With its prime locations diagonally across from the Burns Court Cinema and in the center of Burns Square, Galileo Ristorante and Retropolitan are well-situated for an evening dining crowd. New ownership took control of the restaurants at the end of June and started making small changes through the summer. I thought it was a good time to meet the new owners to find out what else is being planned. I recently spoke to Chad Weidner, one of the new owners, to learn more.
Jack Littman-Quinn: How did you decide on purchasing Galileo and Retropolitan?
Chad Weidner: My wife Elizabeth and I have lived in Sarasota for four years.We always liked the Burns Square area because of its history, galleries, shops, the cinema and the Chalk Festival. With my professional work experience in the hospitality industry and Elizabeth’s restaurant operating experience, we were comfortable entertaining the idea of owning a restaurant. When we learned Galileo and Retropolitan were for sale, we set up a couple of dinners and were joined by our partners Chris and Tracie Guiffre. Since we liked the food, saw potential and most definitely liked the location, we purchased the restaurants on June 27, 2012.
JLQ: You mentioned potential; care to share some of your thoughts?
CW: Well, we love the location and would like to make the space more inviting. So, we are adding some lighting, doing a little upgrade to some of the landscaping, and perhaps the biggest change will be the addition of our canopy.
JLQ: Tell me more about the canopy.
CW: The courtyard space between the two restaurants on Pineapple Avenue is a big plus, but is currently underutilized. We are going to add a substantial canopy over the courtyard which will provide shelter from the weather elements and make the outdoor dining much more comfortable and appealing. Once the canopy is in place, we will add an outdoor bar and begin to offer full bar service.
JLQ: Now that is a significant change and improvement. What else might we expect?
CW: Simultaneous to the canopy, we will be changing our name to better define the cuisine. We already have banners hung, but the names will be prominent on the canopy. Galileo will be renamed to Salvatore’s Italian Kitchen and Retropolitan will become Sal’s Southern Grill. Additionally, we will add Sal’s Bar where diners can have a drink and pick items from each menu.
JLQ: Will there be any changes to the menu?
CW: We plan on maintaining all the popular signature dishes on both menus. On the grill side we will be adding a few vegetarian and gluten-free items. We will also offer a sunset menu for those diners looking for smaller portions and value-oriented pricing. And when we open the full bar service we will launch a “happy hour” menu as well.
JLQ: So a great deal is happening; any last thoughts?
CW: We are very excited to be part of Burns Square because there is always something going on. For instance, in September we will be participating in the MovieVille International Film Festival to be held at the Burns Court Cinema.
We will be adding a frequent diner loyalty card and hosting live music in the near future.
JLQ: Thank you for sharing your plans and time with us.
CW: You are very welcome.
Salvatore’s Italian Kitchen
443 Burns Court
Sarasota, FL 34236
Sal’s Southern Grill
437 Burns Court
Sarasota, FL 34236