Restaurant closing: Jalea to become bigger Yume Sushi

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Dutch restaurateur and international entrepreneur Ambrish Piare has closed the Peruvian/Spanish restaurant Jalea on Sarasota's Main Street and has sold the space to his neighbor across the street. The building will be transformed into a bigger Yume Sushi, known and praised regionally for its sushi and sashimi.

Piare, who also owns Cafe Americano and the nightclub Ivory, said he is working now to integrate the staff of Jalea into the workforce at his other two enterprises. Piare bought Jalea in 2012 when it was called Sangria Tapas Bar. He kept many of the Spanish menu items but expanded the concept to embrace Peruvian specialties.

"The building was always too big to support the niche cuisine we were doing," said Piare. "But, we worked with it until it became clear that the size of the place should be devoted to something else. My friend, Baw, across the street was looking to expand so this was an opportunity for us both. I love the food at Yumi Sushi and now I and the rest of the town will enjoy it in a more spacious venue."

Ambrish Piare, born and raised in Utrecht, Netherlands, came to Sarasota two years ago for a vacation with his wife and children. The family fell in love with the town and the beaches, bought a home in Lakewood Ranch and Piare decided to make the Sarasota area their permanent home. With a strong and varied background in both the food industry and international management, he decided to start his new life in Florida by indulging his love of hospitality and wine. For the past two years Piare has been expanding the culinary concept of Cafe Americano beyond its Italian borders to embrace the foods of all the Mediterranean countries. And he's expanding and refining the Cafe Americano wine cellar to make it both European and exciting with food-friendly wines. To encourage guests to try new wines, Cafe Americano offers half-price on any bottle of wine in the cellar with an entree on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

"Some of the favorites from the Jalea menu such as the bread pudding, paella, and perhaps some of the ceviche will migrate to Cafe Americano either as menu items or daily specials," said Piare. "And guests from Jalea will most likely see their favorite servers from Jalea at Cafe Americano. That is my hope."

As the Culinary Director for ABC 7, I whip up cooking segments on ABC 7 News at Noon, along with recipes, cooking tips, reviews and great food finds on MySuncoast Dining at www.mysuncoast.com