Real Italian in Cowboy Country
By Carol Smith
& we don’t mean Lucchese boots
Bandera’s newest restaurant is as true an Italian as Lucchese, but these boys don’t make boots. They don’t make pizza either - so don’t bother to ask. What they do make is authentic Italian sandwiches and pastas and their specialty is Italian beef. The smell that permeates the restaurant is absolutely delightful.
According to co-owners Rick and Sandy Pusateri, the Italian beef is slow roasted in Italian herbs, spices, garlic and onions. The beef is sliced thin, heaped on a crusty French roll and served with their unique au jus style “gravy” for dipping.
Add to your sandwich their special Giardiniera (pronounced jar-din-air) - a blend of mixed peppers, celery, green olives and herbs which have been marinated in olive oil. Or their “peppers mix,” sweet red and yellow peppers, garlic and herbs also marinated in olive oil.
According to co-owner Sue Verciglio, she and her husband Dominick, “had talked about opening a restaurant for 20 years.” They have lived in Texas almost 30 years, but are originally from Chicago, as are the Pusateris, who arrived just a year ago. The name “Chicago Brothers” is not a marketing gimmick; they are true Italians from Chicago!
When asked why they decided to open an Italian beef restaurant in Bandera, Rick Pusateri replied, “There wasn’t an Italian place anywhere near here.”
Sandy quickly added, “But you certainly have your choice of great Mexican food!”
The restaurant boasts a fairly simple menu and speedy service. Also on the menu are meatball and Italian sausage sandwiches, served with “grandma’s red sauce.” On weekends, they serve specialty pasta dishes such as rigatoni, ziti and other Italiano favorites.
Chicago Brothers offers inside dining, take out and fax orders and will provide delivery to Bandera businesses with a three-sandwich minimum order. They are open from 11 am until 3 pm, Monday through Saturday; from 6 pm to 8 pm for dinner on Friday and Saturday; and from noon to 2 pm, Sunday. Free wireless Internet is available for diners who like to surf while they eat.
The owners have completely remodeled most of the former service station at 702 Main Street and the shop phone number is 830-796-9119. Fax is 830-796-9120.
So, anyone looking for a different type of beef to eat in the Cowboy Capital of the World is advised to try some authentic Italian at Chicago Brothers.