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Enzio's: Revamped & Revitalized

February 6, 2009 - Phyllis Sigal
When I think of the name Figaretti, I think of great marinara sauce.

I remember going to the old Figaretti's restaurant years and years and years ago when it was in Elm Grove. Then, it moved in to where Undo's is now, and now is located in the Clater section of Wheeling.

But, Figaretti's still has an Elm Grove establishment in Enzio's, which is now run by Dino Figaretti, a third-generation Figaretti.

Enzio's offers that great Figaretti sauce, but lots more with it. It is primarily a pizza place, boasting a wood-fired oven.

Well, not so long ago Dino went to Uncle Frank Figaretti and asked him to help jazz up the place, and Frank, of course, obliged.

I've known Frank for a hundred years, and when he decides to do something, he jumps in with both feet.

When Frank's in town, he's at Enzio's ... make homemade soup, booking entertainment, checking on the pizza oven, mopping the floor ... whatever. (When he's not in town, he's on the rails with Amtrak making sure customers are happy in the dining car. — An aside to Frank ... Sorry, but I picture you in a brocade smoking jacket with your black hair slicked back, smoking a cigarette ...)

Frank is proud of the food at Enzio's: "First of all, our pizza is unique to the area ... there is no other New York, thin-crusted pizza around. No brick-oven pizza in Wheeling. Everything is fresh every day ... the basil, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, all cut fresh every day. We use the best quality mozzarella and provolone."

Frank is also a bit partial to the "beautiful" salads and the appetizers, which include fried zucchini, calamari and fried provolone.

"We have great eggplant parmesan, sandwiches that are baked in the brick oven, calzones, pepperoni rolls. And we have quesadillas. We sell a lot of those. We mix up the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, heat up some chicken, toss with Italian dressing. Everyone loves our Italian dressing. Add some cheese. A nice gooey mess. ... that and a good glass of wine. ..." Yum.

But, mostly Frank is proud of the entertainment.

"It's the best-kept secret in town."

"No one offers that kind of entertainment on a nightly basis."

Frank also offers entertainment at an early hour so that people can come in, enjoy their dinner, listen to the music and be home by 9. The music plays from 7-9 p.m. Perfect for someone like me who is asleep by 10!

• Every Tuesday, favorite and guitarist-extraordinaire Roger Hoard plays. • Every Wednesday is Ladies Night, with female entertainers. (Feb. 11, Mary Blake; Feb. 18, Cheryl Ann Hawk; and Feb. 25 Katie Orlofske.) • Every Thursday is Bridges, with Kim Butler, Dave Pettit and Doug Pettit. (I used to listen to Kim when he played at the old Tin Pan Alley in the late 1970s as "Kim and Ed." He still plays all my favorites from that era: The Eagles, America, etc.) • Every Friday is 17-year-old Tristan "T-Bone" Smith, who has been playing since the age of 4.

"These are some of the best players around!" Frank says.

I got to hear Cheryl Ann Hawk last night, playing with Kim Butler. (They switched it up a bit because one of the Pettit brothers was unavailable.) She played some great tunes — some classics, some blues, some originals.

Not only was Cheryl a great singer/guitarist, but her 4-year-old daughter Cheyenne joined her on about three or four songs. What a little doll baby! She sat at the microphone and sang all the words, just like a little pro — some Beatles, one of mom's originals and some fun songs for the crowd.

Last night, the appreciative audience included 3-year-old Emma Skye McFarland and another little 5-year-old who thoroughly enjoyed dancing and singing along with their new little friend.

Actually, the audience was a good mix of families and single folks, there for a nice evening of good food, music and friends.

• A LITTLE FIGARETTI HISTORY: Anna and Guiseppe Figaretti and their five sons, "Chi-Chi" (Frank's dad), Jack, Mike, Tony and Joe, began packaging and selling their marinara sauce to local grocery stores. Then, the boys opened Figaretti's in 1949. Frank's brother, Tony, and Tony's son Dino, run the Clator Figaretti's establishment. Tony's son, Tony, runs the sauce manufacturing end, and delivers to the tri-state area as well as sell on the Web site. And Dino, with help from Uncle Frank, has Enzio's.


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