Sarita [a Restaurant] to Take Over Players on Madison Spot

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Players on Madison (14523 Madison Ave., 216-226-5200) will serve its last plate of pasta on Sunday October 4th, after nearly 30 years in business. The popular Lakewood eatery began life as Players Pasta and Pizza when Mark and Julie Sharys opened the doors in the mid-1980s. One of their first chef hires was Michael Symon.

Current owner Gary Lucarelli, who purchased the business years ago from the original owners, announced recently that the time had come to close that chapter of the book. But the next chapter – in fact, an entirely new book – will debut in early November.

Sarita [a restaurant] will take over the space long occupied by Players, and the owner should be pretty comfortable with its surroundings because he’s been cooking there for 16 years. While sad to see Players go, longtime chef Anthony Romano is thrilled to make a fresh start.

"I'm grateful for the experience I've gained at Players over the years, but I'm looking forward to starting a new future with Sarita,” he noted. “Our goal is to provide tastefully healthy options that everyone will love at an affordable price, in a legendary location known for fine dining.”

Romano describes the concept as New American cuisine that blends tastes of the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Pacific into an eclectic-contemporary menu. The health conscious fare will feature flavors from traditional American kitchens plus those from Asian, Latin, and Mediterranean cuisines.

To partner with the fresh new menu will be an all-new interior, to be updated by Romano and co-owner Sandra Smith with an eye towards the 21st century.

The name, says the chef, is an homage to his mentor, a chef who he worked with in kitchens from Key West to Delaware.

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