Patina Restaurant Group (PRG) yesterday opened the doors for a media preview and soft opening that showcased the stunning new Italian restaurant located at the reimagined Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort — Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante.
The new dining destination brings to Disney Springs the warmth of Italy and the dreamiest Italian cuisine this side of the Atlantic, courtesy of Executive Chef Theo Schoenegger. The restaurant will officially begin serving dinner to the public on January 5. Lunch and brunch service will begin later this month (updated hours and special events available on the restaurant’s Facebook page).
Fittingly, the media sneak peek on January 4 coincided with National Spaghetti Day, providing the perfect Italian backdrop for the occasion. A dedication ceremony featured Italian ambassadors, chefs, executives from Patina Restaurant Group, Delaware North (Patina Restaurant Group’s parent company), Disney; and very special guests Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
Disney restaurants often have a backstory, part of the company’s tradition of immersive storytelling. Mirroring that tradition, Patina Restaurant Group collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering to create the story for Maria & Enzo’s.
“The story behind Maria and Enzo is one of travel, food, love and friendship, all steeped in Italian tradition,” said Valenti, referring to the backstory of Maria and Enzo, an Italian couple that immigrated to Central Florida in the 1920s. “Their story is set in a long-forgotten sea-plane air terminal that became the setting for the restaurant.
“We couldn’t be happier to have a chef as talented as Theo Schoenegger,” Valenti continued. “A native Italian with an incredible repertoire, his cooking has a delicious authenticity that brings the story to life.”
Following the dedication, media and special guests enjoyed the food and hospitality at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, where Chef Schoenegger presented a variety of signature dishes including, of course, spaghetti in honor of National Spaghetti Day.