Denny Tornatore, the owner and operator of Tornatore’s Ristorante and Italian Market in College Park, and his partner, Maria Mancia, have started a weekly podcast called Denny and Maria Eat the World, because running one of the city’s most popular Italian restaurants apparently isn’t time consuming enough.
Tornatore told me recently that they started the project as a hobby. “We came up with the idea because we’re obviously both foodies,” he said. “It’s us traveling, eating, doing restaurant reviews, including some in Orlando, and there’s usually a recipe.”
But the hobby has grown and the podcast is gaining a following, with listeners now in the thousands. According to one source, Tornatore said, Denny and Maria Eat the World is the sixtieth most popular food podcast in the nation – and believe me, there is no dearth of food podcasts.
Also, the couple recently moved into a new house with a dedicated recording studio, and each episode is recorded by a sound engineer.
Tornatore said the podcast works because he and Mancia have a Yin and Yang relationship. “She’s more cultured and I’m more of a restaurant guy,” he said. “I’m like you,” he told me, “if a restaurant sucks I say it, and she’ll say, ‘Denny, you can’t say that.’”
A recent episode had the couple recounting a trip to Chicago, Mancia’s hometown, with Tornatore, a native New Yorker, critiquing the Windy City’s pizzas. “That’s not a pizza,” he said of the iconic deep-dish pie, “that’s like a casserole.”
The episodes are conversational, like the two were sitting with you and talking over a glass of wine, which is part of the allure. And it’s gaining recognition from listeners outside of Florida because restaurants that are mentioned in a podcast will often link to it. Tornatore also said a lot of locals are discovering his restaurant in College Park for the first time after hearing the podcast.
Give it a listen. Denny and Maria Eat the World – I think a great logo would be photo of Tornatore in a Godzilla suit – is available wherever podcasts are downloaded. You can also find links on their Facebook page.