Esta página no está disponible en español.
THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
Siblings Run Market, Cafe With Eye For Excellence
Puerto Rico natives Jean and Tony Tirri serve up Mediterranean flair and a choice of 150 wines.
By Sherry Boas | Special to the Sentinel
December 16, 2004
CLERMONT -- As children growing up in Puerto Rico, Jean and Tony Tirri had their share of brother-sister conflicts.
"He wrecked two of my cars when he was a teenager," said Jean Tirri, who is six years older than her brother.
"I only wrecked one," Tony quickly replied. "I wasn't driving when the other one happened."
Although they might recall different versions of their childhood stories, when it comes to business, the siblings are in total agreement.
Together they own and operate Salvatore's Gourmet Market & Cafe at East Avenue and State Road 50 in Clermont.
"We modeled the restaurant after Epicure Market in Miami and Dean & DeLuca in New York City," said Jean Tirri, 42. "It took two years to find the right location, one year to get the zoning changed, and another two years before we completed renovations and were ready to open."
Salvatore's Gourmet Market & Cafe, named after their uncle, is in a former Lutheran church. The high ceiling, colored glass-block windows and expansive floor space lend a dramatic flair to the 76-seat Mediterranean-style eatery where customers can have breakfast, lunch or dinner inside or outside on the front patio.
The brother-sister team splits the day-to-day duties.
Jean Tirri is a 12-year Clermont resident who travels frequently back to Puerto Rico, where she runs a company that leases hangar space to commercial and cargo airlines.
Her brother, 36, who has been a commercial airline pilot for eight years, lives year-round with his wife and children in Clermont.
Together they oversee operations at their busy market and cafe, which employs a staff of 24, including executive chef Darwin Cevallos, formerly of Chops City Grill in Bonita Springs, and wine steward Michele Adee.
"I'm very excited to be working here," Adee said. "There are not many places in this area where someone like myself with a degree in winemaking can work in my field."
Salvatore's offers diners a choice of 150 wines.
"We provide wine with corkage," Adee said. "Customers can take home a bottle of wine or have it served at their table for an $8 corkage fee."
Salvatore's first wine tasting, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was attended by nearly 100 people. The next tasting is set for Jan. 27.
While customers may enjoy the fine wines and personalized service, it's the dining fare that has turned the new restaurant into an overnight success.
"The food is outstanding," said customer and Minneola Town Council member Joe Teri. "A lot of times, places will have one thing that is good, but here everything is excellent -- their cappuccino, burgers, salads -- everything."
Teri is one of many local residents who have frequented the eatery since it opened in early October.
"We've had regulars who have been here 20 or 30 times since we opened Oct. 6," Tony Tirri said. "We're constantly getting positive feedback.
People tell us how happy they are to finally have a place like ours in town."
Salvatore's Gourmet Market & Cafe, 151 W. State Road 50, is open
Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday brunch is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 352-536-1565.