Archive for the ‘Charlie Gitto’s “In the News”’ Category
By Nancy Stiles Thu., Jan. 30 2014 at 8:00 AM
It’s an ongoing battle to claim the original St. Louis toasted ravioli. Restaurant Impossible participant Mama Campisi’s maintains it is the home of the original t-rav, as does Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill. Either way, both legends revolve around the Oldani family. Strike another point for Charlie Gitto’s though: Thrillist named the restaurant’s toasted ravioli on its list of 33 iconic American foods.
The toasted ravioli is up there with real icons like pastrami at Katz’s Deli in New York and chicken and waffles at Roscoe’s in Los Angeles. Do you think Charlie Gitto’s deserves the title?
Charlie himself, through PR spokeswoman Tracey Whiltshire, told us that he was, of course, honored to be included on the list. “Charlie Gitto’s is the birthplace of the original toasted ravioli, 34 years ago. It’s handmade,” he said. “We are honored to be in an elite group representing St. Louis restaurants.”
Well, there you have it. Do you think Thrillist got it right? You voted Rigazzi’s the most overrated t-ravs, so at least that wasn’t Thrillist’s choice. Or should toasted ravioli even represent our city at all? Sound off in the comments — what’s St. Louis’ most iconic food?
(KTVI) – Still looking for a way to treat mom to something special on Mother’s Day? Take her to The Hill. Tim Ezell was whipping up something special for mom at Charlie Gitto’s.
Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill recently completed an extensive renovation of the restaurant’s space at 5226 Shaw Ave. The goal was to update the restaurant with new amenities but still keep the original, historic charm. Many of the unique attributes such as the round, stained glass window, wrap-around seating at the end of the bar and the famous “Charlie Gitto” booth were restored to their original splendor, according to a press release.
The entire bar was gutted and replaced with a new red onyx bar top and elongated back bar. The back bar was expanded to the ceiling to create a more functional space. The new light fixtures in the dining rooms are described as romantic with subtle gilded gold and black accents. The LaSorda room and Garden Rooms were re-carpeted and all of the restrooms were completely refurbished.
“The bar is phenomenal; definitely my favorite feature of the renovations,” says Samantha Vogt, who handles human resources and management system coordination for the restaurant. Overall, the renovations are, “elegant and formal; it’s who we are,”she says.
A tremendous amount of design, attention to detail and physical labor went into the renovation. The team members include Charlie Gitto, Jr., Paula Gitto, Debbie Donnelly, owner of Donnelly interiors, and Brian & Joe Hawkins from Hawkins Construction. Pam Hawkins, owner of PH Collections, created the art glass window in the men’s restroom.
Jim Nations with Nations Food Service Equipment supplied all the equipment and installation. Ted Liebig, owner of Stone Trends, fabricated the red onyx tops and new restroom tops. The painters from Brandan Painting Company applied a rich chocolate brown glaze on the wood paneling, as well as repainting the ceiling and walls with updated colors. The faux painters from Nettie White Interiors added their magic on the restroom walls and the dining room windows.
A good chance to check out the new renovations: Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill is one of many South St. Louis restaurants participating in this week’s Restaurant Week on The Hill, which runs through Sun., April 21.
And, stay tuned for new menu items rolling out to celebrate Charlie Gitto’s 32nd anniversary.
You may have (and if you follow @stlmag_relish), should have) known that the first annual Restaurant Week on the Hill began on Monday night and runs through next Sunday. You may have known that a dozen restaurants are participating. Chances are you’ve not been to one of them in a while, or at all. So go. Pick one. Make a reservation.
Restaurant Weeks are a chance for restaurant owners to squeeze some flesh, hug old friends, say hello new ones. It’s a chance for them to show off. To reemphasize who they are and what they do.
On Monday night, Charlie Gitto. Jr., did just that. He threw a party to celebrate the completion of the renovation of the his 32-year-old restaurant, Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill, the former Angelo’s on the Hill, the place where a certain scribe had his first taste of toasted ravioli at about age 8. Gitto’s on the Hill is one of several alleged birthplaces of that pillowy part of our heritage.
The famous “Charlie Gitto” corner booth was restored; gold and black chandeliers were hung; bathrooms were spiffed up. But the most dramatic improvement was to the bar. The back bar was raised, graciously, to the ceiling, and the wooden bartop replaced with one made from red onyx. Subtly lit from below, the effect is dramatic. Mesmerizing is not an overstatement.
And that’s the reason for this missive. Make a reservation for Restaurant Week on the Hill. Gitto, Jr. (below, leaning on the new bartop) would love if you chose his place, but even if you don’t, stop in for a glass of wine, or just to check out that onyx. If you’re lucky, Charlie will tell you the provenance of the toasted rav. He might even let you try one. Ah, but nobody can eat just one.
By Kaitlin Steinberg
March 19, 2013
Like any good superhero, culinary or otherwise, toasted ravioli has quite the origin story.
Actually, it has several origin stories, none of which can be definitively proven or disproven. The most prevalent anecdote is that the St. Louis staple was invented in the 1940s when a chef accidentally dropped ravioli in hot oil instead of boiling water. This ostensibly took place at Angelo’s Pasta House, which is now Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill. Of course, the folks at Mama’s on the Hill claim it originated there. Lombardo’s is also famous for the dish, as is Rigazzi’s.
The true history of toasted ravioli has been lost in the sands of time, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty. Today is National Ravioli Day (we don’t know what semi-influential figure declared it so, but God love him), and to celebrate, we’ve rounded up the best toasted ravioli in St. Louis. While citizens in lesser other cities mark this day of days by eating plain ol’ boiled ravioli, here in the city where dreams are born, we will be feasting on t-ravs.
