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Lombardi’s Seafood closes cafe

Written By Scott Joseph On November 5, 2021

Lombardi diningLombardi’s Cafe, shown in August, was a popular lunch spot.

Lombardi’s Seafood, the popular fishmonger, has long had a cafe component to go along with its retail market. Even in its former location, near the convergence of U.S. Highway 17-92, Harmon Avenue and Orange Avenue, there was a corner where one could grab a cup of chowder or seafood sandwich.

And when the market moved to Fairbanks Avenue in 2015, the new building had a more dedicated cafe space with seating inside and out. And owner Michael Lombardi had ambitious plans for the cafe, even at one time, just last year, hiring two well-known chefs, Austin Boyd and veteran sushi maker Yoshi Pintar.

But Lombardi’s Cafe never reached its full potential. In my most recent review, in August, I noted operational missteps that seemed rooted beyond the staffing issues currently plaguing so many restaurants.

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Now Lombardi’s has closed the cafe. Instead, the space will be used to expand the market’s retail offerings, including prepared items, salads, produce and even meats, which it introduced a year ago. One of the cafe’s items, a lobster roll, is now offered in the market as do-it-yourself kit.

Boyd was hired, in part, to develop prepared items to be sold in the market. But he and Pintar, known to fans as Chef Yoshi, both left – amicably, according to Lombardi – Boyd joining Seito Sushi on Sand Lake Road and Chef Yoshi, briefly, signed on to open Illume. (Pintar left there before Illume opened.)

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