Alan Laskowski, the chef/owner of Blu Island Bistro, is a lifelong culinary pro whose breakfast/lunch eatery is a beloved gathering space for Venice’s locals.
Since 2011, diners have returned to the spot for the signature buttermilk pancakes (a 22-year-old recipe), the breakfast BLTs (with fried green tomato and pecan-smoked bacon), the banana French toast and the Reuben sandwiches.
“Blu is a unique restaurant that captures the community feeling of Venice yet offers a big-city menu with a Philadelphia influence,” Laskowski says. “We aim to create an environment that is welcoming to all customers by trying to make everyone feel special.”
Laskowski has always been committed to this philosophy. He cultivated it while working in a bakery at age 14, washing dishes at night, and serving as a busboy at New Jersey’s Chalfonte Hotel. He later graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and went on to manage and ultimately own an award-winning restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Today, Laskowski elevates his cuisine by featuring local ingredients on his menu.
“It’s all about seasonal items and location. For example, my produce purveyor shops at Tampa markets every morning and delivers to me shortly after,” he says. “He scans for the best-looking, highest-quality, in-season items. There is never a lack of finding creative uses with seasonal items. Using locally sourced ingredients in season is cost-effective for not only me but for my customers.”
And what makes Laskowski an “Original”?
“Working for myself enables me and my team to be creative and unique,” he says. “That’s a big part of what makes me an ‘Original.’”
Blu Island Bistro | 625 Tamiami Trail S., Venice | 941-485-8200| bluislandbistro.com
Author: Abby Weingarten