Bob Narcisi Sr., owner of DiPiero’s Ristorante in downtown Lake Zurich, believes that everyone’s first experience with ethnic food should be at an authentic restaurant, which can serve as a benchmark for further forays into that type of food.
“Whether it’s sushi or Italian food, if you’re not introduced to good, traditional food that represents that style of cooking, it’s an injustice . . . The ingredients in a dish give it identity. You can adjust it, but certain things marry well, like French fries and ketchup. We try to produce food the way it should be produced.”
Narcisi has been serving authentic Italian dishes at DiPiero’s for 30 years. It is among the finest in the area for sampling and indulging in perfectly cooked and spiced, traditional Italian food.
DiPiero’s offers an extensive menu of Italian entrees, especially considering that it is cooked to order and that the restaurant is small, just 12 tables. Entrees are $16-$26. Seafood lovers will find numerous selections including the Chilean Sea Bass alla Vernaccia and Tilapia Antico. Other popular dishes include the Pork Chop Vesuvio, slowly cooked in a white wine sauce, Butternut Squash Tortellacci, and Rigatoni Bolognese. Some favored appetizers are the Calamari Fritti with a signature dipping sauce and Bruschetta with marinated tomatoes. Desserts include Cannoli and Tiramisu that certainly do serve as the delicious standard for what those treats should taste like.
While the DiPiero’s menu has expanded over 30 years, consistency is one of the trademarks of the restaurant. That consistency also includes the dimly lit dark wood interior and the staff, who have been with DiPiero’s from 7-25 years. His chefs, brothers Octavio and Julian Jiminez, have been with him for 24 and 25 years.
Narcisi said when he makes changes they need to be subtle because his customers don’t like big changes. After all, one of the things that sets DiPiero’s apart is that it offers a comfortable sense of place that one can return to and know what to expect.
“There aren’t many places like that,” Narcisi said. “You can come here at 20 and come back at 50. You remember when your parents took you to the establishment and you can take your children to the same place.”
Prior to settling in at DiPiero’s, Narcisi managed and partnered in restaurants in Chicago. He now runs the restaurant with his sons, Bob Narcisi Jr and Jimmy Narcisi.
DiPiero’s does not take reservations, and there is usually a wait on the weekends. But Narcisi said the wait isn’t overly long and many customers dine at the bar, and in fact prefer bar seating.
DiPiero’s also offers award-winning pizza and catering through DiPiero’s Lakeland Caterers, located next door on Old Rand Road. The catering and pizza were winners in Lake Zurich-Barrington Patch Reader’s Choice Awards 2012.
Narcisi encourages people to come out to DiPiero’s, on the corner of Old Rand Road and Main Street, whether on a date with your spouse or your family, and start a tradition.