Owners Mike and Maureen Catatogna
Mike and Maureen Catalogna, owners of Catablu in Fort Wayne, had a vision years ago to create a restaurant with top cooking talent, menus that featured gourmet fare at affordable prices, and a comfortable but eclectic atmosphere. After more than ten years perfecting their experiences, palettes,-and goals, that vision has come true for the couple with their enormously successful Catablu, a Gourmet American Grille on Fort Wayne's historic Broadway corridor.
Mike and Maureen Catalogna met while in college in South Florida in the late 1980's. Upon graduation (Mike in '87, Maureen in '91), they both embarked on-independent restaurant careers in South Florida, a leading culinary region whose reputation boasts top restaurants and restaurant talent from around the world. Maureen gained her experience in large-scale event catering and food and beverage management for major hotels; and Mike acquired his-skills in mid-to-upscale restaurant management, training with nationally ranked chefs and restaurateurs and overseeing all facets of restaurant operations. It's the combination of those skills and talents that allowed them to excel in their fields.
Maureen Catalogna, a Marion, Indiana native, has nearly ten years experience in hospitality management and catering. Her resume dates back to 1991 when she graduated with honors from Florida International University (FIU) with a degree in Hospitality Management. Maureen's experience-ranges from successful management of some of South Florida's leading mid-to-upscale restaurants, to managing a 200-person staff for Embassy Suites' food and beverage department.
Mike Catalogna, also a graduate of Florida International University, holds a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management and possesses over twelve years of restaurant management experience. Upon graduation from FIU in 1987, Mike began working for the nation's fifth largest independently owned restaurant company, training under leading restaurateurs, Dennis Max and Burt Rappaport. Among his accomplishments, Mike sat at the helm of 'Fort Lauderdale's best new restaurant' in 1997, working with South Florida's premier and upcoming chefs, including several 'top 10' chefs' in the country.
Mike and Maureen-started the independent restaurant company, Real Restaurants, Inc. in 1998 and opened Calablu on Dec. 2, 1998. Its success has catapulted Catablu into the upper echelon of regional restaurants and has been featured in local and regional media. Their goal is to open several different restaurant concepts in the region within the next five years, and for Real Restaurants, Inc. to become Indiana's premier independent restaurant company. Mike and Maureen reside in Fort Wayne and have two young children, Katie and Christopher.
Chef Anthony Valenza
Catablu, The Blu Tomato and Blu Spoon Catering Corporate Chef, Anthony Valenza, can't remember a time when he didn't want to be a Chef. A cooking prodigy at a young age, Tony's passion for the culinary arts dated back to his youth when he could spend hours in his Mother's kitchen helping her prepare the family's meals. At age 15, Tony was hired as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, and with his raw talent quickly moved up through the kitchen ranks. At 19, and with the urging of the restaurant's cooks and owners, Tony enrolled in the world-renowned Florida Culinary Institute (FCI), where he graduated in 1991.
Immediately following his schooling at FCI, Tony spent the next nine years in South Florida's hot restaurant scene, initially learning under award-winning chefs, and eventually accruing a dedicated regional following of his own. Receiving rave reviews in multiple consumer and trade publications, Tony's signature dishes and presentations are renowned in South Florida's culinary hotbed.
In 1998, after working with Tony in some of South Florida's leading restaurants, Catablu owner Mike Catalogna asked Tony to help him open a Gourmet American Grille in a town hungry for a culinary facelift. Tony packed his bags for Fort Wayne, excited with the prospect of helping open a restaurant from the ground up' and sharing his knowledge and experience with Fort Wayne residents.
Dedicated to preparing only quality meals with the freshest ingredients, Tony hand-selects his products and prepares all items in-house, including sauces, stocks, breads, and desserts. His eclectic repertoire ranges from a wild mushroom and smoked mozzarella stuffed chicken chop to sesame crusted Chinatown calamari w/dipping sauces, to corn crusted diver scallops with spaghetti squash, just to name a few.
In addition to piloting Fort Wayne's premier Gourmet American Grille, Tony's other talents include baking and small batch beer brewing.