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German Shepherd Rescue - The latest and greatest from German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County
Seen at the scene: Terry Antonelli, the owner of L'Opera, was seen mingling with guests.
Although he does not own a shepherd, he is a lover of all dogs and attended to support the event.
L'Opera co-owner Enzo DeMuro greets little Matteo, 6, and co-owner Terry Antonelli welcomes Christine and Roberto Saracino back to the restaurant where the couple met 20 years ago. (Tracey Roman/For the Press-Telegram)
LONG BEACH - On the eve of the 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, L'Opera Ristorante co-owner Terry Antonelli had been chatting with a customer who remembered walking the space with him before the business opened 20 years ago. At that time, the 101 Pine Ave. location - a corner space in a building that first opened in 1906 as a Bank of America - looked nothing like a place that could serve food, much less fine Italian dining. "It was like a bomb shelter, all steel beams, no windows, no doors, nothing," Antonelli said. "We had to walk down scaffolding to get down below and (the customer) said, 'Are you crazy?' And I said, 'Yeah, I might be.' " But Antonelli, a native New Yorker, was crazy about opening a restaurant downtown, with its high-rises and promise of vertical living. He saw potential in Long Beach. "Here's this large metropolitan city with no restaurants," said Antonelli, who used to live in Naples. I think that not only Terry and Enzo were great employers but great friends. Downtown was a very different place when Antonelli and DuMuro opened L'Opera in 1990. There was a Naval shipyard, no Blue Line and a couple of restaurants open, Antonelli recalled. L'Opera, which sought to bring authentic, Italian fine dining to Long Beach, was "successful out of the gate," quickly becoming one of the top 150 Italian restaurants in the country, Antonelli said. "It's not that we cater to those people, because we treat everyone the same, but when you have people who have dining experiences all over the world, and they call this their favorite restaurant, it's pretty special," Antonelli said. In recent years, the slow-to-rebound recession has tested L'Opera like other restaurants, prompting Antonelli and DeMuro to cover a few restaurant shifts and re-examine ways to save money without sacrificing quality. The landlord has been very cooperative as well, Antonelli said. "We've learned a lot through this recession because we've looked at a lot of areas we weren't looking at before," Antonelli said. Without that food and service you just don't last in this business," Antonelli said.
Press-Telegram - Council to weigh trial Pine Avenue closure
Terry Antonelli, owner of L'Opera and The Madison, both at Pine Avenue and First Street, said he supports the closure as proposed. "If it helps (the other businesses) and it helps eliminate some of the traffic congestion, I'm in support of it," Antonelli said. Antonelli has also been pushing for the creation of an anti-cruising ordinance, which is set to come before the council in the future. Antonelli said he once counted 17 vehicles that each passed down Pine more than three times in a two-hour period, a frequency he believes would be considered cruising. However, Antonelli would not be in favor of the closure extending to Ocean, which he said would eliminate his drive-up valet business.
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Owners Terry Antonelli and Enzo DeMuro, a Brooklyn Italian and a Roman Italian , believe in a warm and elegant approach to fine dining where marble columns never intimidate and smiles always charm.
Owner Terry Antonelli, believes in a warm yet elegant approach to the 5 star award winning dining experience that has been the staple of L'Opera's lasting success for over 24 years.