Palm Beach Florida Weekly

Lynora’s Alton, the latest in a long line of family-owned restaurants

Angelo and Maria Abbenante. COURTESY PHOTO

Angelo and Maria Abbenante. COURTESY PHOTO

Angelo Abbenante is all about family — even at the restaurants he co-owns.

“I want guests to feel comfortable and like family when they come in,” he said at a preview of his latest venture, Lynora’s Alton.

It’s still under construction, but will join the family’s others in Jupiter, on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach, and Lynora’s Market on the South Dixie corridor, also in West Palm.

Sarah Scheffer, marketing director for the restaurant family, offered a tour of the space still under construction in Alton Town Center. It’s designed with a layout similar to the Jupiter location, she said.

Inside is 1,500 square feet of dining space with large windows that open to adjoin another 400 square feet outside on a covered patio. The restaurant is set to overlook Alton Town Center courtyard.

“This beautiful park-like courtyard with lawn seating and fountains will certainly fill guests with a breath of fresh air,” Ms. Scheffer said.

A lounge area is different than most: No high-tops — low tables, along with couches and cocktail tables. It’s for casual “coffee, cocktails or dining,” she said. A bar will run the length of the restaurant. She said this creates a flow and brings liveliness throughout the spaces.

The bar overlooks an open kitchen. “This keeps the chefs, service staff and guests all connected, enjoying the same atmosphere.”

The pizza oven, imported from Italy, is set up so guests in the main dining room can watch their food being cooked inside.

“The goal with these design features is to give each guests a place to belong,” she said. “Regardless of whether you are dining with friends or alone, you have a variety of options: table service, bar, lounge, patio. In each setting, you have company, watching the kitchen, interacting with staff, or seeing the activity in the courtyard. There is not a spot where you will be excluded from the energy of the restaurant — and I promise you, there is a lot of energy in this restaurant.”

This will be the family’s fourth restaurant opened since the original on Lake Worth Road closed in 2004.

Angelo Abbanante’s parents, Maria and Raffaele, started what would become a mini-chain of Lynora’s in 1976 with just a small pizza eatery sporting a screen door. The recipes were Maria’s mother’s, and the restaurant’s reputation as a stellar Italian restaurant drew diners from around the county.

Maria retired in 2004, but her son convinced her to return to the kitchen 10 years later to open Lynora’s on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach. The overwhelming response to their return led to the casual Lynora’s Market in West Palm, as well as the Jupiter restaurant.

“I think it is noteworthy that the contractor used on this project is the same contractor that worked to build out the first Lynora’s location back in the ‘70s,” Ms. Scheffer said.

The building contractor, George Fraker, “I first recognized from a old newspaper photograph that I found in a box and placed on a shelf when setting up our corporate offices,” she said.

During a recent media lunch, he was on site, “keeping me company while I made the candy favors, telling me stories about how he and Raffaele, Angelo’s father, built out the first Lynora’s, and about the group of friends that would all frequent Lynora’s years ago.”

Chef Mario Mette, Lynora’s executive chef, said little will change on the menu from Jupiter’s classics — pizzas, pastas, salads are the focus.

Maria Abbenante still works in the commissary, helping make sauces and meatballs and other dishes she established, while Angelo Abbenante can be found making pasta for the restaurants when he’s not overseeing the new restaurants. A Boca Raton Lynora’s is planned for 2020.

Lynora’s Alton is scheduled to open late November or early December.

In brief:

Echo, The Breakers’ Asian restaurant in Palm Beach, has reopened following an extensive remake. The decor has switched to bento-box black, deep reds and gold and silver accents. The four elements, earth (meats), wind (small, fleeting bites), fire (wok specialties) and water (seafood), along with flavor for desserts, represent menu choices. Eastern cuisines are still represented, with sushi front and center. … Also reopened, down south, is Prime Catch, a waterfront restaurant in Boynton Beach. It also has gone through a total retransformation, with modern coastal decor, and a menu redo. ¦

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