Best Restaurant Host - 2010
Nino Pernetti's life story includes growing up in postwar Venice, Italy; training at a prestigious hotel school; cooking across four continents; and taking trips to Kabul, Caracas, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur — well, a lot of places. But you needn't know that, or the fact that he serves on more boards than Dwyane Wade — Make-A-Wish Foundation, Jackson Memorial Foundation, Florida Concert Association, and so forth — to appreciate the skillful orchestration he exhibits at his landmark Coral Gables restaurant, Caffè Abbracci. No doubt the consistently mouthwatering renditions of quintessential Italian cuisine — and the best tiramisu either side of Kalamazoo — have played a big part in Abbracci's success. But dining isn't all about what's on the plate. While overseeing his top-flight professional service staff, Pernetti makes customers feel at home with his effervescent charm and hospitality. Old-timers are treated like family, and new-timers are treated like old-timers — before inevitably becoming such. That's how Caffè Abbracci has kept its tables filled for more than 20 years.