Who he is: Brian Ridolfo, 40, grew up in Lake Worth, and graduated from John I. Leonard High.
After college — he earned a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in theater design from FAU — he spent about a year in New York City, but the opportunities were limited and it just wasn’t home. Ridolfo loves Delray’s “quaint, small-town feel,” and that you can do everything here, from black tie to flips-flops, five-star dining to the street food at the green market.
Ridolfo has 20 years’ experience in the live entertainment industry, including serving as the technical director of the Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach and the assistant director of production from the Palm Beach Opera in West Palm Beach. But most of his careeer has been as technical director at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts at Old School Square.
His innovative thinking, including developing the Free Friday Concert Series at the Pavilion, earned him a promotion to assistant artistic director.
Ridolfo comes from a big family, and he tries to make Sunday dinner at his parents’ house as often as possible. It might be low-key with just immediate family or crazy-crowded with aunts, in-laws and whoever else shows up. “I live for that family time. It’s how I recharge and remember what’s really important.”
Ridolfo and his wife, Marie, have one daughter, 3-year-old Siena. They live in Delray Beach.
Favorite breakfast place?
Every Sunday my daughter and I go on a breakfast date. We like to try new places but often find ourselves in familiar haunts. I think our favorite is The Beach Break in Boynton Beach. The food is great and the staff is fun. And Siena likes the aquarium.
The Beach Break, 2617 S. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach.Info: 561-509-6137
Favorite Happy Hour spot?
Buddha Garden on Atlantic Avenue. Try the stir fry French green beans and the Emperor’s Sriracha martini.
Buddha Garden, 217 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. Info: 561-450-7557; buddhagardendelraybeach.com
Favorite lunch spot?
I’m a sucker for the Cuban sandwich at Cabana El Rey. It’s right across the street from the office so I can sneak over for a late lunch. I guess my secret will be out after this, but I literally mean sneak over, I usually get a quiet table for one in the back and read during lunch. It’s my recharging time.
Cabana El Rey, 105 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. Info: 561-274-9090; cabanarestaurant.com
Favorite romantic restaurant?
I don’t think it gets more romantic than the Sundy House. My wife and I like to get a drink and appetizer at the bar and then take a walk around the lush gardens.
The Sundy House, 106 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Info: 561-272-5678; sundyhouse.com
Favorite place for Sunday brunch?
Luna Rosa, great food right across the street from the beach. Just get there early or be prepared to wait.
Caffe Luna Rosa, 34 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach. Info: 561-274-9404; caffelunarosa.com
Having a 3-year-old I do a lot of parks; In fact I have become somewhat of an expert. My daughter identifies them by color and amenity, so I would have to say my favorite is the pink park with the puppies (translation: Lake Ida Park). There are two different playgrounds, large open fields for running around or playing ball, and a nature walk around Lake Ida.
Lake Ida Park, 1455 Lake Ida Road, Delray Beach. Info: 561-966-6600. Pbcgov.com
Favorite grocery or green market?
We love the green market in Delray. We are there almost every Saturday during season and never leave empty-handed. I always make sure to stop by the loose tea and spice booth.
Delray Beach Green Market, S.E. Fourth Avenue, just south of Atlantic Avenue. Info: 561-276-7511; www.delraycra.org
Favorite fine-dining restaurant?
This is a difficult question, there are so many great restaurants to choose from. Judging strictly by the fact the maître d’s all know me by name, I would have to say my favorite fine-dining spot is Tramonti. It is the sister restaurant to Angelo’s of Mulberry Street in NYC. If you haven’t been, try it. And get the Spedini.
Tramonti, 119 E Atlantic Ave ., Delray Beach. Info: 561-272-1944; tramontidelray.com
Favorite restaurant to take out-of-town guests?
Dada. It is our go-to place in general, but we always make it a point to take out-of-town guests there. We love the unique atmosphere, and Walter and the rest of the staff are incredible. The menu is updated often so there is always something new to try, but they always keep the favorites (mine is currently the meatloaf).
Dada, 52 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. Info: 561-330-3232.
Favorite tourist-y place to take out-of-towners?
I’m not sure I would call it tourist-y, but we never miss an opportunity to take our guests for a night on Atlantic Avenue. We just start at one end and walk down to the other stopping for a bite or drink at some of the many restaurants or popping into a shop to browse around. At the end of the night we hitch a ride home on the downtowner so nobody has to drive.