Meet the new owner of Enzo’s on the Lake

John Khalil, new operator of Enzo’s on the Lake, future to the Longwood restaurant’s popular antipasto bar.

When Jo Anne Perlini, who with her then-spouse Enzo opened Enzo’s on the Lake in 1980, announced in October that she had sold the Longwood cafe, a lot of of the longtime shoppers had been anxious that it would modify.

John Khalil, the Orlando dentist who purchased it, wishes to guarantee you that he intends to maintain Enzo’s Enzo’s. “This area is kind of an institution,” reported Khalil. “I really like the environment, the feel and obviously the food stuff.” And in the two months that he’s owned it he’s stayed the proven program. Most of the workers, like the servers, cooks and the chef, Brandon Parran, have stayed on. Only a single longtime server made a decision to go away, “But he manufactured that determination before he satisfied us,” reported Khalil.

Of study course Jo Anne Perlini, much too, is no for a longer period linked with the cafe. But you can also thank her that Enzo’s will keep the same. According to Khalil, who acquired the restaurant with his business spouse Logan Berkowitz for $3.2 million, there was another bidder for the small business – presenting more, he believes – but that particular person did not want to hold it Enzo’s. Perlini chose Khalil and Berkowitz’s provide simply because they certain her they needed to retain issues the way they ended up. “We had to preserve Enzo’s,” Khalil explained.

Southeast Steel

Khalil, 51, has been with College Dental Team for 25 yrs. A indigenous of Toronto, he moved to the U.S. to go to dental school at Northwestern University in 1993. For recreation, he performs hockey in a couple of local leagues. That almost certainly does not audio unconventional for another person who grew up in Canada, but Khalil claims he never played until finally he moved to Florida. Questioned if he plays hockey to drum up business for his dental follow, he joked that, “Unfortunately a large amount of people today use total facemasks” when they play.

Khalil explained that he’s never owned a high conclusion cafe but has normally been intrigued in culinary. His very first work, at age 13, was as a dishwasher in a cafe – “An Italian restaurant, ironically” – and he toyed with the thought of becoming a chef. “But my mom and dad mentioned, ‘No, you are accomplishing pharmacy, dentistry or healthcare.’”

He claimed he’d like to get to the point where he can help out in the kitchen, as he noticed Perlini accomplishing on celebration, but only if Parran, the chef, has time to demonstrate him the ropes.

He and Berkowitz have owned bars, together with Knight’s Library in the vicinity of UCF and Treehouse Attic and Basement in downtown Orlando. And they continue to have 509 Lounge in Daytona Beach, exactly where they’ve also just procured a further cafe on the Intracoastal Waterway to be called Riverside Johnny’s, as documented listed here.

But a comprehensive services cafe, particularly just one with Enzo’s pedigree, is new. “It’s terrifying to be a restaurateur,” he mentioned. Perlini set him somewhat at relieve when she advised him that the workers desired to continue to be on.

“The transition’s been clean,” he said. “I’m not an in-your-encounter owner. The employees is excellent so I never have to be.”

Whilst he does not intend to improve everything about the menu or the every little thing-produced-from-scratch preparation, there could be some additions down the road. He wants to make much better use of the lakefront, adding landscaping and maybe a deck off of the overflow dining space, which alone is an addition to the primary home, probably with a two-sided bar. But the key eating rooms will keep on being the very same.

“I’m not likely to attempt to reinvent the wheel.”