Here are our picks for best toasted-ravioli spots in town:
(5226 Shaw Avenue; 314-772-8898)
Of course the most widely accepted supposed birthplace of toasted ravioli is on the list. Charlie Gitto’s stuffs its tiny ravioli with a mixture of meat, cheese and spinach, and the shells are fried to crispy perfection. Top that off with grated Parmesan, and you have a truly traditional plate of t-ravs worthy of the title “original.”
Source: Riverfront Times Blog
By Heidi Glaus
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – It is a neighborhood as rich in history as it is in alfredo sauce. A place where pasta is always boiling and so is a delicious debate about the origin of toasted ravioli. “When I first bought the restaurant in 1981 I was handed the recipe for the original toasted ravioli,” explained Charlie Gitto Jr., President and CEO of Charlie Gitto’s restaurants. A mouth-watering deep fried pasta pillow both Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill.
“Supposedly what happened was the chef dropped a boiled ravioli in bread crumbs and took that ravioli instead of throwing it away fried it,” said Gitto. And Mama’s on The Hill claim to have created it there.
“Mickey Garagiola tells the story here. He was a waiter up the street and he would come down here and have a cocktail with his buddy Fritz was the chef and he was making veal scalloping with red wine well instead of using the red wine on the meal he’s drinking it so he gets tanked right,” said Bob Tumminia, manager of Mama’s on The Hill. Similar to Gitto’s story, a ravioli accidently dropped into the deep fryer where it was then plated and loved by those who ate it.
“And hence toasted ravioli,” said Tumminia. So this deep fried debate continues.
“I can only claim what I know. We did it in 1930,” Tumminia said with confidence.
“There’s a lot of variations, but the original one was here. That’s the one we do and we’re proud of it,” said Gitto. But one thing we can all sink our teeth into is that it started somewhere on The Hill here in St. Louis and continues to be one of our city’s signature dishes. In honor of National Ravioli Day on Wednesday, all Charlie Gitto’s locations are offering toasted ravioli at half price. Mama’s on The Hill will be offering ravioli at prices from 20 years ago.
CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI) – Eric Vogel from Charlie Gitto’s Chesterfield location, shared a great ravioli dish with Tim for National Ravioli Day. All toasted ravioli is half-price at their three locations Wednesday.
March 20, 2013, Fox 2 Now St. Louis by Tim Ezell
Charlie Gitto’s flagship restaurant has been serving up quality Italian cuisine on The Hill for 30-some years. The space holds a lot of history: That St. Louis favorite, toasted ravioli, supposedly originated in the restaurant’s kitchen back in the 1940s when it was called Angelo’s. Though there are several other Charlie Gitto’s locations around the area now, we went back to where it all began to get a taste of why this eatery has become such a mainstay of the St. Louis dining scene.
The interior of Charlie Gitto’s evoked a low-key, comfortable yet classy vibe, thanks to the dark wood, low lighting and the sharp-looking, bow-tie-wearing staff. This classic feel was echoed by the large selection of Italian favorites on the menu.
We got a sampler appetizer special ($18) to start that included a taste of the famous t-rav and a signature shrimp. We’d love to see this sampler become a menu mainstay. It was a great way to get a feel for some of the many small plates available. Truth be told, we’re not huge fans of toasted ravioli, probably because there are so many tasteless versions around town. But Charlie Gitto’s version gave us a new appreciation for this stand-by. It was crispy on the outside without being dry, and the filling was actually flavorful, as was the marinara sauce it came with.
Our appetites sufficiently piqued, we went on to the Lobster Bisque ($8), and the Mixed Green salad ($6), which included homemade croutons and fontina tossed in a sweet and sour vinaigrette. The bisque, which was poured over some choice chunks of lobster meat into the bowl at our table, was creamy and ultrarich. Though it probably owed more to France than Italy, it was nonetheless delicious! The salad was a straightforward, no-nonsense affair that set our palates for the main course.
Charlie Gitto’s menu featured steaks, chicken, veal, seafood and even brickoven pizzas. But we were in a pasta mood, and we took advantage of the lengthy list of pasta selections. The Penne Borghese ($17), which was designated as a Charlie Gitto’s signature item, featured tender penne pasta covered in a pink cognac sauce with onions and parsley and strips of prosciutto. It was surprisingly light, and the prosciutto was chewy and had a nice bit of smoke. The Gnocchi ($16) we ordered came in a tomato sauce. We’re used to creamy sauces with our dumplings, but we were pleasantly surprised at how the tangy sauce augmented the tender gnocchi. For an additional $4 we added some crumbled house-made sausage, normally used in the Rigatoni with Sausage, to our dish, and it proved to be a spot-on spicy touch.
A trip to The Hill for dinner wouldn’t be complete without an order of Cannoli ($6), so we indulged accordingly. Charlie Gitto’s take on these venerable pastries was classic, from the creamy ricotta filling to the maraschino cherries on top.
With good, solid fare and an inviting atmosphere, it’s no wonder Charlie Gitto’s remains a local favorite.
On February 9th, 2011 Sam Bradford traveled back to his home state of Oklahoma to watch the Sooners vs. Longhorns Basketball game. After the game Sam Bradford had a press conference and even with being hundreds of miles away from St. Louis he was still singing praises about Charlie Gitto’s beng his favorite Italian Restuarant. Chick on the link below to read the whole article.
Since arriving in St. Louis Sam Bradford has not had time to visit the Arch or Ted Drew’s but you better believe that he has made time to visit the Hill and eat at Charlie Gitto’s. Click on the link to read more about what Sam Bradford has been up to since moving to St. Louis.