OLDSMAR - Amici means "friend" in Italian.
Mike Lamando manages Amici's Catered Cuisine, a catering service based in Oldsmar that works with businesses, schools and other organizations in the Tampa Bay region.
He and his staff of eight full-time employees operate out of a 7,000-square-foot facility off Tampa Road and have a kitchen large enough to satisfy the needs of any business or wedding planner.
Lamando graduated from Florida State University and five days later decided he wanted to be an entrepreneur. So, with his degree in hotel and restaurant management, he went to work. He learned the business first-hand and realized that he could make a decent living catering.
"I learned the business from the ground up," Lamando said. "I decided that catering was a lot more lucrative, so I made my move."
He moved to Oldsmar from Palm Harbor in 1997 and things started to take off. He began planning weddings, parties and private events.
His menu also has grown.
Most of his events are on weekends, but Lamando said he wants to start doing more work on weekdays. He's been busy lately, especially after being one of the caterers for the Republican National Convention held last year in Tampa.
Although he specializes in Italian food, he serves almost any type of cuisine. He serves any size group.
The pasta bar is one of his specialties, but he has something for everyone.
"We are not just Italian," Lamando said. "We deal with every ethnic group, no matter which one. We can handle everything and we have a staff that can do anything. We do events of all kinds and it's all made right in our own kitchen."
By the way, Amici's offers free brownies for anyone ordering more than a 10-person minimum delivery.
To contact Amici's, call (813) 855-1100. Amici's is at 107-C Dunbar Ave. in Oldsmar.