1890's building now houses Sicilian style 'Pizza by the Foot'

jtate@bradenton.comDecember 21, 2013 

PALMETTO -- For five years, Paul Amato has wanted to buy the historic building in Palmetto that now houses his new pizza restaurant, Pizza by the Foot.

He was able to combine his passion for Pizza and history when he opened his restaurant at 336 8th Ave. W. two weeks ago.

"First of all I love this building," said Amato who now owns the building.

He put three months of time and money into renovating the building, constructed in 1890, that houses his restaurant. Amato renovated with the help of a $50,000 Store Front grant from the Palmetto Community Development Agency. The grant is used to improve businesses along the city's gateways and common corridors within the CRA district.

The kitchen, part of the interior and all of the building's exterior was renovated.

"It was a master carpenter who did the beautiful work in here," he said of the restaurant's detailed carved wood paneling and working fire place in the center of the dining room.

CRA director Jeff Burton said the building was originally home, but then was later rezoned for commercial use. It most recently was home to the A La Mode Ice Cream shop.

"I'm happy to have them here. I'm happy to have another great restaurant in town," Burton said.

Palmetto Mayor Groover Bryant said the pizza tastes good, and the economic impact to the immediate area is even better.

"It's always good to have a fresh business coming. It's an investment for the economy," Bryant said.

Amato cooks with passion and love and said that's how is should be done. He uses he and his mother's family recipes.

"Everything we do is fresh, we don't use anything frozen," he said. "The key is, it's fresh food everyday."

The business owner, has closed his other Pizza by the Foot restaurant in Bradenton during the holidays, and has said he would like to focus more on his Palmetto restaurant.

"I like this more," he said. "It's more community, everybody knows each other here, and it's so much traffic on this street it's unbelievable." Amato was thrilled to open his doors after the three months of renovations. His family including his wife Frankie Amato, and Carina, Chris

topher, Cassie, Laura and Thomas -- five of their seven children -- work in the restaurant.

Married couple Jim and Kris Anderson, who own Palmetto business Anderson & Associates Insurance, visited the restaurant out of curiosity. "We were hoping it was good because it would be another place to go to for lunch," Kris Anderson said. "The menu looks good."

"We've gone all the way to Ellenton for pizza. We said we'd try it and if it's good we'll keep coming here," Jim Anderson said.

After eating her minestrone wedding soup, Kris said she'd definitely be back.

"Everything was delicious," she said while grabbing a few take-out menus.

Amato is still looking to hire three more employees. Anyone interested should call 941-722-6974 or go by the restaurant at 336 8th Avenue West.

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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