Spoleto’s coming back to Orlando in Dollins Food Hall

Brazil's fast-food Italian comes back slowly after decimated by pandemic
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Spoleto’s, the popular Brazil-born, build-your-own-pasta restaurant that had to close down its Orlando locations during the pandemic, is getting ready to open back up again.

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In Orlando. In two weeks. As a ghost kitchen in Dollins Food Hall.

Dollins Food Hall is a restaurant co-operative located in a warehouse about 2 miles west of the central business district. Laura Henderson, master franchisee of Spoleto’s in Florida, said she will open, manage and cook in the Spoleto’s that will open in one of the 41 available kitchen spaces in the food hall.

The chain has 350 outlets in Brazil and had six in the U.S. pre-pandemic, Henderson said. She said she began with the chain as an assistant general manager in 2015 and worked her way into managing partner with the company.

She said the 41 kitchen areas in Dollins food hall, that range in size from about 200 to 500 sq. ft., come equipped with sinks and a range hood. Everything else, from major appliances to the food itself, must be brought in.

While these ghost kitchens, not unlike stationary food trucks, are relatively new in Florida, Henderson said, they are popular other places, especially in California. They give restaurants a chance to start out without all the time and money needed to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant. And, hopefully, they get enough business to open their own places.

According to Dollins Food Hall’s website, there are 23 other ghost restaurants — including two other Italian outlets, Marco’s Pizza and Virtual Pasta Lovers — operating there.

Spoleto’s will be offering most of the same items that had been on the menu of the restaurants that shut down, she said.

“Of course we are known for our build-your-own pasta and salads but we will also offer build-your-own pizzas,” she said. The customer-favorite risotto and gnocchi will also be on the menu.

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald has been digging for news stories ever since she took her gift of gab and insatiable curiosity to Ohio State and -- poof! -- turned them into a journalism degree. Now a freelance writer living in St. Petersburg, Florida, Patti thanks her vast newsroom experience for her writing skills and her two grown sons, three cats and a scruffy white dog for her sense of humor, compassion and tenacity.

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