EAST MANATEE -- For seven years, pizza and Italian food lovers in Manatee have visited Sopranos of New York for its authentic taste.
In April, however, the original owners sold the pizzeria and restaurant, located inside a small shopping center at 8744 State Road 70, to a Venezuelan doctor and his family.
Ivan Ramirez-Maggiorani, who purchased the restaurant, is retiring from the medical field after 40 years and wanted to invest in the Bradenton area, where he will soon reside. His two daughters, Mary Chtay and Daniela Ramirez-Moret, and their husbands, Salim Chtay and Javier Moret, operate the front of the house, while a cousin cooks and one of Chtay's daughters chips in as a server.
The family decided to keep the name and menu.
"We didn't want to change the taste," said Daniela Ramirez-Moret, co-owner and manager of Sopranos. "People from New York and New Jersey, they told me it's tough to find New York style pizza down here. It's the closest they could find in the city. They're in love with the pizza."
The Ramirez-Maggiorani family has strong ties, and an appreciation, for Italian cuisine. The Venezuelan family lived in New Jersey and Philadelphia after leaving their native Venezuela, where they enjoyed New York-style pizza, and Maggiorani is half Italian.
"Venezuelan food has a lot of pasta in its foods," Ramirez-Moret said. "We have a
lot of Italian influence in our country."
To allow the new owners to transition into management, the original owners of Sopranos kept the business open until they were able to take over. Ramirez-Moret and her husband both worked in the hotel and catering business in South America.
Aside from pizza, the restaurant serves chicken wings, calzone, stromboli, burgers and also carries domestic and imported beer and wine.
Sopranos is also available for catering and delivery.
"It's all home made and we use fresh veggies," Ramirez-Moret said.
For more information about Sopranos of New York, visit www.sopranosofnewyork.com
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams