Any time of year Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria is inviting. Right now the warm tones of the Tuscanesque walls combined with the rich wood of the bar feel like a welcoming hug as guests come in from the cold. In the spring and summer, the veranda offers the opportunity to dine alfresco while remaining wrapped in that warm embrace of hospitality.
That embrace comes from the family at the heart of the operation. Vito and Marianna Moreci purchased Roberto’s, a take-out operation, from its namesake in 1985. In 1993, son Pasquale convinced Vito to add a small dining room. It was a wise decision. The dining room was expanded in 1995 and again in 2001. Pasquale and his sister Rosalia now preside over a dining room with seating for 150, three private party rooms that can accommodate 55 guests each, and seating for 50 on the veranda. The famous carryout and catering that started it all is still available, much to the delight of those who consider Roberto’s the finest pizza in the area.
To make each guest feel special, “We all work as a team,” Pasquale says. “Teamwork is big with us, because no one person can do it all.” The team includes members who have been at Roberto’s for close to 20 years. Beloved bartender Franco, or “Uncle Frank,” remembers everyone and their preferred drink order. Angelo M. and Janet are also familiar faces to the families who have grown up visiting the restaurant.
Recently, a new face joined the family atmosphere. Chef Joe Cirrintano is in the kitchen, working side by side with Pasquale to refine the menu and develop outstanding seasonal specials. “Sauces make the food, so we put a lot of time into making our sauces special,” Pasquale explains.
These sauces enliven fine steaks and fresh fish delivered daily. Roberto’s is an Open Table Diners’ Choice Winner, with voters singing the praises of the pastas and veal dishes.
Chef Cirrintano’s background is in Sicilian cooking and it shows in the inventive use of vegetables and other ingredients in Roberto’s menu.
Winter specials include Rib-eye alla Portobello, a bone-in Angus steak grilled with a roasted portobello demi-glaze served with mash potatoes, Cape Sante con Polenta, delectable polenta-crusted jumbo sea scallops with lemon caper sauce served with sautéed spinach, and Ravioli con Zucca, ravioli stuffed with butternut squash topped with sweet potato puree and brown butter sage.
The wine list is expansive, filled with interesting selections from California, Italy, Washington, Germany, and Australia, with France represented through fine champagne suitable for celebrating life’s finest moments. Many wines are available by the glass, and there are some exceptional bottles among the varied reds and whites. Pasquale searches out wines that best complement menu items, and he is happy to advise guests on a wonderful wine to accompany their table’s choices.
The Morecis and their staff excel at creating private events and are happy to plan something outside of the restaurant’s usual service hours.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing Friday evening out or to celebrate a milestone like an engagement or baby on the way, it’s nice to do it with family, which is why it’s extra nice to plan it at Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria.
Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria is located at 483 Spring Road in Elmhurst. Call 630-279-8474 for carryout or 630-279-8486 to make a reservation. To learn more, visit robertosristorante.com.
– Michelle Crowe