- November 12, 2014
When Amore Restaurant closed in May, loyal Longboat Key customers were left without a gathering space.
But that won’t be the case for much longer.
Owner Howard Rooks said he hopes to have the new location in Burns Court open by the end of September.
In January, Rooks sold his property at 555 Bay Isles Parkway to the town of Longboat Key for $2.2 million to be used for the coming Arts, Cultural and Education Center. Rooks had owned that property since 2004 when it was Mattison’s Steakhouse.
In May, Rooks purchased the empty space at 443 Burns Court in Sarasota so he could relocate the restaurant and bring the staff, including hostess Liana Vitorino and her husband, Amore manager Tito Vitorino, with him.
The new Burns Court location is about half the size of the Longboat location. Rooks said the new restaurant has seating for about 180 people.
Rooks planned to open the new location in July, but once he got into the space, he saw room for improvement.
“I’m anticipating that you never finish quite as quickly as you think you’re going to,” he said.
Expanding the kitchen and replacing and leveling the floor of the outdoor patio were the two big projects, Rooks said. Other improvements included smaller cosmetic enhancements.
“We’re only adding a little bit of space, but in doing that you have to redo almost everything else as well,” he said.
He said the kitchen will be adequately sized to serve 180 people, but it isn’t as big as the Longboat location’s kitchen.
“That kitchen was big enough to accommodate a hotel,” he said.
Rooks is looking forward to opening the space and said he is counting on his loyal Longboat customers to venture off the island to his new location.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I really am.”