Mini-Mayor for the Day in Palmetto Bay

Sometimes good ideas can transcend administration changes. And Palmetto Bay’s ‘Mayor for the Day’ celebration is a shining example. At the invitation of Mayor Karyn Cunningham, 7-year old Dominic Hetenyi nearly floated into Village Hall wearing a neat blue striped tie and a pressed white Oxford. His excitement was palpable.


“I’m feeling like I’m going to explode inside,” exclaimed Dominic. “I can’t wait because this is the best part of my day…EVER! It is 200% better than my trips to Disneyworld and I am honored to be here. I plan on being as great a Mayor as the public wants me to.” If he sounds precocious, it’s because he most certainly is. “I like to talk, like non-stop, and I hope I get to do a lot of that today because I’m good at it.”


The program is also important and heartwarming to the Village Mayor. “It means bringing children in so they can have the opportunity to see how government works and to help the Council see what’s important to our youth,” explained Mayor Cunningham. “We hope Dominic will take home that this is serious business and he’ll learn to listen because good listeners make good policymakers.”


After sitting in the Mayor’s office and making the desk his own, Dominic was toured through a typical day’s work. Dominic visited with several Village departments to learn about the services they provide for the community.  He also joined the Mayor in resident meetings and participated in the budget workshop from the dais.  His questions were fresh, yet intelligent.

Dominic reviews budget numbers next to Palmetto Bay Councilman Patrick Fiore

Dominic reviews budget numbers next to Palmetto Bay Councilman Patrick Fiore

When given the mic at the budget workshop where he sat alongside the full Council on the dais, Dominic said, “I’d like to get money on the budget for charity and healthcare. I’d like to raise money to get kids to be happy.” In response Councilman Singer said he was offering Dominic a job to find good charities to give money away. In response, Mayor Cunningham said that he works for lollipops and Dominic added, “You have to give me $5 and a lollipop.” Out of the mouths of babes!


Dominic is the son of Ainsley and Marcell Hetenyi. He proves you're never too young to put the needs of others before yourself. Father Marcell is a CPA at Scheckner and Hetenyi who lives and works in Palmetto Bay.

Dominic with proud papa, Marcell Hetenyi

Dominic with proud papa, Marcell Hetenyi

Here is an excerpt of Dominic’s speech from the dais.

Trattoria Blu: An Italian Fusion Masterpiece

Forget Brickell for fine dining, the new Trattoria Blu is the real deal and it’s in Palmetto Bay. From the moment you enter, you know this is a foodie’s restaurant. Exceptional, not snooty. The long rectangle-shaped eatery with high ceilings adorned with floating pallets, modern art elements and industrial hanging lights sets the mood, as does the live guitar music. The smiling staffers rush to greet people even before they cross the threshold.

Owner Antonio Chopitea [left] with his talented chefs, partner and servers at  Trattoria Blu.

Owner Antonio Chopitea [left] with his talented chefs, partner and servers at Trattoria Blu.

Food-wise, there is so much that can be said. The menu has a wide selection of dishes, blending Italian with hints of Portugal, France, Spain, Peru, Colombia and Brazil taste and style. But the statement that says it all was what owner Antonio Dasso Chopitea told me with fervor, “We are not here for the money. We are here for the passion of food!” Every moment of your experience at Trattoria Blu enforces that statement.


With a soft opening in late March, Trattoria Blu has quickly become a local favorite, with some patrons coming back regularly. “We’ve made a lot of friends already, at the neighboring car dealerships and professional offices,” explains Antonio. "We are loving Palmetto Bay and appreciate our patrons who are not tourists. They are not ‘Mickey Mousers’… they are real locals. And we are not a ‘Mickey Mouse’ operation. We are serious about our food. It’s a perfect match.”


Although facing US-1 on a sliver of land, Trattoria Blu has outdoor seating framed with greenery that serves as their garden. Basil, mint and other adornments are picked fresh daily for the kitchen. What doesn’t come from their garden is all proudly locally-sourced. All the pasta and meals are made fresh. With the breads and pastas prevalent on the menu, only the best flour(0/0 ultra fine, direct from Italy) is used. More impressive is that Trattoria Blu utilizes a two-chef kitchen. One is for the majority of the menu and the other specializes in wood-fired pizzas.

Pasquale gets things heated up in the wood-fired oven

Pasquale gets things heated up in the wood-fired oven

Direct from Napoli, Italy, Pasquale is the pizza chef. For the past 12 years, he has done nothing but perfect his craft in making artisan Neapolitan pizza. He prides himself in creating unique pizzas every time.


It is he that brought the “black pizza” concept (adding black charcoal to the dough) to Trattoria Blu. I must tell you that the taste is amazing, especially with all the fresh garden ingredients on top.

Chef Mairim Rodrigues serves up great new dishes daily

Chef Mairim Rodrigues serves up great new dishes daily

Mairim Rodrigues is the head chef and is excited to be able to take her Italian training to the next level, fusing it with so many other styles. “The freedom to experiment every day is inspiring,” explains Mairim. Antonio adds, “This is like our own laboratory.


We try different things, including our use of black charcoal which is good for your health and gives our food a special look.” With 20 entrees on the menu, you’d think that would be enough, but there are daily changes and they will gladly accommodate any special requests.


“We start to cook only when the order comes in. Nothing is reheated. So, you spend a little more time waiting for the fresh plate to come to the table, but that is the joy of our restaurant,” explains Antonio. “I don’t want to settle for A-minus or B-plus, everything here must be A+.” And from the sampling of six dishes, I can tell you it is. I highly recommend the open lasagna.


Entrée prices range from $13 to $22. There are also kids’ menu options. Trattoria Blu has a full range of draft beer and wines at affordable prices. You’ll feel like you are getting a good value for everything, including great desserts.


The name Trattoria Blu comes from Antonio’s dog Azul, which of course is blue in Italian. A modern art piece adorns the back wall of the restaurant in Azul’s honor. There are also hints of blue light peeking out of several parts of the dining room.


So much of the restaurant seems emanate from the aura of owner Antonio Dasso Chopitea. With 32 years of experience in the restaurant business and opening eateries in many parts of the world he shares a unique perspective, “We have a lot of fun in the restaurant and everyone loves to do what they do, but (he said with a smile), I break everyone’s balls too!”


Trattoria Blu is located at 17225 S. Dixie Hwy. For hours and information call 305-964-7114 or visit the website at I’d recommend dining in for the complete gastronomic experience, but they also proudly offer food delivery and take-out.

LISTING: 2BR/2BA Condo in Casa Granada

Casa Granada is an established garden apartment-style condo community in Palmetto Bay that is close to it all, yet tucked away in a quiet area.


This unit is ready for your updates.


Buy at a value and refresh for Return On Investment. One of the best locations at Casa Granada, near pool, mail and laundry.


Window views are to best interior greenery. In district with top schools. Complex has community pool, community room, laundry facilities and beautiful garden views. Accordion shutters to patio. Impact windows!


Kitchen should be updated, but is functional. Live or invest. Good CAP rate once updated. Handyman Special. Peaceful living that is near everything!


See all the photos at:

8701 SW 141st Street Unit: H-4 (Casa Granada)
MLS #: A10690062
Palmetto Bay, FL 33176
Listed at $125,000