Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TerraMia Brick Oven: "Where Everybody Knows Your Name"

Located at 7025 CR 46A in Heathrow, TerraMia Brick Oven (called TerraMia II or TerraMia Junior or TerraPizza by regulars) dishes out high-quality, high-value, family-style Italian fare six days a week to a loyal customer base that is drawn primarily from surrounding neighborhoods.  The second of two restaurants owned by the locally well-known restauranteurs Rosario Spagnolo and Massimo Nobile (the other is called TerraMia Wine Bar and Trattoria), TerraMia opened at its current location in June, 2009 and has been a neighborhood favorite ever since.

The restaurant opened in the midst of the recession, when other restaurants in the neighborhood were closing their doors one after the other.  The success that it has achieved in this environment is a testament to the standing of the owners in the community, the shrewdness with which they approached restaurant sizing, a formidable chef (who is also the general manager), phenomenal food, good value for money, and a great staff, who have, for the most part, been there from the beginning and know your name.

The restaurant fare is phenomenal and consistent.  It ranges from crisp, on-premise-baked bread; to a pizza that is thin, crispy-crusted, and second to none; to a wide array of Antipasti and Pasta (Rigatoni Con Salsiccia and Peppers, Spaghetti Allo Carbonara, Spaghetti Alle Vongole are not to be bypassed);  to second plates inclusive of Veal Parmigiana, Salmon Piccata, and Pollo Della Russo.  In addition to the on-menu items, Chef normally prepares between one to three specials every evening in order to keep the locals engaged.

The owners, Chef, and James (one of the lead wait staff) are very knowledgeable about wines (especially wines of Italian origin) and, as a result, the restaurant provides wines that are well suited to its dishes.  The list includes both by-the-glass ($5.50 to $9.00) and bottle options including such notable names as Tignanello and Zenato Amarone.

When asked about the success of the restaurant, Chef  Francesco attributes it to consistency.  With the same staff, you get the same high-quality food and the same high-quality service.  And the chef is a classic example of following that mantra.  The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and, regardless of the time that you show up, he will be the one preparing your food (He did take a two-week vacation last year, much to the consternation of regulars.).

About 20% of the restaurant's patrons are from Orlando and Deltona.  Out-of-Towners tend to visit on the weekends.  The restaurant has capacity for 52 people if outside seating is taken into consideration.  Come early or be prepared to wait for a seat.  If I want a long. leisurely meal, I visit the restaurant after 1:30 pm so that I can get in after the midday crush and before the early-birders.  On the occasions when the Antonio's Wine Tasting Group decides to take a break from Antonio's, we generally lunch here.

You must visit this place at least once.  It is a destination spot.  The food is absolutely great.  Tessa, Victoria, Jory, James and Tara will take excellent care of you.  If you see a guy walking around looking like he has nothing to do, it is either Rosario or Massimo.  Go up and introduce yourself.


  1. Francesco is no longer the Chef at this establishment but the quality of the food has not suffered as a result of his departure

  2. what is his last name?