Executive chef and restaurateur AJ Black got his first job in the restaurant industry at age 6. That's when he began washing dishes at the restaurant his family ran in their small seaside town in Sicily. Black also joined his grandparents as they fished for the eatery's catch of the day, reeling in tuna, anchovies, and other fresh seafood.
These experiences sparked a passion for cooking that eventually led Chef Black to the Italian Culinary Institute. He opened his first restaurant at the tender age of 19 before heading to Le Cordon Bleu to study classical French cooking under Paul Bocuse.
From Beaches to Borders
Fresh, seasonal ingredients inspire daily specials that let loose Chef Black's creativity in the kitchen. For the regular menu, however, he draws on tried-and-true traditions from across Italy, from the sunny beaches of the south to the French-Italian border. A dish of whole, lightly fried sardines with a dusting of chili flakes takes its inspiration from the Sicilian seaside, and a hearty order of duck leg confit with freshly made gnocchi hails from the mountainous North.
Il Tesoro's faux-stucco walls and striped awnings capture the casual spirit of an Old World bistro. Oil paintings burst with images from bucolic countryside scenes to vases of blooming flowers. The simple wooden chairs surrounding each white linen-draped table exude a homespun charm, as do the solitary brass lamps that adorn the tables.
Eat your way through the menu at Matzaluna The Italian Kitchen — this contemporary establishment serves fresh Italian food in a hip atmosphere.
For pizza or pasta just the way you like it, the restaurant offers quite the selection.
None of the fare at Matzaluna The Italian Kitchen is low-fat, so you'll have to put the diet aside for a visit here.
Take your pick of beer, wine, or other beverages offered on Matzaluna The Italian Kitchen's menu.
Grab the kids when you head to Matzaluna The Italian Kitchen — its family-oriented menu and ambience all perfect for the whole clan.
Gather up your friends, coworkers or family members and head to Matzaluna The Italian Kitchen for a group meal.
Drift away from stuffy dress-code conventions and dine in comfort at Matzaluna The Italian Kitchen.
Always five minutes behind schedule? Pick up your food to go instead.
An average meal at Matzaluna The Italian Kitchen will set you back about $30.
Load up a pizza with all of your favorite topping at Fort Myers Beach's Surf Pie.
Keep your diet in check at Surf Pie, a local restaurant with gluten-free and low-fat menu items.
If dining outdoors is your idea of a good time, you'll love the gorgeous patio seating at Surf Pie.
Surf Pie is well-known for being able to seat large parties.
Wear what you like when you dine at Surf Pie — the restaurant has a chill vibe just right for casual dining.
It's time to gather up the party people. Serve them great food from Surf Pie.
Sometimes you need food fast, and Surf Pie totally gets it, offering both takeout and delivery.
Diners at Surf Pie will love the simple and nearby street parking options.
You'll find your bill at Surf Pie to be more than reasonable, with most meals costing less than $15.
Head on over to Surf Pie first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening — Surf Pie is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Ease your appetite with delicious bites from Great White Grill in Sanibel.
The weekends are for going out for amazing combinations. Save the salad for the weekday and come grab a meal at Great White Grill.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! Great White Grill also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
Save money on a sitter — kids are welcome to join the table at Great White Grill.
Turn your living room into a five-star restaurant with takeout or delivery from Great White Grill.
Drivers will embrace the parking lot located next door to Great White Grill.
Great White Grill provides ample space for bikers to store their bikes.
Meals at Great White Grill are moderately priced — most diners spend about $30 per person.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at Great White Grill, so come by whenever it fits your schedule.
Island Pizza Restaurant offers a casual environment and multiple pizza choices that the whole family can enjoy.
Island Pizza Restaurant is a local eatery that serves up both gluten-free and low-fat dishes.
Ready for a drink to unwind? At Island Pizza Restaurant, you can pair your meal with something from their full bar.
Parents, bring your kids along to Island Pizza Restaurant, where you'll find a family-friendly menu and ambience.
Free wifi is available as well.
Keep it casual at Island Pizza Restaurant — the pizzeria is laid-back and patrons dress accordingly.
Delivery and take out are both available if you prefer to eat in the comfort of your own home.
At Island Pizza Restaurant, diners can make use of the safe bike rack.
The grub at Island Pizza Restaurant is also a downright bargain — most people can chow down for less than $15.