Where: 5560 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton
1. History revisited: It’s been nearly 20 years since restaurateurs Burt Rapoport and Dennis Max sold Prezzo, their beloved Italian outposts in Boca, Aventura and South Miami. At the time, the duo had some 14 restaurants in their stable, so the offer for all three Prezzos was a no-brainer. But for Boca residents, the memories of menu favorites—like the thin-crust pies cooked in a wood-burning pizza oven—lingered.
2. Opportunity knocks: When Rapoport closed his deli experiment last year at the new Park Place center, the growing drum beat for a Prezzo revival proved irresistible. Adding to the buzz, Rapoport and Max brought in Mark Militello, the James Beard Award winner and one of the original “Mango Gang” chefs who helped to define and popularize South Florida cuisine.
3. Look who’s back: Not only are some of the recipes the same from 20 years ago (like the pizza dough), Prezzo also hired some of its original employees to work in the kitchen, on the floor and behind the bar. The friendly and familiar vibe, coupled with the world-class cuisine, quickly has established Prezzo as a must-dine destination since its opening in December.
4. The menu: Dishes celebrate the Prezzo past (diners are greeted with focaccia bread sticks and roasted garlic) while showcasing Militello’s flavor-first mantra in shared plates (grilled prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella), pasta (frutti de mare, with shrimp, calamari, mussels, clams and basil fettucine) and entrees like the roasted North Atlantic salmon with a balsamic and mustard glaze, and zucchini noodles.
5. The last word: “I understand that there are restaurants that people remember fondly,” Rapoport says. “But I can’t believe how many people just loved Prezzo. The reaction has blown me away.”