Name: Carmen Rizzo
Restaurant: , 515 27th St E.
Contact Info: 941-745-1540, Carmen’s Café Official Facebook Page
Hours: Mon, closed; Tue - Fri, 11am - 10pm; Sat, 5pm - 10pm; Sun, 11am - 10pm
Specialty: Authentic Italian food – especially seafood and veal.
How long have you been cooking? I’ve been cooking for 40 years. In Pallermo, Sicily, where I come from, my great grandfather owned a slaughterhouse. My family also owned bakeries, and a number of my relatives were pastry chefs. Cooking has always been part of my life.
Do you cook at home? Yes, every day.
What is your favorite comfort food? All food is comfort food to me! Really, what’s better than food? Love and food are the two greatest things in the world, and I’ve got a love for food.
Other than your restaurant, where else do you like to eat? Actually, a lot of my guests from the restaurant invite me into their homes because they want to cook for me, so I do that pretty often. Otherwise, I like to go out for sushi. is one of my favorites. I like DaRuMa in Sarasota, as well. I try to support all of the local restaurants around here that aren’t corporate chains.
A message from Chef Carmen: I really just want to say thank you to everyone for the support I’ve been given over the years. It makes me feel good to bring pleasure to people with the food I make, and I really appreciate what the community has given to me in return. I moved to Bradenton 27 years ago and I have customers who have been supporting me for those entire 27 years. Some used to come in with their parents, and now they’re bringing their own children in. I just cannot stress enough how thankful I am for all of the support I’ve received.
Other information: We have lots of different weekly specials – mostly seafood – that aren’t actually on the menu: Fresh pasta with crab and lobster meat, Portobello Parmesan for the vegetarians, lamb – all kinds of things. Everyone should also know about the 515 Martini Bar that’s part of the restaurant now. We have a full liquor bar and there’s live entertainment starting at 6:30pm Friday through Sunday, with karaoke on Friday nights at 10pm. Every two months we do a special wine pairing with a four course meal.
Carmen’s will be closed from September 4 – 20 because we’ll be visiting Italy and touring vineyards.