By WENDY TODD
Food worth traveling for – that’s what Favazza’s has consistently delivered since opening in 1978.
John Favazza, who owns and operates the restaurant with his brother, Tony, knows what draws customers from throughout the region – whether from St. Louis, St. Charles or Illinois.
“It’s customer service. You can have the best food in the world, but if you don’t have someone who’s greeting you, serving you and evaluating your needs, you won’t return. All these things go into creating a great dining experience,” John said.
Though attentive customer service has been fundamental to Favazza’s’ success since Vito and Ellen – John and Tony’s parents – opened their first restaurant in 1952, credit also has to be given to the restaurant’s delectable menu. Featuring family recipes, the menu has maintained a loyal following while also enticing first time visitors.
The Sicilian Chicken, a lightly breaded dish accented with olive oil, garlic and lemon is a favorite among new and returning customers. It continues to be the most recognized and asked for dish on the menu.
“We serve it for wedding receptions, parties and corporate events. It’s just a universal ideal chicken dish,” John said.
Everything on the menu is prepared with attention to detail and fresh ingredients.
For beef lovers, the menu item that immediately springs to mind is Steak Sottto. It’s a hearty entrée comprised of a 12-ounce strip sirloin that is charbroiled to perfection and topped with a white wine, lemon butter and garlic sauce; black pepper and fresh mushrooms.
All entrées include a dinner salad tossed with the restaurant’s famous house dressing, a choice of pasta or vegetable, and its “toasty” garlic bread. John explained that garlic bread has become synonymous with the restaurant and is as popular as its most requested dishes. On Saturday nights, the restaurant serves 100-125 loaves of the savory, buttery treat.
Located in the historic Hill neighborhood, the eatery’s setting mirrors the neighborhood’s balance of modern and traditional, while capturing a nostalgic energy. A recent “facelift” added a number of updates to Favazza’s including new carpet, lighting and stone detailing on its walls. There’s even a newly added wine room on the lower level that is designated for small, private events including wedding rehearsal dinners. But the favorite dining atmosphere remains its iconic patio with its large brick fireplace.
“Almost every call we get is a request for the patio. People love it,” John said. The beloved area is available year round and enclosed for the colder months. In addition to casual dining, it serves as a space for catered affairs. Favazza’s caters over 400 events a year at its restaurant on Southwest Avenue and its Rose of the Hill Banquet Center on Edwards Street. With seating for up to 500, Rose of the Hill can handle a wide variety of holiday and other events. Speaking of the holidays, consider gift certificates from Favazza’s – a destination gift that’s not too far from home.
“When you come to Favazza’s, you’re visiting an old Italian neighborhood,” John said. “You’re going to a place with an old world feeling.”
5201 Southwest Ave. • St. Louis • (314) 772-4454 • favazzas.com Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; closed on Sunday
Rose of the Hill Banquet Center 2300 Edwards St. • St. Louis (314) 772-6003 • roseofthehill.com Hours: By appointment