Ask Erio’s Ristorante’s owner, Pete Pulizzi, what’s new and he will smile and say, “We’re still here.”
It’s a fact that should not be a surprise considering that Pulizzi knows a restaurateur’s success is built on creating long-term relationships with customers and staff. After 24 years, it’s a winning combination that continues to bring success to one of St. Peters’ most iconic culinary landmarks.
“We have good people working here,” Pulizzi said, explaining how consistency and his staff have been the secret to keeping customers coming back. “I have some people that have been here for 20 years, another for 15 and another for 16 years. My chef has been with me for 28 years. That’s why the food is always consistent. And people know that and that’s a win-win.”
That win-win relationship starts in the kitchen, where only the freshest ingredients are used to recreate the time-honored recipes for which Erio’s is known – recipes featuring locally sourced produce such as homegrown tomatoes, basil and eggplants in addition to the best meats and seafood including certified Angus beef and chicken that has never been frozen.
“I don’t cut corners. We buy nothing but the best. That’s how you stay on top. You have to keep it fresh,” Pulizzi said. Raised on a farm in his native Sicily, he understands the true meaning of fresh. “I know the difference (in quality produce) and how it makes the difference in the taste, especially in the tomatoes used in my sauce.”
Erio’s homemade red sauce is the foundation used in of his Pasticcio De Lasagna, the ultimate Sicilian creation. Its layers are laden with fresh ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan. Marinara, made with fresh tomatoes, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, becomes the perfect enhancement for Erio’s Fettuccine Primavera, which utilizes seasonal produce including broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and zucchini.
But as good as his reds are, you can’t ignore his white sauce. Made with 40-percent heavy cream and real Parmigiano-Reggiano, the sauce encases Tortellini Alla Tricia (beef and chicken filled pasta “doughnuts” laced with sweet peas, mushrooms and prosciutto). Delizioso! But if you’re not craving pasta, Erio’s Ristorante provides a full menu of entrees, salads and appetizers along with something special.
“We always have specials,” Pulizzi said, pointing out the chef’s specials displayed on the board inside the front entrance. “Tonight we have grouper.”
Grouper is an excellent summer entrée, which Erio’s chefs lightly bread, bake and sauce with lemon, garlic and capers.
A special sure to make carnivores happy is the short rib ravioli, a perfect balance of beef and pasta.
Daily specials vary and can range from Osso Buco to rib-eye steaks to seafood risotto. For the latest lowdown just call and ask what the day’s specials are.
Bridging from specials to specialties means talking pizza – a signature dish since day one. Scratch dough is ladled with Erio’s homemade sauce and topped to order. You can even chose your cheese, either mozzarella or provel. In the middle of tomato season, give the Pizza di Palermo a try. It’s brushed with garlic and extra-virgin olive oil, then layered with bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella. Think of it as caprese gone wild on flatbread, only better.
No matter which pizza or menu dish you try there’s one thing guests can count on: Erio’s will always keep it fresh and provide professional, friendly service from its expert staff.