Rich and Charlie’s – which has been family-owned and operated since it first opened in the area decades ago – has always understood the importance of dining as a family affair.
“I opened the Town and Country location with my brother-in-law in 1973,” said Rich and Charlie’s owner Chuck Pozzo, whose family members work in both the restaurant and the pizza operation located four doors down. “My nephews, my sister, cousins all work here. My wife still works here. She was working here before we were married. The only one who isn’t related is the cook, Robert [Spanky] McCartney, and he’s been working here for years – since he was sixteen.”
With such dedication to family and to the community it serves, it’s no surprise Rich and Charlie’s Woods Mill location has been in business for more than 40 years.
“It amazes me,” said Pozzo. “We’ve always have been a family business with the goal to provide great food that’s reasonably priced so you can take your family out.”
Though after 40 years in the same location, there have been a few changes. In the beginning, the operation was strictly carry-out. It later expanded and opened a dining room, which to this day still doesn’t have a bar. As Pozzo explained, “ Back in 1982, I considered adding a bar, but didn’t know where I was going to put it … The dining room isn’t that big.” Pozzo said they compromised by allowing people to bring their own wine while they dined.
Customers today can still bring their own wine and libations. Just expect a small charge [$2] for the use of a wine glass. It’s a nice tradition that continues to accent the classic pastas, entrees and salads that make Rich and Charlie’s one of the St. Louis area’s legendary eateries.
The menu features many of its original items that are still some of the most popular, such as the Pasta Con Broccoli and the delicately breaded and sauteed Chicken Modiga, finished with white wine, lemon, butter sauce and topped with fresh mushrooms, Provel cheese and prosciutto. Both items have been top sellers since the restaurant’s doors first opened.
All entrees include a choice of red or white Cavatelli pasta and a soup or salad. But it’s not just any salad; it’s the original Rich and Charlie’s Salad created by its founders, Rich Ronzio [Pozzo’s uncle] and his partner Charlie Mugavro, back in 1967. It’s a salad now renowned for its then-unusual mix of iceberg and romaine lettuce, artichoke hearts, red pepper, cheese and dressed with a sweet, Italian-style dressing. The dressing’s recipe remains a family secret, but it has been bottled and available at markets for years. However, for the ultimate experience, enjoy the salad in the manner for which it was designed – served up by the family in the restaurant’s dining room or packed as a carry-out with your dinner to-go.
Rich and Charlie’s also provides catering services. Its catering menu offers the same famous salad, award-winning pastas and entrees that are served table-side in the restaurant. All dishes are prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients – including real cream and the best Italian cheeses – guaranteed to help make any party or gathering a success [something to keep in mind, considering those holiday parties are just weeks away].
“We make everything using the best ingredients. We always have. That will never change,” said Pozzo. “ While things have changed around us, we haven’t. We’re consistent and affordable. That makes our customers happy and that makes us happy.”