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Fine Italian Dining: Anthony’s Trattoria gets the local’s attention

May 2, 2012
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Opening late last year, Anthony's Trattoria, about a half-mile south of Bonita Beach Road (28340 Trails Edge Blvd.), has certainly been picking up the pace with foot traffic, as more and more locals hear of this newly-established Italian eatery and steakhouse.

Restaurateurs Jerry and Connie Paul, along with partner Michael Filzenger, purchased the business Nov. 17, 2011, completely renovated the entire establishment, inside and out, and haven't looked back since.

"We went in there and tore everything out of the kitchen, renovated the entire place, gave the bar a complete rejuvenation, redid the bathrooms, the plumbing, the wiring, fresh paint all new furniture, tablecloths, platewear, glasses everything all brand new," Jerry said. "Along with an all-new restaurant, we are offering an all-new-across-the-board menu."

Article Photos

Anthony’s Trattoria has been open at its 28340 Trails Edge location for a good five months now, and as more and more locals hear of its all-fresh, all-homemade Italian goodness, complete with in-house aged beef on premises, the “reservations” list gets longer and longer. Above, co-owners Jerry and Connie Paul and Michael Filzenger, also head chef, stand by the restaurant’s full bar. Photo by VICKIE JONES.

The very stylish, lively and upbeat Italian-themed restaurant boasts lovely glass partitions, Roman columns, fresh flowers and candles, beautiful silks, and a very open, very airy ambience, with light-yet-romantic Italian music playing in the background.

The all-new Anthony's Trattoria specializes in fine Italian cuisine and prime-aged steaks, all made by hand, from scratch, right there on premises: fresh, fresh, fresh.

"Michael's grandmother is from Italy, so she is supplying the fresh menu of old-world cuisine," Jerry said. "Everything is made right here, from scratch right down to our salad dressings. We offer fresh-made ravioli, fettucini and other pastas; we make our own bread; we make our own pizza dough, we fillet our own fish, butcher our own meats and age our own prime steaks for 14 to 28 days. This creates a texture and taste that is unmistakable, giving our steaks the perfect marbling, the perfect sear, and the perfect taste."

That's right. Aside from offering made-from-scratch old-world Italian meals, Anthony's Trattoria ages its own beef, creating a more flavorful, tender and juicy steak.

"Aging steaks basically turns a piece of prime meat into a piece of candy in the flavor, the texture, the cutability. Our Chateau Brion, you can eat it with a spoon, it's so tender. Our veal rib chops, lamb rib chops, surf and turf, center-cut fillets, it's all hand-cut, hand-selected," Jerry said. "We were told by the owner of the Omaha Steak Company, who dined at our restaurant last week, that we have the best aged steaks he's ever had. That has to tell you something."

House specials include grouper piccata, chicken rollatini, lasagna, pasta and meatballs, fresh mussels, veal marsala, veal piccata, veal osso bucco "absolutely fantastic," Jerry said.

Another Italian specialty on Anthony's Trattoria: pizza.

"We have some of the best pizzas in Florida. Our pizzas are spectacular. We use only the freshest ingredients," Jerry said.

Be sure to try the "Prix Fix Special," featuring a three-course dinner with your choice of soup or salad, choice of more than 20 entres, cannoli for dessert and hot coffee or iced tea, all for just $10.95.

Your choices for the $10.95 Pre Fix Special include fettucini alfredo, chicken marsala, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, eggplant parmesan and penne, chicken parmesan and penne, eggplant rollatini, Italian steaktips and gnocchi (chateau fillet tips), among many others. Wow, that is quite a selection!

As for the $13.95 Pre Fix Special, sink your teeth into tender petite filet with applewood bacon and mashed potatoes; mussels marinara and linguini with garlic white wine and pomodoro; seared crab cake and risotto; grilled salmon fillet and risotto; or crab-stuffed sole. There's another tasty mouth full!

And be sure to save room for dessert, as Anthony's Trattoria offers as large an array of sweets as it does fresh entrees. Try some homemade cannoli, tiramisu, crme brule, a variety of chocolate cakes, cheesecakes and other special baked goods on occasion. Sip on some very strong, very fresh espresso, cappuccino, iced coffees, lattes, mineral and sparkling waters or a drink or two from the full bar, offering more than 50 types of wines, domestic and imported beers, and a happy hour from 5 to 6:30 p.m. every day, which features two-for-one on all house wines, domestic beer and well drinks.

Well-known local food critic "Jean LeBeouf" recently stopped into Anthony's Trattoria not once but twice to sample the cuisine, and Jerry said he gave the restaurant rave reviews.

Hours to Anthony's Trattoria are 5 p.m. to close seven days a week. Reservations are highly suggested. Space is available for private parties and functions, and Jerry said the restaurant hosts several local groups already, such as the Italian-American Club, many church groups and other private events.

Live music plays at the establishment on occasion, including trios from New York, along with singers and guitarists, and take-out is available.

"We have several Fort Myers Beach residents who come to our restaurant, and we are happy to say we have a very good beach following," Jerry said. "Come on down and see what prime aged beef and fresh Italian food is all about!"

For more information on the newest Italian steakhouse in the area, visit To make your reservation or to place your take-out order, call 947-2202.

Grand Opening celebration

Anthony's Trattoria will be hosting a grand opening celebration Wednesday, May 16, beginning at 5 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 sharp featuring Sheriff Mike Scott. Diana Fox and the Tradewind Band will perform that day, from 5 to 9 p.m., and guests can peruse the outdoor Cruise-In car show, open to anyone who would like to show off their mechanical ride.

"We will also have free appetizers, a wine tasting, pizza judging and beer specials on tap really pulling out all the stops for this celebration," Jerry said. "There is no charge to attend, and anyone wanting to show off their cars are welcome to join the show."



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