Downtown Wellen Spotlight | Villani & Co.

Villani & Co. Steak Seafood and Raw Bar is yet another mouth-watering restaurant concept coming soon to Downtown Wellen! We spoke with Tommy Villani, Managing Partner of this upcoming spot, to discuss what restaurant goers can expect once open.

[Wellen Park]: Tell us about the inspiration behind Villani & Co. — how did the concept for this restaurant come to be?

[Tommy]: “Villani & Co was the final piece of the evolution of the OTW Restaurant Group. As we have developed our concepts away from the large entertainment venues and towards smaller more sustainable food models (Irma’s Tacos, Lucarelli’s Italian Restaurant), it became apparent to build an American Contemporary high-end restaurant that would really feature the creativity of both myself and Executive Chef Mike Leopold. 

We are excited to roll out an eclectic new menu, interior design, and high-end cocktail bar and restaurant that will be a true destination for Wellen Park and the surrounding area.” 

OTW Restaurant Group’s Managing Partner, Tommy Villani.


[Wellen Park]: What’s it like to have a restaurant named after you? We’d think it would be a dream come true!

[Tommy]: “To be honest, this was not the first name we landed on; however, with some encouragement from those closest to us, we felt like this name could be a fun homage to all the hard work that our family has put into this restaurant group. 

Carrying the family name comes with high expectations both for myself and our customers. I can promise everyone that visits Villani & Co. that our service and product will live up to my expectations with our family name on the menu.”

A scallop dish currently being tested by Chef Mike for Villani & Co.’s menu.


[Wellen Park]: Tell us about a menu item you helped develop.

[Tommy]: “Executive Chef Mike Leopold has had very much free reign over the creativity of this menu. At the beginning, Chef and I sat down to discuss the concept that we wanted to deliver. My only guidance was to put out a product that was superior to anything else in the area. From our raw bar, to the prime cuts of meat, to the sustainable seafood selections, we want every person who steps through our doors to have a culinary experience unlike any in SWFL.”

[Wellen Park]: What does “Sustainable Seafood” mean on Villani & Co.’s menu?

[Tony]: “Sustainable seafood is seafood that is caught or farmed in a way that considers the long-term vitality of the species and the well-being of the oceans. The goal is to showcase as much locally caught Gulf of Mexico product as possible. All other seafood sourced for Villani & Co. will feature sustainable products focused on protecting our valuable ecosystems across the country. This also leads to a much higher quality product for all of our customers.”

An example of the unique beverages that can be found at Irma’s Tacos, another OTW restaurant.


[Wellen Park]: Tell us about your plans for putting together our area’s largest bourbon, whiskey, and scotch selection! 

[Tommy]: “We gained a lot of experience in this world when we opened up Irma’s Tacos, Craft Beer & Tequila Bar in July of 2020. We built up a premium list of over 100 tequilas, boasting one of the largest tequila inventories in all of SWFL. 

Utilizing the knowledge of our great bar staff alongside our incredible distributors, we are able to put together a unique, rare, and delicious bourbon, whiskey, and scotch collection which will be featured in what we call The Library or our signature center-lit bar at Villani & Co.”  

[Wellen Park]: Are there any other aspects of Villani & Co.’s menu that you’d like to highlight?

[Tommy]: “There are two sections of this menu that I am truly excited to bring to the Wellen Park customers.  

First, we will feature one of the finest raw bars in the area. We will source fresh oysters from all around the country paired with the freshest shrimp, clams, and crab available. 

The second part of the menu that really excites me is our weekly a la carte seafood and prime cuts section of the menu. This will feature premium cuts of meat and weekly fresh seafood prepared to your liking with a choice of two sides.”

[Wellen Park]: When can we expect Villani & Co.’s grand opening?

[Tommy]: “We are working hard every day with our construction team to be open by the middle of February 2023.”  

[Wellen Park]: Aside from Villani & Co., what other aspects of Downtown Wellen are you excited for? 

[Tommy]: “Downtown Wellen provides a much-needed community gathering spot in a central location between North Port and South Venice. Downtown Wellen will boast some of the best culinary experiences, live music, and shopping to one of the fastest-growing populations in SWFL. A premium experience for all residents of the area to enjoy for a great date night or a family outing.” 

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