After tantalizing the taste buds of diners in the heart of Destin for decades, Guglielmo Ianni has moved to the east side, merging Ciao Bella Pizza and Pasta, formerly Guglielmo’s La Fiamma, with Tuscany Italian Bistro.
"Business is shifting to the east," Ianni told The Log. "I love Destin, but it's not what it used to be. We need to bring people back to the harbor and old Destin."
Since his days at Guglielmo's Chicago Speak Easy on Okaloosa Island in the early ’90s, the Italian native has been sharing his family recipes and authentic, made-from-scratch Northern Italian cuisine with diners from near and far, all while building the Guglielmo brand.
And with his success over the years has come a variety of challenges. As the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Guglielmo says his recipes and concepts have often been but never duplicated. Although others have tried a variation of his restaurants' names, or tried to copy recipes, they can't match his touch.
"If you go somewhere and the food is not perfect, or if it's not Tuscany, Ciao Bella Pizza at Silver Sands, or Ciao Bella Pizza in Bluewater Bay then it's not Guglielmo’s," the long-time restaurateur said.
With his roots deep in an Italian kitchen, Guglielmo says he was the first chef in the area to fuse fresh Gulf of Mexico seafood and pasta into unforgettable dishes. Whether it's his signature garlic olive oil dip or mussels diavola, Guglielmo has always been about the food.
"I'm in the kitchen every morning to prep the sauces," he said. "Everything here is made from scratch. We're not a chain and our food doesn't come in a zip lock bag or can; it's prepared fresh daily and authentic."
And anyone who has been to one of Guglielmo's restaurants knows they will not go home hungry.
"Guglielmo is still famous for our family style dinner," Guglielmo said. "You just have to sit down and we will feed you."
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, "your favorite entertainer" David Seering entertains dinner guests with his one-of-a-kind show in the bar at Tuscany Italian Bistro.
Tuscany Italian Bistro is located at 36178 Emerald Coast Parkway and can be reached at 850-650-2451. You can visit them on the web at www.tuscanybistrodestin.com or find them on Facebook. Guglielmo recently opened a Tuscany Bistro Bar and Grill in Kenosha, Wisc.
Ciao Bella Pizza has been a staple at Silver Sands Premium Outlets for 10 years, Guglielmo said, noting that Keith Howard has been "the best landlord" he has worked with. Ciao Bella Pizza can be found on the web at www.ciaobellapizzas.com or on Facebook.
Guglielmo is leasing his former restaurant in the heart of Destin to a Mexican restaurant, El Paso Mexican Grill.
Now cooking out of the Tuscany kitchen, Guglielmo said he can't wait to continue sharing his recipes with locals and visitors alike.
"I keep working in the restaurant and opening new locations because it's in my blood, I'm a workaholic," he said. "When you are looking for Guglielmo, you will either find me in the kitchen making sauces or on the porch drinking cappuccino with my friend Tony."