A new specialty food shop has opened in Southside Village. Two Chefs on Hillview is owned by local chefs Frank Imbarlina and Mellissa Louty. Louty makes fresh pastries, cupcakes and bread daily, while Imbarlina contributes a wide variety of charcuterie and pot pies. They work together to stock the store with an array of take-home goods, perfect for any night when you don't feel like tackling the kitchen.
The shop may be small, but offerings are vast. "It's basically a playground for us," says Imbarlina. He and Louty have the freedom to make anything they want—every chef's dream.
"We want to be the kind of shop where people enjoy specialty foods and know it's all made by us," he says.
In the front of the shop, there's a baking case filled with Louty's colorful treats. Meanwhile, the walls are lined with clear-doored refrigerators stocked with Imbarlina's soups and sauces. He also specializes in scratch-made charcuterie, like duck liver mousse, rillettes, salami and saucisson, which are featured prominently in the cooler windows. In the mornings, the pair offer breakfast sandwiches made with Imbarlina's house-cured bacon, farm-fresh eggs, and Louty's pillowy brioche rolls. Each week, the menu changes to keep customers engaged and excited.
"We want to keep the focus on sheer quality," Imbarlina says.
Upon visiting the store, I'm swept up in its offerings. I select a hot smoked duck empanada and a lavender cupcake so that I can sample both chefs' specialties. The empanada has a thin, Argentinian-style crust filled with hearty chunks of smoky duck and sweet potatoes. The flavors are big, bold and savory. Louty's cupcake is dense and moist. The floral fragrance of lavender permeates the cake and is highlighted by a dreamy vanilla buttercream. It may not be the healthiest lunch I've had this week, but it is the most delicious.
Two Chefs on Hillview is located at 1960 Hillview St., Sarasota. The store are open from 6:30 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. For more information call (941) 210-3535 or visit the website.