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Italian Restaurant Moves Into Downtown Hair Salon

Michel and Robin Rey are broadening their business base to include an Italian restaurant alongside their downtown Parisian salon, in an ultimate pairing of the couple's nationalities.

Move over Paris Hair Design, there's a new Italian restaurant on the block.

The owners of Paris Hair Design are opening a new Italian restaurant, Pensare, in downtown Dunedin at the former longtime location of their hair salon.

Pensare, pronounced pen-SAR-ay, is an Italian verb meaning to think and owners Michel and Robin Rey’s desire to build a menu so delicious that when you are thinking Italian, you will always think Pensare.

The word Pensare also has great meaning to the Reys because they have been thinking of, and thinking on bringing a restaurant to Dunedin since they bought the stretch of shops on the southeast corner Highland Avenue and Main Street in 1994.

The location was ideal. The square footage was large enough. There was room to create outdoor seating. They built Paris Hair Salon in that anchor space and bided their time until it was perfect to bring their dream to fruition.

Thinking of their dream, the Rey’s first concentrated on beautifying the corner of Highland Avenue and Main Street. Downtown felt like it ended on the western corner of Highland and foot traffic didn’t cross over to the eastern part of Main Street.  The Reys partnered with René Johnson, owner of The Living Room, to beautify the southwest corner with a fountain. They also worked with the city to change the walkway in order to move traffic across Highland and steer them to the shops further downtown.

Once the beautification project was complete, the Reys moved Paris Hair Design just next door to a smaller storefront facing Main Street, and started work on transforming the newly vacant space into their dream Italian bistro.

The couple has been married 30 years and they have worked together in Paris Hair Salon since they opened in Dunedin in 1983. Their daughter, Lauren, is also a hair stylist there. The restaurant will compliment Paris Hair Design in that it completes the homage to the couple’s European heritage. Michel Rey is French and studied hair in Paris. Robin Rey is Italian and her grandparents immigrated to the United States from Bari, Italy.

The restaurant will showcase the culinary skills of Chef Ciro Mancini, formerly of Bellini’s, and will serve classic northern Italian food fused with the Gulf’s fresh fish and local organic ingredients. The outdoor seating will sweep its patrons off to a piazza in Italy, while adding flair to the street and continuing the ambiance of downtown all the way past Highland Avenue.

The Reys hope to have Pensare open before the 2012 holidays.

Want to Go?

Can't wait that long? Head down to Paris Hair Design for a haircut and chat with the Reys about good Italian food! Then review your experience on Patch!  

  • Where: Paris Hair Design, 501 Main St.
  • Contact: 727-734-2617, parishairdesign.org
  • Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, closed.

Coming Soon: Pensare, 799 Highland Ave.

Michael Howland December 03, 2012 at 05:17 AM
another of his restaurants fail....
Jayne Krakowiak December 09, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Congrats and good luck, Michel and Robin! You've shown your ability to promote Dunedin, quality and good taste and to be successful through Paris Hair Salon and your improvement of the east side. That area is gorgeous. I absolutely loved Bellini's menu and am glad Ciro Mancini will be back. Can't wait to feast on his creations again!
Laurie Suarez December 16, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Can't wait to try it. I wonder if it will be open for my Birthday on December 28th?
Kim Radloff December 27, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Can't wait guys!
Kevin and Felicia Reilly May 10, 2013 at 08:16 PM
My wife and I just celebrated her birthday at Pensare. What a great experience! Five star quality and five star service. Well done Mike and Robin.

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