The Village of Palmetto Bay, which is not known for having a lot of fine local restaurants, gained a new addition with the soft opening of Trattoria Blu on Mar. 28. The restaurant specializes in artisan wood fired pizza and Italian Fusion cuisine.
The upscale and artfully designed restaurant is located in a new office building on the east side of the “island” dividing S. Dixie Highway. It accommodates at least 50 diners inside and dozens more in the outdoor café style patio. Fresh herbs used in the cooking grow in the garden areas lining the patio.
Trattoria Blu owner Antonio Chopitea has been in the restaurant business for the past 32 years, both in the United States, Europe and South America, and after taking a few years off he decided he wanted to open a top quality restaurant again. He said that the inspiration for the name was his beloved dog, Azul, who has one eye that is blue. Blu is the Italian word for that color.
Chopitea, whose son Lucas also works at the restaurant, chose Palmetto Bay because he likes the area and because there was a greater need for a quality restaurant there than in highly urban areas like Downtown Miami or Coral Gables. He also finds the area better for businesses.
“The rent and parking in the Brickell area are just impossible,” Chopitea.said “And here we’ve made a lot of friends already, at the neighboring car dealerships and professional offices.”
Italian Fusion means that his menu includes not only Italian items like pizza, pasta and salads but also foods from Portugal, France, Spain, Peru, Colombia and Brazil. He makes traditional pizza, pizza from zucchini flour and a special “black pizza” using organic charcoal to add to the dough.
Chopitea is determined to maintain top quality in everything, from his beer and wine list to fresh grown herbs and local produce.
He gets his honey from Homestead, which he said produces the best in the country.
“I don’t want to settle for A-minus or B-plus, everything must be triple A.”
He also likes the area because of his family, and to help local students.
“I have two kids — one is going to Christopher Columbus High School and the other one goes to the University of Miami,” Chopitea said. “There are a lot of young people in the area that I’m hiring. It’s their first job and since they don’t have far to travel they can attend their classes and work here.”
He plans to be active in the community in various ways, including donating pizza to the high school so the students can sell it to raise money for uniforms.
Happy hour is between 4 and 7 p.m. for the next month, with draft beer and wines at affordable prices.
Trattoria Blu is located at 17225 S. Dixie Hwy. For information call 305-964-7114 or visit the website at www.trattoria-blu.com.