SARASOTA — When Tito Vitorino moved to Sarasota in 1991, he came with a dream of one day owning his own restaurant. Now, after managing Amore since its opening on Longboat Key about five years ago, Vitorino and his wife, Liana, are the new owners of the restaurant, which has relocated to 446 S. Pineapple Ave. in downtown Sarasota.
Both of the new owners are Portuguese and plan to incorporate authentic Portuguese dishes to the menu. Tito said that they would likely introduce their customers to Portuguese cuisine by adding dishes like cataplana to the daily specials. From there, they would like to gradually replace some of the Italian dishes with Portuguese options like salted cod, stone cooked steak and a Portuguese sausage that will be cooked in front of the customer.
“Who better to do Portuguese food than two people from Portugal?” Liana said.
They also plan on bringing Portuguese wines to the menu
Taking a friend’s advice, the Vitorinos created a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for features like an industrial brick oven, authentic stone and copper dishware and the expansion of a new oven. They would also like to hire a Portuguese chef.
The Kickstarter campaign has a tiered reward system for patrons who donate $250 or more. However, donors won’t be able to redeem their rewards until the final fundraising goal of $50,000 has been reached.
Tito’s goal is to give patrons a more authentic experience.
“You cannot fake things. You cannot say ‘Oh, let me cook real Italian gourmet food’ if you don’t have the flavors of a real Italian chef,” Tito said. “You can go on Google and read and watch videos, but the flavor and how to put things together has to come from your senses, from your feeling and your soul.”