CENTER CITY (WPVI) — Antonio D’Angelo and his brother, Salvatore, have been working together for decades at their restaurant just off Rittenhouse Square called D’Angelo’s Ristorante Italiano.
“We opened this place in February 1990,” says Salvatore D’Angelo. “We’ve always been about food, and I knew it was going to be a success.”
The brothers co-own the restaurant. Salvatore works the front of the house, while Antonio is cooking up the flavors from their homeland.
“I was born in Messina, Sicily. I was raised in Milan,” says Chef Antonio D’Angelo.
The brothers moved to the U.S. in the late 1960s and worked in the kitchen at Jimmy’s Milan in Philadelphia. Salvatore took a short detour in the movie business. He was in “Mandingo” and “The Godfather.”
He says while movie-making was “very exciting,” he decided it was better to work in the kitchen and returned to work with his brother. They’ve been serving up authentic Italian dishes ever since, with some recipes coming straight from their mother’s kitchen.
“This is our Sunday dinner, and it goes right to the sauce,” Antonio D’Angelo says of the braciolettini he’s cooking that his mother used to serve.
“My mother was a great cook,” he says. “She used to do something different every day.”
He says he feels like his mother’s cooking comes through his hands when he’s in the kitchen.
“When I think about my mother, I always create something,” he says.
Dishes are made to order.
“When they order, we start working on it,” he says. “Pasta has to be al dente. The meat has to be tender, but not overcooked.”
Besides serving great food, there’s also a friendly face behind the bar.
“Our bartender Gus, he’s been here since before we opened,” says Salvatore D’Angelo.
“They bought the building with the restaurant and they asked me to stay,” says longtime bartender, Gus Tsikouras. “And I’m still here.”
“And he’s the greatest,” says Salvatore D’Angelo.
The walls are adorned with photos of some of their famous patrons, like Sylvester Stallone, Mark Wahlberg and Joe Torre. But the D’Angelo’s say they’re thankful for their loyal customers too.
“I have an extended family today, because everybody comes in here, they’re not just the customer, they’re friends,” says Salvatore D’Angelo. “It’s very rewarding.”
For more information: D’Angelo’s Ristorante Italiano
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