Friday, February 20, 2015

Ristorante FIRENZE Opens in Historic Reisterstown

A taste of Tuscany has arrived in Reisterstown with the opening of Ristorante FIRENZE at 2 Hanover Rd. in the historic Main Street corridor.

The 3,000-square-foot authentic Italian bistro is the vision of brothers, Brian and Larry Leonardi, whose roots go back to Italy.  Their grandparents immigrated to Baltimore and settled in Little Italy.  Growing up, the Leonardi brothers worked as bus boys, servers and cooks in their uncle’s restaurant, Velleggia’s.  They later opened their own Casa di Pasta eateries in Belvedere Square and Columbia.

“FIRENZE’s food and drink experience will respect and reflect what generations of Baltimoreans enjoyed at Veleggia’s,” said Brian Leonardi. “This means the use of fresh ingredients, creative recipes, passionate chefs and servers with an ‘aim to please’ attitude.  And, of course, great wine!”
“Our vision for FIRENZE is also to fill a void in the northwest Baltimore County-Carroll County restaurant community by introducing a neighborhood-style eatery where everyone will know your name, as well as your favorite drink, appetizer and entree item,” he added.

Approximately $750,000 has been invested in an extreme makeover of the FIRENZE space.  Noticeable from the outside are the remodeled exteriors along Main Street and a new main entrance – with custom bevel wood doors greeting guests – off the 88-space rear parking lot.  Soon to follow will be a repaved lot with upgraded lighting.

Designed by Rita St. Clair Associates, FIRENZE’s upscale casual interiors feature a warm, rich color scheme accented by contemporary design elements and natural materials such as the dark wood floors and beams. The main dining room, which seats 66, boasts a striking orange wall with mustard color sconces.

Ideal for rehearsal dinnersfamily celebrations and business meetings for up to 25 people, the private dining/meeting space features a custom Murano glass chandelier as its centerpiece. A flat screen TV along the side wall is available for audio/visual presentations.  Lighting throughout the room is adjustable and blackout shades provide additional room darkening.

A dramatic, glassed in wine cellar that holds 550 bottles separates the dining room from the bar/lounge area.  With comfortable leather chairs, the lounge features a stone fireplace with a flat screen above it. Across are high top tables alongside earth tone walls with photos of FIRENZE’s namesake, Florence, Italy.

The bar area features glass shelving and wide-screen TVs over a Carrara marble bar top. For added convenience, guests can charge their phones and computers at docking ports and hang their jackets or purses on hooks located under the bar.  Happy Hour will take place weekdays from 3-7 p.m., and lite fare will be offered all day in the bar/lounge, which seats 34.

FIRENZE’s Tuscan dining experience includes homemade pasta, meatballs, lasagna, breads, pizzas, sauces, salad dressings and desserts prepared under the direction of head chef, Zach Leonardi. Signature dishes are as follows:
  • Minestrone Zuppe (Italian vegetable and noodle soup)
  • Tuscan Beef Tips (Gorgonzola crusted, Marsala wine sauce over house-made pasta; served with a side salad)
  • Rigatoni a la Mama (Prosciutto/peas/onions/tomatoes/cream sauce with salad & Italian bread)
  • Fettuccini with Clam Sauce (Little neck clams in shell with red or white sauce)
  • Grilled Eggplant Tower (Eggplant/fresh mozzarella/tomatoes/basil pesto vinaigrette)
  • Zeppoli (Fried dough, powdered sugar  available with seasonal fruit compote)
The All-Day Menu offers something for everyone with a variety of Antipaste, Insalate, Zuppa, Pasta, Pizza, Panini, Vitello, Bisteca, Pollo Frutti di Mare dishes and desserts.

Lunch specials, offered daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., include pizzas starting at $6 and “Pick Due”— choose two items (salad, soup, pasta or panini) for $10.  “Bambinos” can enjoy the children’s menu, which features kid-size pastas, pizzas and fried mozzarella, among other options.

The world-class beverage menu includes craft cocktails, a diverse selection of draft and bottled beers and over 100 premium wines from California and Italy.

FIRENZE offers carry-out service and off-site catering, as well as special menus – including family-style options – in the private dining/meeting space.  Plus, the entire restaurant can be rented for larger functions. 

Hours & Contact Information
Ristorante FIRENZE opens daily at 11 a.m.  Closing time is midnight, Monday through Thursday2 a.m.Friday and Saturday, and 11 p.m. on Sunday.  For more information, call 410-394-5577 or visit or For Open Table reservations, visit
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