With two restaurants in Italy and others in Costa Rica and Barcelona, international restaurateur and chef Alessandro Usai has chosen Palmetto as his first U.S. location and is preparing to open People, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria.
The family-owned business will open its new location at 336 Eighth Ave. W., the former site of Paul’s Pizza by the Foot and most recently La Casetta Ristorante and Pizzeria.
The building is still owned by Paul Amato, who purchased it in 2013 for $285,600. Amato ran Paul’s Pizza by the Foot before closing and leasing to La Casetta in January of this year. The building is located in Palmetto’s Community Redevelop Agency and Amato still holds the CRA incentives, according to CRA Director Jeff Burton.
Burton said Amato has full control over leasing opportunities as the owner and was unaware why La Casetta closed down.
“One day it was there, and the next it wasn’t,” Burton said. “I haven’t met the new owners yet, but I look forward to seeing them become successful.”
I love this area. I see so much opportunity here.
Alessandro Usai, owner of the new People Italian restaurant
Usai said he is hopeful of holding a grand opening by the end of next week. Renovations to the building have been ongoing and the final interior work is almost complete.
Usai, who said his family recently arrived from Italy, is excited to be in Palmetto.
“I love this area,” he said. “I see so much opportunity here.”