broad wine rack. One of the biggest differences is the impressive, full-service bar with its swirling onyx countertop lit up with multiple LED colors. A sparkling chandelier in the dining area adds to the atmosphere and attracted a lot of attention during the soft opening in November.
“It’s worth coming in just to see the chandelier,” said attendee Diann Rose.
Such beautiful decorations and other renovations came about as a result of the new owners Ronald Werner, Louis Shapo, and Joe Martin, who’s also serving as the general manager. The restaurant’s name is a combination of the three partners’ first names (Joe was adapted to Zo) and came about as part of an extensive naming contest.
LouRónzo’s dining adventure began when real estate agent Angie Laviano of Laviano & Associates sold the property, which had been on the market for more than a year.
“Mr. Werner was the right buyer,” said Laviano. “He had the vision and he did it. I think it’s going to be the place to go; the location, a full bar, it’s contemporary and it will bring a younger crowd, too.”
“The ambiance sets us apart,” said Werner. “It has the elegance of a New York supper club.”
Patrons attending the soft opening echoed those sentiments.
“I’ve been here for 30 years and I think it’s the best restaurant in Stuart,” said Marty Tabor.
Joan Bianco added to that. “What I love about this restaurant is it reminds me of a home. The chandelier and fabric are very warm … you just wanna sit. You don’t want to leave.”
If you’re a night owl, you won’t have to leave anytime soon. The restaurant is open until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and midnight on Sunday.
“It’ll be waking up the dead for Stuart,” said Abby Tabor. “Stuart’s never seen anything like this – if they can stay up late enough.”
Guests are also raving about the genuine Italian fusion selections. Chef Raffaele Lombardi, originally from Sorrento, Italy, is mixing traditional Italian dishes with new cuisine from around the world.
“I use a lot of innovation in my dishes and try new things with fish, meat and pasta,” Lombardi said. “It’s all about quality. I try to use and support local people, farms and fishermen.”
For starters, there are six salad choices along with cold and hot antipasti dishes, including an appetizer called Octopus Carpaccio, which includes arugula, shaved cheese, lemon zest and olive oil dressing.
During the soft opening, Yolanda Taylor tried eating octopus for the first time and upon eating it, happily said, “It tastes good … like conch. The texture is not too tough. It’s nice.”
LouRónzo’s offers a number of homemade pasta dishes, including Tagliolini Sottosopra, featuring tagliolini pasta, shrimp, sausage and cherry tomatoes served in a martini glass; there’s also Gnocchi & Zucca, which consists of potato and pumpkin gnocchi, melted gorgonzola sauce, and walnut and coffee powder. Main course choices include Salmone in Crosta, almond-encrusted Scottish salmon served with escarole, chopped tomatoes and onions with an orange reduction sauce; and Capesante E Fegato Grasso, made up of scallops and foie gras in a salt and cinnamon sauce. The restaurant also offers gluten-free and vegetarian options.
“We’re giving the chef the freedom to be creative,” said Shapo.
For wine connoisseurs, there’s an extensive selection of fine wines ranging from a $28 bottle of White Zinfandel Beringer or Split Moet Chandon Imperial to a $135 bottle of Castello Romitorio’s 2008 Brunello di Montalcino. Of course, you can always opt for a single glass of wine.
General Manager Joe Martin believes LouRónzo’s will bring a taste of fine dining and a service quality that will set the standard for others. “We want our guests’ overall impression to be, ‘Wow!’”
That top-quality service also includes free valet parking for guests every evening and some days.
“We want everybody to be happy,” said Shapo. “We’re here, not just for the food, but to enhance the downtown area. Everyone’s welcome.”
LouRónzo’s Italian Fusion Restaurant is located at 301 S Colorado Ave. in Stuart and is open seven days a week. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Sunday. Call (772) 287-3334 or visit www.louronzoitalianfusion.com for more information.