Chef Tony Bruno at The Living Room on Main
Top Chefs at Top Restaurants—Series Meet the Chef
The Living Room on Main, located in the heart of Dunedin at 487 Main Street, is well known for its internationally-inspired tapas menu, inviting atmosphere and talented lineup of live music. Executive Chef Tony Bruno’s 25 years of experience, coupled with his creativity and passion for culinary excellence, has created a loyal local customer base for this restaurant and bar. Guests voted during Dunedin Restaurant Week and the Platinum Plate Awards for Best Restaurant went to The Living Room and Best Chef was presented to Chef Tony Bruno.
Chef Bruno is the youngest of five boys with an Italian heritage. His first mentors in the kitchen were his mother, Olimpia, and his grandmother, Gilda. Chef Bruno began learning his skills at an early age by rolling meatballs and then creating sauces. “I developed a real passion for cooking when I was five years old and learned techniques from my mother and grandmother,” Chef Tony Bruno recalls. Chef Bruno’s passion for cooking only grew stronger when he began cooking professionally at the age of 16 and acquired and fine-tuned his skills to gain promotions and recognition for his work.
“I was very fortunate to earn a position at Mise En Place in Tampa and work under the James Beard award-winning Chef Marty Blitz. “I stayed there for nine years moving up to the Chef de Cuisine and Catering Chef,” Chef Bruno states. During his career, Chef Bruno has worked at other notable Tampa restaurants including Bern’s Steakhouse, Bella’s Italian Café and SideBern’s before making The Living Room in Dunedin his kitchen. In 2009, the owners of The Living Room, René and John Johnson, consulted with Tony Bruno about their new restaurant and a relationship was quickly formed with a common vision that lead to Chef Bruno joining the team as Executive Chef. The Johnson’s daughter, Sarah, previously worked with Tony and was a fan of his creative food and easygoing manner and thought it would be a good match for The Living Room. She was right and the rest is history!
“I really enjoy utilizing cooking techniques from other countries,” Chef Bruno says. His love for Italian, Asian, French and Latin cuisine can be seen in The Living Room’s diverse menu. The tapas specialties offer an opportunity to sample a little of each country’s tradition with a fresh spin that is uniquely Chef Bruno’s.
The Living Room is open seven days a week and features lunch, a weekend brunch, dinner and a full liquor bar. The menu features fresh ingredients and offers many gluten-free and vegetarian options. There is even a special doggy menu for the pampered pooch that is available on the dog-friendly patio. Catering for small and large groups and private parties for weddings, corporate events or other special events is available.
The Living Room on Main regularly entertains food enthusiasts with special events featuring five-course dinners paired with wines or beers. Chef Bruno and his staff create an evening that it is always memorable as he guides guests through the courses. The upcoming Wine Dinner will feature a Gluten Free Menu and is scheduled Wednesday, May 21st. Call the restaurant to reserve your spot as the Wine Dinners fill up quickly, phone is (727) 736-5202. To find out more about the restaurant, menus and entertainment schedule, view the website at www.thelivingroomonmain.com.
The Living Room on Main
487 Main Street, Dunedin FL 34698
Article written for Destination Tampa Bay magazine