ACEnet would like to mark a major milestone for entrepreneur Nick Penzone of Florentine Legacy. In March, Nick shared with his loyal customers that the Florentine Legacy pasta sauces and house dressing are now at available in almost 50 Kroger locations in Ohio on the Discover Local shelves of each store! For Athenians, this includes the Athens Kroger store on East State Street. As Nick would say the, “legacy continues.”

Nick’s grandfather opened Florentine Restaurant in Columbus in 1945. The restuarant was well known for its classic Italian food, dedicated staff and family-friendly setting. When Florentine Restaurant closed in 2006 after their amazing 71 years in business, Nick Penzone, part of the third generation in his family, couldn’t let the legacy die. He worked with ACEnet’s Food Enterprise Coordinator, Adam Kody, to develop the FDA processing plans for the Florentine pasta sauces and salad dressing. Nick was determined to keep the Italian restaurant’s name alive. As he aptly says on his website: “Opening a jar of Florentine marinara always reminds me of being in our restaurant’s kitchen as a kid. I’d watch my dad put up food orders while working with the staff, laughing, having a good time. Through the 20 years I cooked in the kitchen, I never forgot those memories. Every time I made a pot of one of our signature sauces, a batch of our house salad dressing, or a ball of pasta dough, I got to connect with past family members. It was unique. Gratifying. Fun.”

Steadily Nick grew the retail product business, selling at area farmers markets, and securing product placement in many of the independent retail establishments throughout central Ohio. As distribution to grocery stores chains throughout Ohio grew, Nick graduated from ACEnet’s Food Ventures Center to a larger co-packer. The latest expansion into Kroger demonstrates that the passion and commitment of our Ohio food entrepreneurs is always a recipe for success!

But wait, there’s more to the Florentine Legacy story. At the end of 2020, Nick and family began working out of CloudKitchens in Columbus to bring back the Florentine favorite dishes to his local fan base. Nick shared on facebook, “Thank you for supporting Florentine Legacy the last four years. I’m humbled by what Florentine means to you and can’t begin to put into words how much that means to me. I’m grateful that I have been able to carry on the family business with our pasta sauces and dressing. But I’ve always wanted to do more.” Since December, the signature Florentine menu items are available for delivery and pick-up.

For more info, you can visit the Florentine Legacy website for the full menu listing https://www.florentinelegacy.com or follow their facebook posts for updates on menu specials: https://www.facebook.com/TheFlorentine

Community Update by Director of Programs, Leslie Schaller