PALM HARBOR — In the near future, the doors will open on a new, fine dining Italian ristorante called Dieci’s, where you would probably not feel surprised to see Tony Bennett eating pasta and drinking some fine wine while on vacation.
Dieci, Italian for the No. 10, indicating the best, is designed as an authentic fine dining experience featuring formally attired staff, savory dishes, live musical entertainment and a full bar. It is scheduled to open at the Palm Lake Shopping Center in Palm Harbor, 32888 U.S. 19, north of Tampa Road and behind Chick-Fil-A.
General Manager Richard Capaldo, who several years ago owned two Italian restaurants in Long Island, New York, said Dieci will become a destination for those seeking a night of entertainment and fine Italian food, such as homemade pasta and breads, dishes like lobster fra diavolo, savory sausage dishes, delectable desserts and other savory treats. However, they will not serve pizza, because Dieci’s is not a pizzeria, it’s a ristorante.
It will be a place that people come for special occasions and meet friends or when they just want to dress up a bit and enjoy a night out, eating traditional Italian dishes. Along with offering fine dining, Dieci will set itself apart by featuring a nightly array of musicians and singers offering entertainment, he noted.
The restaurant will be open from 4 p.m. until into the late-night hours around 2 a.m., when perhaps one will imagine the spirit of Frank Sinatra singing “One for My Baby.”
Capaldo said while it may seem like a strange time to open a new restaurant, they plan to follow all the county and CDC safety guidelines to protect staff and patrons from COVID-19. While they are licensed for 150 seats, he said they will be operating under the county’s current 50% indoor seating capacity limitations. They also plan to apply for a permit that will allow Dieci to feature outdoor dining in front of the ristorante.
Capaldo, who moved to Florida from Bensenhurst, Brooklyn, where he still owns a house, said he didn’t expect to be operating another restaurant. However, when the location became available, he and owner Mike Varricchio jumped at the opportunity.
“I love people and I love meeting and feeding people and making them happy,” he said.
“It’s a perfect location behind Chick-Fil-A, right off U.S. 19 that has a lot of traffic, with plenty of parking in the shopping center,” he added.
The location of Dieci’s may seem familiar to those who love Italian food, because it is the former site of Bobby Palermo’s Italian Restaurant. Palmero is well known as “Florida’s Neil Diamond.” Capaldo said Palermo may even perform there from time to time.