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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Aug. 19, 2013 6 years ago

Well, 'Blau' me over: Mediterranean eatery has new manager, chef


Spencer Maltagliati, new manager, and new chef Joseph Dunbar plan to maintain Blau's current menu and atmosphere, with a few enhancements


Blau, the Mediterranean-style grill at 175 S. Nova Road, has a new general manager and a new head chef. But the two like the way things currently are at their restaurant, and they have no major changes planned just yet.

The restaurant's relaxed atmosphere, for example, will remain, said manager Spencer Maltagliati.

“We’re keeping the same staff,” Chef Joseph Dunbar, who previously worked at 27 Fathoms in Port Orange, said. “They’re great. I will be adding my own flair to what they have.”

Dunbar, who has been in the restaurant business 17 years and a chef for eight years, said he is “well versed” in shopping for produce and finding good value, and he will strive to keep costs down for customers.

The two do have some enhancements planned, however, such as expanding the wine menu.

Maltagliati, currently running the restaurant while also pursuing a degree in aviation management at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, had been Blau's head server since it opened last June.

Before Blau, he served six years in the military, but he has worked in restaurants since the age of 11, when he helped in his dad’s coffee shop in Connecticut. Before relocating here to attend Embry-Riddle, he was working as a bartender and server in Manhattan.

“I’ve done this all my life and it’s what I enjoy,” he said.

He said he is also able to apply the principles learned in his aviation management studies to the restaurant business, noting that the accounting, marketing and other areas are the same.

In describing what he calls Blau's "casual fine-dining" vibe, Maltagliati notes that patrons are encouraged to order a bottle of wine and stay awhile after dining.

“We don’t hand you the check until you ask for it,” Maltagliati said. “If a person stops and asks how long it will be for a table, we honestly don’t know."

That's why it's best, he says, to make a reservation.

Blau's menu is a Mediterranean fusion, with French, Spain, Greece and other influences, Maltagliati added.

“It’s a tearing down of the European borders,” he said.

Keeping in line with its European roots, the restaurant's initial concept revolved around tapas dining on first opening. But now, full dinners are also on the menu.

All dressings, mustard and sauces are also made in-house.

“We know what’s in every dish,” he said.

This sort of attention to detail, he noted, has allowed them to avoid the tourist trade and rely on their regular customers to spread the word.

“We don’t do much advertising,” Maltagliati said. “The locals stand by us 365 days a year.”

Call 492-7925.

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