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Greenhouse Grill celebrates 10 years of fine dining for all

By Staff | Jul 5, 2010

Standing in front of their restaurant, Greenhouse Grill owners Carlo DiSomma and Diane Badalich are eager to share their eclectic yet simple menu with island diners.

For the past decade, the classically elegant Greenhouse Grill has established itself as one of Sanibel’s finest dining establishments, featuring an eclectic menu which offers a myriad of savory selections that is sure to please even the most discriminating palate.

But what some folks don’t yet know is that the charming lunch and dinner spot offers a varied menu with "everyday" dining options, from simple salads and panini sandwiches to pasta dishes and desserts too delicious for words to describe.

The man behind the Greenhouse Grill is owner/chef Carlo DiSomma, a skilled culinary artist born in Naples, Italy who previously steered top-shelf kitchens including Rolling Rock Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., Cafe Adeline in Albany, Ga. and Bellini’s on Captiva.

"I’ve been in this profession for over 50 years," said DiSomma, whose signature dish is a fresh seafood bouillabaisse. "I prepare our food using the best of my knowledge. But I didn’t create our menu based only on my taste. I base it upon the tastes of our customers."

While at Bellini’s, DiSomma met — and eventually married — Diane Badalich, the Greenhouse Grill’s co-owner who can often be seen greeting and seating restaurant guests. Together, the pair has become one of the island’s most beloved and respected eatery owners and purveyors of taste.

DiSomma, left, and Badalich share one of the restaurant's cozy booths, surrounded by an elegant but comfortable decor.

In 2000, the couple purchased the Greenhouse Grill, keeping a number of menu items from the previous owners but adding DiSomma’s culinary expertise. Among his specialties and most popular dishes served at the restaurant are a lobster and crab ravioli, balsamic lamb, grilled scallops and veal osso bucco.

"If there had been enough time, we were going to change the name of the restaurant to Romeo & Juliet’s," noted Badalich.

The Greenhouse Grill’s menu, which invites diners to, "Discover the ancient flavors and the unique freshness for the discriminating palate to sinfully tempt your mind," features an assortment of carefully crafted appetizers, including both a tomato and shrimp bruschetta, salmon carpaccio and crispy calamari.

Lunch panini selections include sirloin angus, sausage, turkey club and vegetable tower. Favorite midday selections include eggplant parmesan, rigatoni boscaiola and linguine mediterranean.

"I’m always keeping my eyes on new products, because our industry changes on a daily basis," said DiSomma, who personally chooses the meats and vegetables served at the restaurant. "I look for the freshest, healthy ingredients. Most of them are very simple, basic items… but blended together perfectly."

On the dinner menu, they offer chicken bianco, marsala and parmigiano, rosemary lamb, fresh Gulf grouper, New York strip and Filet Poure, prime black angus tenderloin grilled and served with a port wine sauce and melange peppers. In addition to pasta and vegetarian selections, they also offer several daily and weekly specials as well as a children’s menu.

Badalich, who mentioned that Tom Brokaw, Joan Collins, Linda Evans and Dan Brown have visited the eatery, explained that they are most grateful for every customer who has visited the Greenhouse Grill during its first decade of operation.

"We always treat our customers like they’re celebrities," she said.

DiSomma also encouraged anyone who has yet to experience the Greenhouse Grill for themselves to stop by and sample their elegant yet simple menu selections.

"Our dishes are constantly an evolution," he added. "If you really want to experience something unusual, something you’ve never tried before, come on in. But we have the basics, too. We have something for everyone."

The Greenhouse Grill, located in the Islander Center at 2407 Periwinkle Way, is open seven days a week (in season) from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 472-6882 for reservations and daily menu specials.