Quick Bites: Small-Town Clermont Is Big On Taste

Luigi Roccasalvo was born in Italy and worked just thirty minutes away from Milan in Lake Como, and in Rome at the Victoria Hotel Roma. After also working in Texas, Canada, and New York, he settled in Clermont.

“My sisters live in Florida and I got tired of shoveling the snow,” he explains. “I’m not much of a city guy, and eight years ago when I moved here, I considered Clermont a small town.”

He could be referring to 12 years ago, when for miles off the turnpike you could see nothing but land and cows along Hwy. 50. From atop the Citrus Tower, there were orange groves as far as the eye could see. Now, this city of rolling hills is speckled with new housing developments, restau-rants, and malls.

Roccasalvo, a graduate of a New York culinary school, also worked in the World Trade Center’s North Tower at Windows on the World, among his long line of hospitality ventures. He recently pur-chased Kazbor’s Grille on Hwy. 50, located in front of The Home Depot.

“I’m doing all that I can to turn this place into family-style dining,” he says.

Roccasalvo is adding traditional pasta dishes and Black Angus steaks. He’s discontinued some of the evening promotions so that families can relax and have a good time with their children. For a faxed menu or more information, call (352) 242-9151.

Pizano’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant opened in what used to be an A-frame church on Hwy. 50, just off of 27 and west of East Street. Owners Maria and Joe DiDomizio, Gaston Aragon, and John Voss all share the same love for this industry.

“Each time I think I’m done, the restaurant business draws me back in,” Maria says. “I can’t get away from it.”

 All four are friends and either current or former owners of other restaurants. Aragon is a partner with Bravo Pizza in Lake Sumter Landing, and the DiDomizios own Di Caterers in The Villages.

Their most talked about feature is the lunch buffet for $7.99, that includes a few different pastas, sautéed veggies, meatballs, soup, salad, pizza, and much more, served Sunday through Friday from 11am-2pm. They’re also known for their moist and delicious garlic knots that come with eve-ning meals.

The menu is all Italian with a touch of seafood.

“We have delicious seafood pastas that include mussels, clams, and shrimp,” Maria says.

Her mom, a professional baker, makes the cannolis, carrot cake, and chocolate mousse cake. Clients can also look at her portfolio and order a wedding or other specialty cake. Pizano’s offers catering, outdoor dining on the terrace, and beer and wine. Give them a call at (352) 242-2422.

How fast is Clermont growing? It now has its own state-of-the-art catering hall, Room Valencia, beneath the Citrus Tower where Santiago’s used to be. Simply Catering owner Karen Trawick, who has worked for over 30 years as a caterer and party planner for Sonny’s, Chili’s, The Marriott, and other restaurants, is the exclusive caterer for the facility.

The hall features Wi-Fi, surround sound, and projection equipment as well as a luxurious atmos-phere befitting a wedding, dinner theater, high school reunion, or other group function. Simply Catered seats up to 160 with a room for overflow. Reservations can be made by calling (321) 202-4586. Trawick also delivers corporate lunches throughout the week.

“I’ll work with any budget,” Trawick says. “If your aunt wants to bring the potato salad, I’m okay with that.”

Roseann founded Restaurant Guide USA and
still enjoys writing about new and upcoming eateries.
E-mail roseann@lakeandsumterstyle.com if you see
or know of any new restaurants coming to your area.

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