Dining at Tony's restaurant is an experience. An experience that starts with owner Vincent Bommarito and Vince Bommarito Jr, the son and grandson of the namesake.
“My mother gave me the keys on graduation night and said you're the new manager of the spaghetti house, go down there in the morning,” Vince Bommarito Sr. said. “I've been here ever since.”
Tony’s restaurant is a known spot for proms, birthdays, anniversaries, and has been a St. Louis staple for more than 70 years.
Vince Bommarito Sr. is honored to prepare food and provide the location where people make their fondest memories.
“We have some families we're serving the fourth generation," said Vince Bommarito Sr.
Some customers started their future lives in the restaurant’s seats.
“People in their 70s and 80s came here when they were going on dates over spaghetti and meatball plates and glass of wine, it's been fun,” said Vince Bommarito Sr.
Tony's has stood the test of time by listening to what its customers want.
“Years ago when they wanted to get dress up, we made a dress up rule, but if people want to be casual be casual, but no flip flops or baseball caps at Tony's,” said Vince Bommarito Sr.
Executive chef Vince Bommarito Jr, the restaurant’s third generation, said they continue to adapt, dishing out more fish and lighter pasta than ever before.
“It’s changed a lot from a diner to a spaghetti house to a steakhouse,” said Vince Bommarito Jr.
But for his family, flawless service from the front door to the kitchen to the table is the most important.
“We want to take care of the people,” said Vince Bommarito Sr.
The James Beard Awards are like the Oscars for the restaurant business. This year, "Tony's" was nominated for outstanding service, its first appearance as a semi-finalist.
With decades of success, the family could open a restaurant location anywhere, but they choose to keep their roots where they have always been in downtown St. Louis.
“The city's been good to our family,” said Vince Bommarito Sr. “We're city people, we were in one location for 40 years and they knocked down that building to make room for the St. Louis Rams coming into play so we moved into the space we're in now,” said Vince Bommarito Jr.
Like the day his mother gave him the key, Vince Bommarito Sr. will one day do the same. But not yet.
“The day it’s not fun no more, I'll give the keys to the boys,” said Vince Bommarito Sr.
As they have for generations, this family plans to continue serving the best of St. Louis and making it proud.
“I feel blessed to be here and be part of a St. Louis institution,” said Vince Bommarito Jr.
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