Fresh Face, Fantastic Food, FOREVER Fulio’s
Local Restaurant Changes Ownership
By Jared Acuna
Something new and different is happening on the dining scene in downtown Astoria. Fulio’s Pastaria has come under exciting new ownership, but consider it more of a passing of the torch than anything else. The traditionally Italian cuisine is expanding into a broader, more appealing Mediterranean menu with an emphasis on seafood.
New owner Allan LaPlante, who has been the right-hand man at Fulio’s for the last fourteen years, wants to assure locals that everything that has made them a success will not be going away.
“I’ve already done what I’m doing now,” he pointed out. “People already recognize me as a part of this place. My job isn’t changing. What has changed is that it’s now official, the moniker of me being an owner.”
At his side, LaPlante has recruited the talents of Sean Whittaker, the Executive Head Chef of Fulio’s and its new era. Chef Whittaker has got quite a following. He’s won the Seaside Iron Chef twice, appeared in Sunset Magazine and was responsible for elevating the dinner scene that we all now enjoy at Astoria Coffeehouse.
“We have well-known dishes that Sean has already made better,” said Allan. “He’s going to be upgrading a lot. Some of the stuff will be staying the same though. We don’t want to mess with things that don’t need to be.”
Diners looking for something fresh and interesting will be delighted with Chef Whittaker’s upcoming specials. Accompanying the staple menu every week will be three Mediterranean seafood dishes as well as featured appetizers and salads that Sean will be creating himself.
Allan voiced, “With a man of Sean’s talent in our restaurant, there’s going to be creative leeway that he can call his own and that I can be proud of. I know for a fact that he’s going to bring a lot more people in here that might never come in.”
“I like every single person that works in this place,” shared Chef Whittaker. “There’s a great staff. I love coming into a place that’s got a good foundation, elevating it, working with what you have and making it better. I like the challenge.”
This year, the demand for their catering is already nearing off the charts and they’ve only recently relaunched. As diverse as their new dishes will be, the secret to success will always be in respecting the restaurant’s heritage. Fulio’s has been beloved by the community and it’s that love for quality that Allan LaPlante and his team are choosing to build from. Allan concluded with a strong confidence that business is just going to keep increasing and would like to invite all to come experience the difference for themselves.