~ Sabatinos Restaurant in Chicago Is Now Closed. ~
On Behalf of the Sabatino's family, thank you for your decades of patronage and keeping Sabatino's Chicago's #1 family Italian resturaunt.Here's to the next chapter. We hope everyone stays safe during these times. For now, you can find memories of Sabatino's here on our website here as well as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Sabatino's is an anachronism that's hipper than you'd give it credit for. It is a snifter of brandy, a velvet smoking jacket, Buddy Rich's drum groove on "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." It is "exquisite" and "quality" spoken with a thick Chicago accent, dressed to the nines in a bow tie and tuxedo vest.
It might also be voted Chicago's best restaurant if AARP The Magazine held a write-in poll, which is to say, the median hairstyle in the dining room is coiffed white. Sabatino's — Old Irving Park's venerable Italian restaurant for 40-plus years — has a menu reflecting its clientele's enduring tastes, with the kind of dishes sadly going the way of the dodo: shrimp DeJonghe, oysters Rockefeller, cherries jubilee, among other chestnuts.
The restaurant is so old, in fact, that co-owners (and brothers) Angelo and Enzo Pagni can't nail down an exact date, though they believe it's 1969. Back then, said Sabatino's office manager, Vickie Van Hove, "it was a spaghetti and meatball kind of place, nothing like it is now."
The Pagni brothers took a long boat ride from Genoa to New York City in 1966. Chicago was their destination. They were practically bambinos when they started cooking at Italian Village. After stops at other restaurants in town, they took over Sabatino's on Jan. 1, 1978. The key, Angelo Pagni said, was cooking a dish on that first day and having it taste exactly the same 33 years later. Customers here don't seek progress or innovation. They want reliability and nostalgia. "We have regulars who drive 30 miles to our restaurant, and that's a long way to come," Angelo Pagni said. "They make the extra mile to see you, you better be on the ball."