The Restaurant Association of Maryland has announced that Ristorante Firenze has been nominated as FAVORITE NEW RESTAURANT in Maryland. The winner will be announced on May 1st at the RAM Stars of the Industry Awards Gala and you can do your part by clicking on the link below to vote for us! Voting ends March 30th.
To qualify for Favorite New Restaurant, an establishment must be open less than 2 years in Maryland.
Largely reader-nominated, and always restaurant-proven, FSR reveals its rising stars, 40 professionals under the age of 40, who are helping to define new expectations for dining experiences across all spectra of restaurant environments.
Zachary Leonardi put in hours of grunt work in commercial kitchens for more than five years before becoming chef de cuisine at his family operation Ristorante Firenze—a newcomer on the Baltimore dining scene. Leonardi will soon be completing a culinary degree program from Anne Arundel Community College, all while juggling daily responsibilities at Ristorante Firenze, which is open seven days a week. Leonardi comes from a family of restaurateurs, with his great uncle, great grandfather, grandfather, and father all playing a role in various Italian restaurant concepts and pasta shops. Leonardi considers his family’s years of built-in experience as a unique source of knowledge and skill he is able to draw upon. He hopes that by creating a guest experience based in quality and consistency, the year-old Ristorante Firenze will continue to thrive. “A restaurant is nothing without happy customers,” Leonardi says. “I love cooking, and nothing brings me more satisfaction than knowing someone enjoyed all the care, effort, time, and planning I put into each dish I make.” As for the future of his career? “As long as the customers are happy, I’m happy.”
We are proud to announce our partner, Tony Petronelli won this years Baltimore County Department of Planning's 2015 Commercial Revitalization Award for Best New Construction for the renovation of 2 Hanover Rd. Reisterstown MD 21136. Better known to us as the beautiful new home of Ristorante Firenze! Thirty-nine locally owned businesses were recognized for their contributions to the well-being of Baltimore County’s traditional commercial districts. What a tremendous honor. We wouldn't be here today without his vision, creativity and support. We also picked up an award for Best Marketing Campaign- another effort we are very proud of.
"Does the owner of your favorite restaurant know you by name? The time it takes for Ristorante Firenze General Manager Larry Leonardi to learn his guests’ names, he says, is well worth it." Read more from our spotlight feature in Dine Out Maryland.
Zach Leonardi and dad Larry were busy "Channel Surfing" – literally this past weekend. Ristorante Firenze was invited to the WBAL TV station to present for the "Sunday Brunch" segment. You can learn how to make Rigatoni Al La Mama by visiting this link.WATCH ZACH HERE>
They quickly made their way up to WBFF Fox 45 to feed Tony Pagnotti and Staff creating a few fresh, authentic, Italian house specialties for all to share.
Zach is now considering his own TV reality cooking show- watch out!
What a nice welcome to the neighborhood! Thank you Jane Hienz and the Chartley Chatter for taking the time to visit us at Ristorante Firenze recently. We haven't even opened and we can see the excitement building from our local Reisterstown neighbors. Local signage, newsletter articles and many reservations for our first public fundraiser on February 11th. Thank you again for such neighborly support! If you don't live in the Chartley here is a copy of the article below. Click on this link to read the entire newsletter!
We are looking forward inviting Jane back. Just a few more weeks until we are open for business!
"Reisterstown will soon be welcoming a new and exciting
restaurant by the name of Ristorante Firenze
on or about February 12. The location is where
Toninos was. The opening has been delayed because
of problems associated with renovating an old building
and bringing everything up to code. As I write
this, the place is a work-in-progress, but I know everyone
will be standing in line when the doors finally
I had a chance to sit down with the two owners,
Larry and Brian Leonardi (Larry will also take the
role of manager) and the head chef, Zach Leonardi.
They come into our town with good credentials as
they operated Frank Velleggia's Casa di Pasta in
Belvedere Square for ten years and are, in fact, related
to the Velleggias of Little Italy. Besides hands-on
experience, Zach has studied the culinary arts at the
Carroll County Career and Technology Center and
at the Anne Arundel County Community College.
They are all excited about the new venture and are
anxious to show off their efforts on opening day. I
have to say that their efforts go well beyond what a
normal restaurant would do. Their goal is to open a
very classy place.
They will offer a full liquor menu with drinks made
with fresh juices and freshly made syrups when needed.
They will offer signature cocktails, like the
Reisterstownier, or the Glyndon Manhattan; craft
beers, one from Italy and the others from our own
Baltimore breweries; a good list of bottled beers and a
huge – and I mean huge – selection of wines from California
and Italy. There will even be a walk-in, temperature-
controlled wine cooler dividing the lounge
from the dining area.
The main entrance will be from the rear, where you
will first find an expanded, newly paved and lighted
parking lot. You will enter through custom-made,
beveled-wood doors and step onto imported Italian
tile flooring. Hard to miss will be the gorgeous
Murano glass chandelier hanging in the dining room.
This wonderful piece was custom made for the
Leonardis. It will fit in beautifully with the high-class
decor in their place and will be one of the things that
people will remember. Murals and a huge mirror will
further decorate the walls, and along with wall color
choices, will provide a relaxed, elegant atmosphere.
The dining area will have tables for seating close to 60
The lounge will comfortably seat 30 including the
bar with seating for 13. The bar will be tiled in their
signature red and will feature docking ports for
phones and computers, hooks for coats and purses located
underneath. There is a fireplace with a surround
of earth-toned shades of stone, a large TV above it,
leather tub chairs and love seats so patrons can watch
their favorite sport, along with four high-topped tables
for people who wish food served.
All the food will be made daily on site by Zach
Leonardi, and his crew. Everything from the sauces,
pasta, breads to the desserts. The menu will offer the
classic Italian favorites, but, for instance, your clam
sauce will have fresh clams in the shell, not clams
from the freezer. Your mac and cheese will have
freshly made pasta, not pasta from the box. Your
steaks will be hand cut to order.
The Leonardis are making a serious effort to be part
of the cornmunity. They are using local vendors in
fixing up the site whenever possible and are banking
at Farmers & Merchants Bank. In time, they will
offer events where the fire hall, for instance, can earn
money from patrons dining on a particular day.
The Leonardis are bringing a real touch of class to
Reisterstown with their excellent food and drink, comfortable
surroundings and the decor in a soft palate of
colors. It will be a place where we will enjoy all aspects
of our dining experience. You can follow them
on Facebook: @eatfirenzemd, Twitter:
@eatfirenze and you can also Google them, Firenze
They plan to be open seven days a week with specials
served for lunch and dinner in addition to the
regular menu. Sunday through Wednesday they will
offer what they call Firenze Special Nights. The
Chartley community wishes Firenze the best of luck.
We will soon see you all there. Bon appetit."