5215 14th St. West Bradenton, Florida 34207

NEXTGEN ARTICLE

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Thanks NEXTGEN for the beautiful article:
Every day around 10:30am, Monica
Mucci starts making pasta from
scratch in the small kitchen of
Bradenton’s Tiramisu Ristorante, which she owns with her
husband, Luca Cecconi. On a recent day,
she was making that night’s dinner special
– cannelloni pasta stuffed with lobster,
scallops, ricotta and parmigiana cheeses,
and served with a creamy tomato sauce.
The dish was a huge hit with customers,
as Mucci’s specials usually are. Tiramisu
opened nearly two years ago, after the
couple moved from Italy. “We moved here
to stay close to Monica’s father,” Cecconi
said, adding that her dad had been living
in Bradenton for about 15 years. “And she’s
always dreamed of living in Florida with the
beautiful weather and wonderful nature.”
The two also moved here for economic
opportunities – essentially, to work, added
Cecconi. And work is pretty much all
they’ve done since. But their labor has
paid off, as today they own a successful,
intimate, fine dining restaurant at 5215
14th St. West, tucked away in a strip mall
near a Dairy Queen and Dunkin Donuts.
Tiramisu serves authentic fare – dishes
you’d find in Italy, particularly in the
northern regions, made
using recipes passed down from Mucci’s
and Cecconi’s families. Mucci, 35, is
originally from Porretta, not far from
Bologna, and Cecconi, 29, is originally
from Livorno in Tuscany. “The food is not
too Ameri-canized,” Cecconi said. “We
don’t have spaghetti and meatballs.”
Hidden Gem
The couple’s road to restaurant ownership
started in May 2014, when, two days after
their wedding, they traveled to Bradenton
to look at potential locations. They found
the small storefront, then
occupied by Mama T’s Pizza, put in an
offer, and went back to Italy to wait for
approval of their visas.
By October, they were new restaurant
owners, determined to open for business
within the month. They remodeled the
restaurant themselves, spending entire
nights painting walls a golden honey
color, build-ing wine racks, a bar, a new
kitchen door, and shelves.
They decorated with pots, pans, little
espresso makers in all different colors,
framed family photos, and pictures of
Italian cities and sights. They brought
in marble tables, and a friend painted a
mural of a
window overlooking a Tuscan landscape
of rolling vineyards on the back wall.
They called their place Tiramisu, a name
they came up with on a whim, thinking
it sounded fun and very Italian – a
name that would suggest that their food
was authentic. “We changed it a lot,”
Cecconi said, and in November 2014,
they opened.
At first, neither Cecconi nor Mucci spoke
much English, so they didn’t like to answer
the phone.
“When we started, answering the phone
was a big problem,” Cecconi smiled.
“When you have people in front of you,
you can explain better [than when talking
on the phone].”
Also, when they first opened, they only
closed the restaurant on Sundays and
they also served lunch. With Mucci doing
all the cooking, Cecconi serving and
hosting, and only three other employees,
they found they were spread too thin
and that they were better off focusing
on dinner.
Ciao Down
As Mucci explains it, she was born into
the restaurant business. Both her parents
were cooks and her father, Francesco
Mucci, owned and ran Ferraris in Sarasota,
as well as other local restaurants that have
since closed. He now owns a wholesale
bakery called Bombolo Biscotti.
Mucci’s specialties include fresh
homemade pasta dishes like Tagliatelle
Bolognese, served with a sauce of
tomatoes and meat, and Lasagna
Bolognese, which has the same sauce
and layers of pasta and cheeses and a
topping of béchamel sauce.
Mucci also offers several ravioli options
and veal scaloppini dishes – these feature
thin slices of veal with fresh mozzarella
and marinara sauce, or with eggplant,
mozzarella and a touch of marinara. Her
Scaloppini Montecarlo is veal sautéed
in garlic and olive oil with fresh chopped
tomatoes, artichoke hearts and roasted
red peppers, topped with mozzarella
cheese and served over linguini.
Desserts include Panna Cotta, Cannoli
and, of course, three different versions
of Tiramisu: traditional, chocolate walnut
and strawberry. Cecconi handles the wine
list, which contains varieties from small
Italian wineries. Every Thursday and
Saturday nights, there is live violin music.
Since it’s the off-season, the restaurant is
open from 5pm to 9pm, Tuesday through
Saturday.
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