Lori and John Giattino came to South Florida to make their dreams come true, and this summer, they will invite the community to enjoy the food they love when Giovanni’s Healthy Café opens on State Road 7.
Located near the Publix store on the west side of SR 7, just south of Southern Blvd., the Giattinos are completely renovating the space and expect to open this month. Their goal is to have people walk through the door and feel like they have entered the outdoor patio of an Italian café.
“Our food is served healthy, with no extra oils. It’s a healthier cuisine by its nature because everything is fresh,” John said. “Most of our dishes really focus on vegetables and what is good for you.”
The Giattinos will get their produce fresh daily and their meats fresh every other day, kept fresh in the walk-in refrigerator. They have found local vendors to partner with for their daily fresh items and are focusing on alternative ingredients for the foods that they make.
One dish that patrons will have the opportunity to enjoy with a cup of coffee is their signature quiche created by head chef and longtime friend Steve Mlinarz.
The quiche is made with two types of cheese — gruyere and cheddar — and also includes diced ham and asparagus.
“We will be making these fresh,” John said. “This does not have a regular quiche crust; it has an almond flour crust.”
Lori noted that it is “not as high in carbs, as you find in white flour or processed flours.”
In particular, the dish is great for people with diabetes.
“I’m a diabetic, so white flour is not good for me. It spikes my blood sugar,” John explained. “However, the almond flour, coconut flours, they don’t do that to me. So, I lean more toward a low carbohydrate diet.”
The husband-and-wife team are always looking for ways to satisfy palates in a healthier way.
“If you’re going to eat, one, it should taste really good; and two, it should be good for you,” John said. “It shouldn’t add to your weight or your cholesterol. It should just make you feel better.”
Lori has always had a passion to own her own restaurant, and Giovanni’s Healthy Café is a dream come true.
“I absolutely love food. I love to bake. I love to cook, and one of my favorite things at home was the look on my family’s face when I would prepare a meal,” Lori said. “I wanted to bring that here, where our recipes are so delicious. I want people to smile when they look at the plate.”
Along with Mlinarz, Lori is the artisan behind many of the recipes that people will enjoy at Giovanni’s.
“It has taken us about a year and a half to go through so many recipes,” John said. “Everything that we’re going to serve here, we eat at home.”
Another staple that will be found at Giovanni’s are Lori’s crafted smoothies. John’s favorite is her Oreo smoothie, which lets him enjoy the closest thing to an Oreo cookie without compromising his diet.
“I have created many recipes involving a yogurt base, so that is much healthier than adding an ice cream base,” Lori said. “Everything will include fresh fruit. Instead of chocolate chips, it will be carob chips.”
The kitchen will not serve any fried foods. “It’s either baked, broiled or grilled,” John said. “Some of the recipes originate from my grandparents’ recipes.”
With a heritage that is both Irish and Italian, where did Giovanni come from?
“My dad was John, and I’m John, obviously, and I found out after my father passed away, when I found his birth certificate, that he was actually baptized Giovanni Giattino, and I never knew that. He always went by John.”
Giovanni’s Healthy Café honors this piece of family history. Central to the Giattino family is the idea that food brings people together.
Originally from New York, the Giattinos have lived in the western communities since 2014. They both left their day jobs to pursue their dream of sharing Lori’s food creations with a community — and John’s dream to have a place where he could invite the entire community over to sit down, laugh and eat.
“Everyone I’ve met has been very nice. It’s quite a different culture from living in New York City or the surrounding areas,” John said. “The people here are a lot more relaxed. They’ll take the time to talk to you.”
With renovations nearly complete, the Giattinos are putting the final touches on Giovanni’s Healthy Café.
“We’re open 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday,” John said. “However, there will be several Sundays during the year that we will open up, such as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.”
Giovanni’s Healthy Café is located at 125 State Road 7, Suite 107, in Royal Palm Beach. For more information, visit www.giovannishealthycafe.com or search “Giovanni’s Healthy Café” on Facebook.