Dennis Max's Assaggio del Forno to Open February 20
Assaggio del Forno, an eatery positioned to "take diners on a
food journey" around Italy, is scheduled to open February 20 in Regency Court in west Boca Raton. Patrick Broadhead, formerly at Max's Grille, has been named executive chef.
Translated as "taste of the oven," the west Boca restaurant will showcase Neapolitan pizzas with
artisan ingredients as well as "our interpretation" of dishes from various regions of Italy.
Max asserts Assaggio as "more of
a gathering place" than his recently opened Frank and Dino's, with an open kitchen and an
old-school, train-station flapper board above the
cook's line to display specials. The restaurant will seat 170 inside as
well as include extensive patio seating.
In a phone call today, Max cited one of his first restaurants, the former Max's Place in Miami, which he had opened in the mid-'80s, as representative of his passion for Italian cuisine.
"Back then, we had a wood-burning oven, and the city didn't know what to
do with it," he said, citing the difficulty in securing permits as well
as customers' reactions to the concept. Max's place spawned Prezzo in
Boca Raton, a similar concept that centered on artisan pizzas that
he sold in the late 1990s. "This is the evolution of a generation," he
says regarding the debut of the new restaurant.
New York, Philly, Chicago, and Italy to cull ideas for the restaurant. As the case is with
Frank & Dino's and Max's Harvest, this kitchen will adhere to local
and sustainable produce and meats
where it's economically feasible, especially during the winter South
Florida growing season. (San Marzano tomatoes, olive oils, meats, and
cheeses: obviously not local.) Right now, Max's Harvest is the only
the group that's 100 percent local and sustainable, confirms Max.
peak, Dennis Max had holdings in 17 South Florida restaurants, including
Cafe Maxx, which opened in 1984. He calls the present a "rebuilding
phase" during which his group is identifying real estate, raising
capital, opening, and managing restaurants. His next restaurant, Burt
& Max's, which he'll run with Burt Rapoport, is slated to debut in the former
Boca Burger space this fall.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to South Florida dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.