Ever since she was a little girl working in her father’s restaurant, Toni Arcobasso knew she would keep the family tradition going. From the age of 12, Toni spent her afternoons and weekends helping out at her father’s restaurant, Arcobasso’s Italian Restaurant. She continued the family business when she opened her own restaurant – T. Arcobasso’s Italian Ristorante – more than a decade ago.
“I always knew I wanted to have a restaurant and my dad helped me open it,” Toni said.
Toni’s dad, Tom Arcobasso, opened his restaurant in 1972 in Dellwood. Known for its family atmosphere and mouth-watering Italian cuisine, it remained a St. Louis County favorite for 25 years. Then, it moved across the Missouri River, where for eight years, it was a St. Charles County favorite.
Her dad later retired, but was instrumental in the opening of T. Arcobasso’s. Before he passed away, he spent much of his time at Toni’s restaurant.
“He was here all the time, and he got to see all his old customers,” said Toni. “He is the reason we are here. He was a really good man.”
T. Arcobasso’s continues the family tradition of pairing delicious, hearty Italian food with an atmosphere that just feels like home. Toni’s sister, Chrissy Ayres, is the restaurant manager and two nieces and a nephew are servers. Toni’s mom, Judy Arcobasso, helps out in various capacities at the restaurant.
“I don’t know what I would do without my nieces and my sister – especially my sister. Chrissy is my right-hand woman.”
T. Arcobasso’s offers an extensive and delectable menu ranging from traditional spaghetti and meatballs and lasagna to tender, juicy steaks and veal to pizza and sandwiches. The fresh, crisp salads are topped with soft ropes of provel cheese and a special house-made dressing that is so tantalizing that many customers use it to butter the hot Italian bread that is delivered daily to the restaurant by Fazio’s Bakery on The Hill. The dressing is sold by the bottle at the restaurant.
Many of the items on T. Arcobasso’s’ menu are named for family members, another tradition handed down from her dad.
Chicken Christina, named after restaurant manager Chrissy, is a breaded chicken entrée topped with a special house-made cream sauce and garnished with broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms.
“It’s heavenly,” Toni said.
The Chicken Concetta is an exceptional dish that Toni likes to recommend to new customers. It’s a charbroiled chicken breast covered in melted provel cheese and topped with fresh mushrooms that have been sautéed in a lemon-butter sauce.
Pasta Dominique, named after Toni’s niece, has a distinctively Cajun flair with a spiced cream sauce, grilled chicken and crawfish, of course.
Pasta Julia, which includes shrimp, scallops and crab meat, is topped with a spicy red sauce that Toni said was created with her dad in the tiny little kitchen at Arcobasso’s years ago. His memory inspires much of what Toni creates.
“When I opened here, I wanted something to be named after my dad,” Toni said, explaining her inspiration for Bruschetta a la Thomas. “He made the bruschetta for us at home. So I put it on my menu and I make it just like he did and it’s yummy!”
T. Arcobasso’s has an extensive wine list to pair with its entrées, as well a full bar and a lengthy martini menu. The restaurant also offers to-go catering upon request.
Whether it’s a weeknight dinner or a special night out with friends, Toni promises, “customers feel at home when they come here. Everybody’s friendly, and everybody’s nice.”