Denny Tornatore

I love food and people and fun, making the restaurant business the perfect fit for me. I love my children more than anything. I have worked my whole life to get where I am and I love being here.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
I am a single father of two beautiful girls, Izzy and Leah Tornatore. They are my world.

Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
I started working at an Italian deli at the young age of 15 Where I learned the ins and outs of authentic Italian foods. After 8 years there I went to Café Positano in Apopka for ten years where I tended bar, managed the place and learned all about front of house service. In 2010 I fulfilled my dream when I opened caffe Positano pizzeria here in college park. In 2015 my life changed when Robert Irvine and restaurant impossible showed up and changed my restaurant into a scratch kitchen and made it my own concept by changing the name to Tornatores. We have been on an uphill run ever since

Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
We are so lucky to have so many great selections as far as where to eat. I really enjoy the taproom, Hillstones, Badass sandwiches, christos , el portro and I could go on and on LOL.

Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I moved to college park in 2010 when my store opened and I love it here. I don’t plan on leaving.

Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
We have so many great people here. I would say being able to talk and learn from other great restaurant owners has been awesome. Kevin Fonzo , Steve from the tap room, Georgio from christos. Great people.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
It would have to be Italy. I have been saving that trip for a honeymoon but I lost the love of my life before I could marry her so at this point I would just go alone lol.

Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
Sopranos is my favorite show ever but I really love cooking shows also.

Q: What advice would you give to people?
Follow your dreams. Don’t be unhappy. Set the course of your life. Don’t burn bridges.

Q: What is something on your bucket list?
My biggest goal is to open an Italian steakhouse. Really nice upscale place. It will happen.

Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
I am all over the place here. It’s either 90s hip hop or 80s rock.

Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
I used to love K restaurant. Had some great meals there and furthered my passion for food.

Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
Joe Gibbs. I am a lifelong Redskins fan. He is a legend in my eyes. We would eat at my place.

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
The people. We are a pretty big city but college park has that small town feel that reminds me of upstate New York. The people here are great. I would do anything for them and they literally rallied behind me during the toughest year ever. I love the people in this community.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
Hopefully preparing to give college park my dream restaurant.

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I am ocd about the dumbest things. I am a clean freak. I hate gnomes for some reason I can’t explain LOL.

Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
I spent a lot of time in Costa Rica and I love it there. I am actively looking for a place there to be able to spend more time.

Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
December. Christmas. Anyone that knows me knows that Christmas is my day. I love that holiday. I love traditions that I do and food and giving.

Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
The fight that this community has put up against COVID is a 10 for sure.

Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My kids.

Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
Sausage and peppers. Roasted garlic. Bread baking.

Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Family. Dinner. Friends. Relax.