June 15, 2024


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Matzaluna, East End Deli, Il Tesoro closed, reshaped

After 27 years in business, Matzaluna is saying arrivederci to Sanibel. 

The Italian restaurant and bar at 1200 Periwinkle Way will close Nov. 14 to make way for a new Italian restaurant and bar, Tutti Pazzi. 

“The last day is on a Sunday. We’ll probably have a little party, a little something there to say goodbye,” said Matt Asen, a partner in the Prawnbroker Restaurant Group which opened Matzaluna in 1994. “I’m going to be 69, and I’m the youngest of the four partners. None of us are getting any younger.”

A 1997 ABA reunion at the Hoosier Dome,  Matt Asen ( left, from Sanibel Island, FL) had a sign for everything tonight, including a simple thank you.  Former ABA player Marvin Barnes (right) was one of the celebrities present tonight.

Asen said he and his colleagues have been looking for ways to slow down. While they’ve sold the Matzaluna restaurant, they still own the building. The group also owns Timbers and Sanibel Grill on Sanibel, University Grill and The Prawnbroker in south Fort Myers, and four restaurants on the East Coast. 

The decision to close Matzaluna, according to Asen, was driven by the experience and enthusiasm the new owners are putting into Tutti Pazzi. The new concept, scheduled to open in January, is led by Leanna and Pasquale Russo in partnership with Debra and Jeramie Campana. The Campanas own Paper Fig Kitchen and recently opened The Fig East; they’re also partners in 400 Rabbits — all on Sanibel.

FROM JLB:Sanibel restaurants: 400 Rabbits is something special

AND:In Cape Coral, Gather and Fathoms chefs to open new restaurant Next Door