Family that runs popular Villages restaurants cuts ribbon at their latest venture

The ribbon was cut Thursday morning at the new Milano Ristorante Italiano in Ocala, a venture by a successful family that operates several restaurants in The Villages.

The ribbon cutting was co-hosted by the Ocala Chamber and Economic Partnership and the Suleiman family, the owners of the restaurant and others in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

The Suleiman family celebrates the ribbon cutting of another one of their establishments
The Suleiman family celebrates the ribbon cutting of another one of their establishments

The restaurant began operations last week and replaced the old Chefs of Napoli IV, which closed its doors earlier this summer after one of the founders was arrested for his alleged involvement in a human trafficking operation.

George Suleiman, one of the brothers that co-owns the establishment, says the restaurant will serve a variety of authentic Italian foods made entirely from scratch, including fresh bread, pizza and a collection of Italian specialties.

The interior dining room is spacious, to say the least, offering a variety of seating options for virtually any size party.

Interior dining room at Milano Ristorante Italiano
Interior dining room at Milano Ristorante Italiano
Seating for larger parties is available at Milano Ristorante Italiano in Ocala, Florida
Seating for larger parties is available at Milano Ristorante Italiano in Ocala

The restaurant also features a row of “caves” that provide for an intimate dining experience for smaller parties.

The caves at Milano Ristorante Italiano in Ocala, Florida
The caves at Milano Ristorante Italiano in Ocala

The menu is filled with all of the traditional Italian staples one would expect, from appetizers like bruschetta, caprese and fried calamari to the classic pasta fagioli soup. A variety of baked dishes like lasagna and gnocchi sorrentino, house specialty pastas like spaghetti caprese and penne puttanesca, stone baked pizzas and a variety of meat and seafood dishes provide for an extensive, all-encompassing menu of mainstay Italian dishes.

The addition of Milano Ristorante makes for an impressive slate of Suleiman-owned restaurants across The Villages and Ocala, including Johnny Rockets and Red Sauce at Lake Sumter Landing.

The family is no stranger to opening new locations, having steadily grown their local restaurant holdings in recent years. In 2016, the Suleimans opened Amerikanos Grille in the location formerly housed by Athens NY Restaurant in Spanish Springs. In 2017, the family took over operations of Havana Country Club, and in 2018, the Suleimans took over control of Nancy Lopez Country Club.

Milano Ristorante Italiano is located at 5400 SW College Road. Have you visited or do you plan on visiting Milano Ristorante Italiano? Share your experiences with us in a comment below, in a letter to the editor, or through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.