Winter Park, Florida has a competitive list of restaurants that locals have to choose from, but one restaurant in particular is new to the Park Avenue block. Prato, a chic, rustic Italian-themed establishment sistered from Luma has only been open for about 3 months, but is gaining wide notoriety for the unique food and drink selections they offer. Brandon McGlamery, chef of Prato, says one detail that sets them apart are the ovens. “We burn oak in it almost 24 hours a day”. Out of those two ovens, Brandon says, “One oven is for pizzas only. Twenty percent of our sales, easily.” A statement I can believe as I munched on the Americano which was topped with Broccolini, eggplant, tomato filetto, and point reyes blue.
Another unique quality of this place is the bar list. Many restaurants on Park Avenue wouldn’t dare to have Pabst Blue Ribbon as a beer on their cocktail menu, let alone serve it in a brown paper bag. However, Brandon says, “We wanted to be a neighborhood restaurant,” which is exactly how this place feels. Stemming from Luma‘s loins, you might expect a more formal atmosphere out of Prato, but instead you get that “farm house,” relaxed feel that is “almost completely opposite of our sister restaurant, Luma.”
Brandon also talks about how he keeps his staff so knowledgeable, especially with the seasonal and daily changes made to the menu. “It’s a train-as-you-go program”, Brandon tells us, where the servers get tested weekly. The servers don’t only get tested on the menu weekly, they also have a say about what is on the menu. When asked if the staff takes part in any of the decision making for the menu, Brandon says, “Yes, they are very imperative to the success to a certain dish. Their input is very welcomed.”
The food, the drinks, and the service were all a pleasure. This down to earth Italian restaurant located in Winter Park is definitely a new hot spot on Park Avenue. Get there early, though, if you want a seat at the bar. Otherwise, enjoy a candlelit seat on the outside patio or cozy booth in the corner. Bar or booth, the cozy atmosphere and ever-changing array of wood-fired foods of Prato lets you experience a taste of Italian countryside in your own backyard.