Enzo’s on the Lake, the venerable Longwood Italian restaurant that has been a special occasion destination for Central Floridians for 42 years, has been sold. The new owner is John Khalil, an Orlando dentist with University Dental Group, who is expected to close the deal next week and greet the staff on Tuesday.
When reached Wednesday afternoon, Khalil was with a patient and unable to speak at length about his plans for the restaurant, but others have said that the name, concept and staff are expected to stay the same.
The current owner, Jo Anne Perlini, confirmed that she has sold the restaurant, which she and her husband, Enzo, opened in 1980. The couple divorced in 2000 but remained business partners. When Enzo was diagnosed with leukemia, he relinquished day to day operations to Jo Anne. Perlini died in 2006 at the age of 61.
“It’s been a really good ride,” said Jo Anne about her 42 years at the restaurant. When asked what she plans to do now, she said, “We’ll see if fishing is all it’s cracked up to be.”
Enzo’s occupies what was once a house, built in 1955, overlooking Lake Fairy. The website reads, “Enzo’s on the Lake started as a home and has continued to be one.” Many of the staff members have been with the restaurant for decades and regular customers often drive great distances to dine there.