LouRonzo’s Restaurant of Stuart answers the question, “What’s in a name?”

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If you live in or travel up to Stuart, you may have noticed that there’s a new restaurant in town. LouRónzo’s Italian Fusion has taken over what was once Gusto 2 restaurant and is putting the finishing touches on a renovation that is due to be completed by the end of October, just in time for the return of snowbirds and a new “season” for diners.

An iconic location and beloved local restaurant, Gusto was sold in May by real estate agents Angie and Vince Laviano to partners Ronald Werner, Louis Shapo and Joe Martin (who will also double as the GM). The three have been diligently making plans for the grand reopening to showcase a new menu that features two new chefs using fresh, seasonal produce to create interesting dishes and shared plates that reflect Italian and Continental flavors in a uniquely new setting.

The restaurant will accommodate 158 guests indoors (as opposed to 98 before) and include an oval bar with full-service liquor that can seat 24. Banquets that can seat up to six guests will make for a more cozy experience and al fresco dining will be available for 32 guests.

So what’s in a name, or to be more specific, their name? As the partners made plans to remodel the restaurant and revamp the menu, they realized that they would also need to adopt a new name. To get the community interested and involved in the process, a restaurant-naming contest was launched with PBG Lifestyle and a full-page ad was run in the local newspaper.

Over 140 responses came in and the suggestions were narrowed down to five before the final selection was made. Now spelled slightly differently than the original entry (it is based on the owners’ first names, Lou, Ron and Joe), LouRónzo’s was born. “Zo” represents Joe and he has come to be called just that. The office of Dr. Stuart J. Sabol earned the $500 gift card for coming up with the winning name, and when Joe “Zo” Martin and Ronald Werner stopped by to share the good news, the staff welcomed them with boisterous cheers.

Even better news is that downtown Stuart will still have a destination restaurant with a familiar Italian feeling that locals have come to know and love, but with new inspiration. Better yet, many of the original Gusto staff will be there to welcome guests back to LouRónzo’s when they open their doors and show off the new menu and interior.

LouRónzo’s Italian Fusion Restaurant is located at 301 S Colorado Ave. in Stuart. For more info, call (772) 287-3334 or visit www.louronzoitalianfusion.com.

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