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Taste of the Town: A’ Salute prides itself on homemade food, unique atmosphere

Published: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 5:00 a.m. CDT

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The owners of A’ Salute Lounge & Grill hope their restaurant stands out from all the other dining options out there.

The restaurant opened in December in Foxboro Plaza, in the former East Side Pub & Grill location at 2400 E. Main St. in St. Charles.

“You have all your sports bars and college bars on the west side of the river, but really nothing on this side, and I thought we could use this, something a little bit more in our age group,” said Eddie Caruso, 55, of St. Charles, who owns A’ Salute Lounge and Grill with fellow St. Charles resident Gus Donzelli, 61. “It’s a upper scale lounge and grill.”

The two have been friends for 15 years. The idea to open a restaurant together has been brewing for several years.

“We’ve been scoping around for the last three years,” Caruso said.

Salute means “cheers” in Italian, and that’s exactly the atmosphere the owners hope they convey. They look for the lounge to be a place that people can call their home away from home.

“This is what a lounge means,” Donzelli said. “We wanted a place where people could relax after a hard day’s work, have a nice cocktail and enjoy the ambiance and entertainment that we have.”

A’ Salute has a DJ on Friday nights and live entertainment on Saturday nights.

The menu features small sandwiches called “trios,” which are served in threes.

“I wanted it to be more of an upscale grill,” Caruso said. “It’s something different.”

A’ Salute also prides itself on its homemade food. Some of those recipes are passed down from Caruso’s family, including the Italian meatballs served with red sauce, as well as the restaurant’s baked clams.

His family has previously been in the restaurant business. Other items on the menu include the turkey burger trio, beef filet slider trio, Angus beefburger trio and chicken caprese trio.

All the trio sandwiches are served with fries and are priced between $6 and $10.

“I think it’s priced moderately,” Donzelli said. “And they’re real fries, too, not processed or anything.”

All the food is made with love by cook Gino Battista, who also has restaurant experience.

“It’s all from the soul,” Battista said. “You have to have a passion for it.”

He sees the restaurant and its customers as being “one big family.”

“We do nothing but have a good time and laugh and cook,” Battista said. “But that’s the way Italian people are.”

A’ Salute also has a full bar and specializes in martinis and wines.

“We will prepare any type of drink you could possibly want,” Donzelli said. “Our specialty is the A’ Salute, which is a red raspberry martini with fresh raspberries.”

A’ Salute serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. More information is on its website, www.asaluteloungeandgrill.com.

If you go

WHAT: A’ Salute Lounge & Grill

WHERE: 2400 E. Main St., St. Charles

INFO: www.asaluteloungeandgrill.com; 630-549-0181

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