Joe and Tom Alagna don’t just know the restaurant business; for them, it’s a way of life.
Food was a special part of growing up. Both helped out with the family pizzeria business their father started in St. Louis. Following their parents’ retirement, Joe and Tom each got jobs in other fields, but after a short time they naturally gravitated back to the restaurant business.
“It’s all we know,” Tom joked.
In 1983, the brothers embarked on a shared mission to bring their family’s Old World Sicilian recipes to the St. Louis area. Their first pizzeria restaurant, in the Dellwood area, was aptly named Fratelli’s, which means brothers in Italian. In 1996, they moved their restaurant to St. Charles County and added more Italian favorites to the menu.
Now, 35 years later, the result of their labors is a charming Italian restaurant full of delicious food and offering the perfect atmosphere for any occasion. The entire restaurant was renovated last year with special attention to detail and beautiful new fixtures that add a casual sophistication to the dining room’s ambiance.
The brothers describe their entrees as “Sicilian-Italian comfort food – perfect for families.”
“We aren’t a gourmet Italian restaurant,” Joe explained. “We make what we know and love and that is fresh, homemade, comfort Italian.”
The menu is bursting with familiar options like Ravioli, Spaghetti and Fettuccini Alfredo, but it also boasts more unique Italian dishes such as Penne Alla Salute – penne pasta tossed with mushrooms, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and Pomodoro sauce. A St. Louis standard, Baked Mostaccioli features tubular pasta, meatballs and meat sauce topped with provel and mozzarella cheese and baked until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is nicely toasted.
Both Joe and Tom admit that it is nearly impossible for them to choose a favorite dish because they love them all, but they agree that the Chicken Picata and Chicken Spiedini are top picks among their loyal customers.
“We have people come in just to get the spiedini,” Tom said.
Fratelli’s also serves salmon, halibut and filet mignon as well as a great selection of appetizers and salads. There really is something for everyone.
Key to their success is the high priority the brothers place on keeping the menu fresh and homemade.
Fratelli’s sauces, pizza dough, sausage and even its meatballs are made by hand, from scratch and in-house daily. Their signature house dressing is made on site but also is available throughout St. Louis at area Dierbergs and Schucks stores. Still, nothing tops a visit to the restaurant where guests can enjoy the freshest dressing atop a Fratelli’s Special Salad – iceberg lettuce with tomatoes, onions, olives, salami, ham, pepperoni and provel cheese, of course.
Great food plus great service has customers coming back for more – and the friendliness and knowledge of the staff is why regulars know their servers by name.
“We have staff that have been with us for 30 years or more and I think that makes a difference in our restaurant,” Tom said.
Fratelli’s has maintained a solid reputation in the area for outstanding cuisine. But for those who haven’t experienced Fratelli’s yet, Joe and Tom invite them to be part of their family – if only for a meal.