Matchbook Memories: Positano

You are almost certainly acquainted with Caffe Positano, specially if you stay in the Apopka spot wherever the restaurant has been in organization given that 1997 and will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this yr.

And of course you will recall that Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria in Higher education Park was originally termed Caffe Positano. There was also a person in Lake Mary for a time.

But you may not keep in mind that there was a Positano on West Colonial Travel that in a way begat the others.

It was in a strip shopping mall at the corner of Excellent Houses Highway and when it opened, in 1991, it was about the only place in that region the place you could locate anything that could qualify as fantastic eating. (The matchbook cover says the tackle is in Orlando but Google Maps implies it is in Ocoee.)

Positano was basically two restaurants: one side was a deli and pizzeria and the other aspect was a total-provider eating home that, as I explained in my assessment of Aug. 25, 1991, “[…] not extravagant but cozy, with teal-colored banquettes, blue carpeting and a mural of the Italian village of Positano.”

The foodstuff was genuine and delectable and bundled this kind of items as paglia e fieno, dole Florentina, and hen Alba. The chef was Edgar Ergueta, who experienced moved to the new cafe from Primavera in Altamonte Springs.

Ergueta was also a partner in the cafe with a group that incorporated Michele Mandara and brothers Roberto and Pasquale Barba. They had been bought out in 1996 by Michael Madara and the following year the Barbas opened their cafe in Apopka, contacting it Caffe Positano to distinguish it from Positano. (For a although it was called Caffe Positanos, and certainly the restaurant’s web-site handle even now has the plural.) The opening of the new cafe was accomplished not only with the blessing of Michael Mandala but also with his participation – he was an investor.

Even with the title adjust there was confusion. About 2000, I had a weekly column in the Orlando Sentinel that focused only on takeout foodstuff – prescient, no? – and when I known as Caffe Positano to position an buy, the lady who took the connect with preferred to make sure I had meant to call Caffe Positano and not Positano.

Mandara at some point offered the Ocoee/Orlando cafe and it remained Italian for a whilst. It is now the web-site of a Mexican restaurant.

But the Barbas continue to individual Caffe Positano(s) and Pasquale, now 59, is nonetheless the chef. It was Roberto Barba who 20 several years ago shared his recipe for limoncello with me. (I’ll return the favor and share it with you someday.)

I will have to say I was shocked when I termed Caffe Positano and identified Pasquale however there – he was 24 when he and his brother broke off to start the cafe. It was enjoyable to reminisce with him about the old times. But even far more, it designed me hungry to delight in his food stuff once more.

Look at for an updated evaluate of Caffe Positano.