Italian people are known for being passionate, and Antonio Rugiero is no exception. One of his greatest passions is ensuring that Antonio's Cucina Italiana serves only the very best in traditional Italian-style dishes. For the chefs at Antonio's Cucina Italiana, it is only by putting their heart and soul into the cooking that they live up to the time-honored tradition expressed in these simple words: "Passion is part of our business."
"The atmosphere at each of our four restaurant locations is warm, inviting, and perfect for the family," Rugiero says. As a family man with a wife and four children, he would know. His mother, Chef Momma Rita, came up with house specialties such as handmade gnocchi with "Rita sauce," and comfort food like veal osso buco. Other scrumptious specialties include polenta, veal parmesan, lasagnas, and pizza bread that is so mouth-watering it requires no sauce or topping. While awaiting your food, you can watch pasta being made, formed, and shaped in the "pasta factory."
"We had small beginnings...until pizza put us on the map," Rugiero says. In fact, his father started the original restaurant back in 1964 with a pizza pie that consistently won local awards. A keen businessman, the elder Rugiero listened to customers' desires when adding items not only to the pizza, but also to the restaurant's menu — and so the business grew, along with its vast number of loyal patrons.
Today, the business gives back to the community through its annual Feast of St. Anthony celebration, which raises donations for those in need of a hot meal, and its Casino Royale, which contributes to the diabetes research fund at U of M. Rugiero is the president and CEO of his family's four Italian restaurants in the metro Detroit area (two seat 200 guests, while the most recent location can hold a staggering 400 people). Despite its size, even the largest of these restaurants – with its Tuscan style, classic earthy colors, stone walls, full-service bar, and authentic gelato that Rugiero describes as "light, creamy, and utterly delicious, with lots of depth" – will make you feel completely at home.
If you have a passion for true Italian cuisine in restaurants that offer old-world charm, consider yourself invited to any of the four Antonio's Cucina Italiana or Roman Village restaurants.
To learn more about the Rugieros and their restaurants, visit antoniosrestaurants.com.
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