Chef Isacco Vitali relocated Isacco’s Kitchen from Cedar Street to First Street in downtown St. Charles last year to boost the Italian restaurant’s visibility.
It arguably was the biggest shift in Vitali’s Tri-Cities history, but far from the only one. Want proof? Look no further than the menu, which changes seasonally.
“More than additions to the menu, I prefer to rotate recipes according to the season, and/or availability of products,” Vitali says. “Introducing new recipes allows our regular customers to always find something new to choose from our menu.”
As summer transitions to fall, visitors to Isacco’s Kitchen can enjoy such dishes as Maine lobster and hand-made fettuccini, as well as Atlantic sea bass.
Other popular recipes include frog legs sautéed with sweet chile sauce, fruit ratatouille and vegetables; snails baked with fresh herbs and pesto and topped with camembert cheese; and foie gras served with crispy pork belly and topped with a fried egg and balsamic reduction.
The pasta and bread are house-made, and all of the restaurant’s dishes are made to order. Working with his cousin and confidante, Fabio Casarini, the Italian-born Vitali says he embraces the challenge of keeping the offerings diverse while maintaining a regular clientele.
In nearly 20 years in St. Charles, he has rubbed elbows with many types of people from the Tri-Cities and adjacent western suburbs. Of course, Vitali is no stranger to the eclectic.
“I’ve been involved in the food business since my teenage years thanks to my career background in restaurants and cruise ships,” says the St. Charles chef. “I’ve been working with chefs from all over the world; that’s one of the reasons my menu reflects influences from other types of foods, countries and continents – blended with Italian food. I found out it’s very challenging, offering recipes that are not necessarily ‘old-fashioned Italian,’ or what people think about Italian food.”
The inspiration for Vitali’s cuisine isn’t the only thing that is “well-traveled.” In addition to regular catering offerings for corporate and private functions, weddings, graduations, birthday parties, anniversaries, showers, holiday parties and other events, Vitali offers in-home, private cooking for $85 an hour.
“The concept of private chef is becoming more and more important at Isacco’s Kitchen,” Vitali says. “People love to open their house – their kitchens – where I can prepare recipes normally made in the back of the restaurant.”
Isacco’s Kitchen also offers custom-made desserts and what Vitali calls a “small but articulated” wine list.
By surface area, the First Street location also is smaller than its former spot, but Vitali and his team haven’t lacked menu innovation or positive feedback since moving closer to downtown St. Charles.
“What our customers and friends say about the new location is that it’s cozier – a quaint place to have a relaxed dinner,” Vitali says.
Isacco’s Kitchen is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Dinner is served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Monday.
For more information, visit www.isaccokitchen.com. To make a reservation, call 630-444-0202.
131 S. First St., St. Charles