After eleven years under the direction of Eric Stockmann and Mark Manfrede, Giuseppe's Ristorante (4141 South Grand Boulevard; 314-832-3779) announced it will transition into Gisueppe's Catering. The final dinner service was last Saturday, and lunch ends Friday, February 14.
"We want people to know we can still serve them. We're not going away; we're starting a new chapter and a new phase in our business," Stockmann tells Gut Check. "Our goal here is to continue, not end."
Giuseppe's has had limited hours for a while now, but the Stockmann and Manfrede have decided to take the catering service full time. They're also planning on selling the huge building that currently houses the restaurant, though it's not on the market just yet.
Stockmann says things changed when construction caused weekend highway closures -- business was down 65 percent in the evenings. That's when Giuseppe's introduced limited hours and began catering, which he says is something they never planned on doing. But it took off, and by the time Highway 40 was open, catering sales exceeded dining-room sales.
Catering has also allowed Giuseppe's to expand beyond its Italian roots. The restaurant was founded in 1927 on original Italian recipes and became Giueseppe's in 1973 when its chef of twenty years, Giuseppe Pugliese, took over and moved it to its current location. Pugliese died in January 2013, but sold the restaurant to Stockmann and Mandfrede in 2003.
The brothers-in-law have kept the traditional recipes and Italian specialties that put Giuseppe's on the map, but Stockmann says customer requests caused a foray into Mexican food for catering. Giuseppe's now has an Asian menu available, as well as a "ballpark menu" with Vienna sausage hot dogs and a holiday menu available October through December.
"Our customers yearned for new things. We created new menus so we could still serve them," Stockmann says. "For instance, if they wanted [catered] lunch five days in a row, we could do it without burning them out."
Giuseppe's last dining-room service will be lunch on Friday, February 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check out catering options here.