The chef behind one of Taylor Swift's favorite Italian restaurants in New York is bringing his talents to South Florida with the debut of his eponymous Vitolo, a new Italian establishment that quietly opened at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel this week.
Anthony Vitolo's Soho restaurant, Emilio's Ballato, has a reputation as a celebrity hot spot, and made headlines in October after hosting Taylor Swift alongside actresses Blake Lively, Sophie Turner, and Brittany Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' wife. The restaurant's hard-to-access backroom has also gained notoriety for hosting the likes of Rihanna, Lenny Kravitz, and Bon Jovi.
For his self-named South Florida restaurant, Vitolo has joined forces with Miami's E11even director of VIP services, Rob Crosoli, to offer an elevated, approachable dining experience.
"My family has been in the culinary industry since before I was born, and it is through them that I have gained a profound appreciation for authentic Italian cuisine and hospitality," Vitolo tells New Times. "Bringing these cherished traditions to Fort Lauderdale Beach with the launch of Vitolo, my goal was to curate a menu that features timeless favorites that harmonize nostalgia and innovation in a single dining experience."
Because of the restaurant’s proximity to the ocean, the chef plans to add several seafood dishes, such as homemade seafood ravioli filled with lobster and shrimp, he tells New Times.
With three distinctive dining areas — the cucina for a chef's table-style experience, sala arco for an art deco-inspired supper club lounge, and the outdoor terrazza for al-fresco dining with ocean views — the restaurant presents a versatile and inviting atmosphere.
While Vitolo remains committed to his role at Emilio's Ballato in Soho, he plans to split his time between the two locations, ensuring both kitchens are up to brand standards.
"Our goal is to bring the same friendly service that we offer in New York, where our servers remember customers' names, birthdays, favorite dishes and drinks, and welcome you like family,” says Vitolo. "This is a great fit for the Fort Lauderdale Beach community, where we are hoping to establish a local clientele."
Vitolo. 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; vitoloitalian.com.