La Famiglia to open second location at HarborWalk

Jessica Coker
“The food and atmosphere are great. I've been here four times just this week,” says La Famiglia fan Robert Schlanser, who has lived in the Destin area for about 10 years.

The La Famiglia family is growing.

The menu isn't the only thing that makes this restaurant unique; when you walk in, whether through the front or back door, you feel like you're walking into your Italian grandma's house for dinner.

You're warmly greeted by not only a hoard of delicious aromas but you immediately feel welcomed by whomever is around, whether it's an employee and/or a member of the Tozzi family — at La Famiglia they are one in the same. And that’s what makes La Famiglia so special among Destin residents and tourists alike.

So special, in fact, this family-owned and operated business is expanding and opening a second location in HarborWalk Village in the space previously occupied by Camellia Grill. Opened in 2009 by the Tozzi family — Stefania (Mother), Pino (Father), Michela, Francesca and Valentina (Sisters) — La Famiglia is still relatively new, however they are far from amateurs when it comes to Italian cuisine. The entire family is from Rome and they've been in the restaurant business for quite some time.

Valentina tells The Log that, "The three of us (sisters) have wanted to open a second location for a while; we thought about Miramar Beach, maybe Fort Walton. But we just really love the Emerald Grande, all of the people around, the beautiful view, we fell in love. We decided it was time to make the big step and expand."

Valentina continues, saying they are hoping to be open sometime around the first of the year, but nothing is set in stone.

The new locale will be "different but the same" as the original La Famiglia location. The most obvious difference will be the new venue hours from 7 a.m.-11 p.m., serving an authentic variety of Italian breakfast choices daily. Traditionally, an Italian breakfast consists of coffee, cappuccino or tea and unlike many countries, focuses mainly on sweet foods — pastries, croissants, toast with sweet creams and jams, even cookies and cakes — leaving savory dishes for meals later in the day.

Despite the changes, Valentina assures us "the menu will be the same, and the prices will be the same." That’s good news for everyone who depends on their weekly fix of La Famiglia's signature menu items such as their “Antipasto Di Stefania,” an appetizer consisting of various cold cuts, cheeses, black olives and homemade bruschetta and their “Spaghetti Ai Frutti Di Mare,” spaghetti with calamari, clams, shrimp, mussels, fish and scallops cooked in your choice of tomato or white wine sauce.

Another comparable difference between the two sites will be the atmosphere. HarborWalk Village has a very lively, upbeat, almost resort-like lifestyle, featuring regular fireworks shows and live music many nights a week, which La Famiglia plans on taking part in as well.

"The restaurant's outdoor space is great, we want some sort of awning and maybe we can have live music outside," Valentina said.

Until they open their second location visit them at 300 Harbor Blvd. next to Dippin’ Dots in Destin, call them at 424-5795 or check them out on Facebook. Hours are Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 4 p.m.-10 p.m.