While Lombardi's Seafood has been around for 57 years, they're a relative newcomer to the city's restaurant scene. Their café, in fact, opened just three years ago serving fresh, sustainable, simply prepared seafood, much of it snagged from the market under the same roof. It's a winning formula, but that doesn't mean the Lombardi clan is stuck in its ways.
"We've tried to avoid the 'hot new trends,'" says Mike Lombardi (above center), "but we'll be adding some new items, like poké, to our menu. It's a dish that's caught on well in Orlando and it's very much in our wheelhouse."
Changing with the times is a necessary evil, no doubt, but some things within Lombardi's haven't changed a bit – namely, the women behind the family-run operation.
"My grandparents, Tony Senior and Angie Lombardi, started the business in 1961, and my grandmother was just as instrumental as my grandfather in making the business a success, so in that regard things haven't changed," Lombardi says.
"My mother, Terri Lombardi, has been in the business for many years with my dad, Tony Junior, and contributed immensely to its success. Today my wife, Toby, and two sisters, Denise and Maria, are also pertinent to the current success in the different areas they run."
After graduating from the University of Florida with degrees in finance and risk management, Mike helped out at Lombardi's for six years before leaving to work in pharmaceuticals. He rejoined the family business after 12 years, and, as a third-generation owner, spearheaded the creation of the café. He credits his parents for luring him back.
"I've looked up to and respected the hard work ethic and moral compass both of them showed me growing up," Lombardi says, and for a whole new generation of seafood lovers, that's good news.