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Nicoletti’s: Making memories one plate at a time

By: Suzanne Corbett

Neighborhood eateries become favorites for good reason. They provide good food, great service and comfortable surroundings – the culinary trifecta, which collectively creates experiences customers return for time and time again.  

Nicoletti’s Ristorante is such a place.

“We’ve been here 31 years. I would have never believed we would have been here this long,” said Cheryl Nicoletti who opened the landmark eatery [in Twin Oaks, near the intersection of Big Bend Boulevard and Hwy. 141] with her late husband, Michael, in 1987. 

“We have customers whose parents brought them in when they were kids and now those kids are bringing their kids,” Cheryl said. “I guess you can say we create memories because they share those memories. Almost every night, I hear a different story – memories of a special birthday dinner or how we were the place of a first date.” 

Special memories begin with the Nicoletti’s dining experience, which is built on friendly service and a well-balanced menu that hasn’t changed much over three decades. According to Cheryl, that’s a good thing. Customers know they can count on finding what they crave.   

Steak and potato fans, pasta and pizza aficionados and those craving seafood or traditional chicken and veal entrees can find exactly what they want on Nicoletti’s’ impressive menu. 

Consistency, said Cheryl, is the secret to the restaurant’s longevity. 

“Some of our chefs have been with us since we opened 31 years ago,” Cheryl said. “And that makes a difference because they know the recipes and know exactly how things should be done.”

Nicoletti’s’ chefs don’t skimp on quality or, most importantly, time, as in the time it takes to cook each dish right – preparing everything fresh to order. Even before the doors open, Nicoletti’s’ chefs are busy prepping the old-school way – hand-cutting steaks, slow-simmering sauces and making salad dressing based on family recipes. 

“We cook everything to order,” Cheryl said. “We make the dish the way you want it. If you want us to go light on the garlic or heavy on the garlic, we can do that. If you want to add something a little extra, we can do it  and we will.” 

On a recent visit, a server recommended adding green peas to the side dish of white-sauced cavatelli – a simple touch that elevated the pasta to five-star status, making it a perfect accompaniment to Chicken Spedini, which arrives stuffed, charcoal-broiled and sauced. 

“Our Chicken Spedini is wonderful,” said Cheryl, explaining how the dish began as a special before becoming a menu mainstay. “We have daily specials and featured nights that have their own specials, like Rib Night [as in Baby Back Ribs], held the first Friday of every month. People really love them and we always sell out.”  

All you can eat pasta night is Monday, which includes salad, garlic bread and a beverage.  Tuesday and Wednesday nights is when kids [age 10 and under] dine free – that’s one child per adult.  

There is one new addition; however, you won’t find it on the menu.

Customers can enjoy the full menu on the patio at Nicoletti’s.

It’s a new sidewalk patio, open for al fresco dining when the weather allows. While one can’t predict the weather, it’s predicted that Nicoletti’s’ sidewalk tables will be a hit with diners who want a perfect place to enjoy a drink and appetizer or a late-night pizza.  

The entire menu, from pizza to dessert to any of Nicoletti’s’ famous specialties such its Steak Modiga can be enjoyed at a sidewalk table, in the main dining room or ordered as a carry-out. It’s just one more reason why Nicoletti’s is a West County favorite for memorable – and delicious – dining.

Nicoletti’s Ristorante • 1366 Big Bend Road • Ballwin • nicolettissteakandpasta.com • (636) 225-4222 • Hours: 4 -9 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 4-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday
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