Tag Archives: Angelina’s

Tutti’s: Here To Stay!

Tutti’s is not going anywhere.

The beloved family-owned Saugatuck restaurant celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. It should be a joyous time.

But a report on a local news site — headlined “With Hamlet Looming, Future Uncertain for Tutti’s Ristorante” — led to rumors of its imminent demise.

“People think we’re closing right after Christmas,” laments co-owner Maria Funicello.

“One person — a regular customer — was mad we hadn’t told him.”

They hadn’t told him, because it’s not true. Tutti’s is here for the long run.

Tutti’s owners Pasquale and Maria Funicello. They’re not going anywhere.

The Hamlet at Saugatuck — a hotel/residential/retail project in and around the train station — is still in its developmental stage. Any changes to the popular restaurant — on Riverside Avenue, at the “T” with Charles Street — are a ways off.

Maria’s history in Westport extends far beyond Tutti’s. Her husband Pasquale Funicello owned Angelina’s — for nearly a decade. His partners included his father, mother and 2 sisters. They sold the Post Road trattoria in 1981.

Pasquale and Maria had been married the year before. They moved back to their native Italy, and started a family. In 1989 the Funicellos and their children returned to the US.

She worked full-time. He made a name as a chef at memorable area restaurants, including Sole e Luna, Pinocchio, Arthur Avenue, Sunset Grille and Apulia.

In December 2002 the couple took a leap of faith, opening their own place, in a former video rental shop. Tutti Invitati soon became simply Tutti’s.

It was a great addition to Saugatuck — an homage to the neighborhood’s Italian heritage.

It still is.

The formula has not changed much. Diners — regulars and newcomers alike — are welcomed into the Funicellos’ home away from home. The space is just the right size. The décor is simple, yet warm.

And the food is delizioso.

Tutti’s Caprese salad — one of the menu’s many favorites.

The secret to Tutti’s success?

“We’re a family. And we treat customers like family,” Maria explains.

The other day, a customer celebrated his 90th birthday. The owners presented a complimentary bottle of wine,

They thank firefighters from the nearby station by feeding them regularly. When a homeless man walks in, they feed him too.

Customers return the love.

When COVID struck, Tutti’s did not miss a beat. Their already steady takeout business boomed.

During COVID, the Staples High School boys soccer program thanked police officers by buying them meals from Tutti’s. Above: 2020 soccer co-captain Jack Douglas, flanked by owner Maria Funicello and Officer Jimmy Sullivan.

“We were so busy,” Maria recalls. “People bought gift certificates they still haven’t redeemed. They handed us cash, and said, ‘Use it for whatever you need.’ They really weren’t our customers. They were like family.”

That’s why the recent rumors of Tutti’s’ demise hurt so much.

“They’re nice people. We’re working with them,” Maria says of the Hamlet developers.

“The Gault project (the previous Saugatuck redevelopment) looks great. I’m sure this one will be beautiful too.

“Whatever happens, happens. But it’s a long way away.”

Nothing is changing at Tutti’s. Certainly not the menu.

The pastas, other entrees, soups, salads, desserts and specials — like the ristorante itself, they’re not going anywhere.

“We’re settled. We know what we’re doing,” Maria says.

Tutti’s is always a Slice of Saugatuck favorite.

Tuesday was typical. At 3 p.m. — the slow, catch-your-breath time between lunch and dinner — several diners lingered. A construction worker picked up a meal to go. The phone chirped constantly, with takeout orders.

Through it al, Pasquale was in the back, cooking. Maria was out front — her usual warm, welcoming self.

Everyone was happy. Tutti’s was open for business.

And — as it celebrates its 20th anniversary — it still will be, for years to come.

Staples Ski Team Has A Special Fan

For everyone associated with Staples High School — students, staff and parents — yesterday was tough. An overheard threat led to a lockdown, early dismissal, and plenty of fear.

But life goes on. Today, the boys ski team has its state meet.

Last night, they got together at Angelina’s for pre-race pasta. One of the main topics of conversation was the day’s events.

When it came time to pay, they found the bill had already been settled.

In its place was this note:

The team is grateful to its anonymous, Staples alumnus fan.

They’ll do their best today to make us proud.

Just as — every day — the school’s students, staff and administrators try to do.

(Hat tip: Susan Steele)

Filling In That Vast, Pizza-less Post Road Void Between Angelina’s And Jordan’s

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

The Man In The Van

Yesterday, “06880” burbled about the owner of Coffee An,’ who raced into the parking lot to give $2 back to a customer he’d inadvertently overcharged.

Today we present the flip side: Westporters behaving badly.

An “06880” reader was driving down the narrow exit lane that runs in front of Pompanoosuc Mills and Angelina’s, on her way out of the Barnes & Noble parking lot.

She was leaving, that is, until she reached the cleaner’s. There, a large van was parked in the middle of the lane. Its emergency lights were flashing. Its driver was nowhere to be seen.

The woman tapped her horn. A man strolled to the door of the cleaner’s, then turned back to his conversation with the person behind the counter.

She tooted again. Again, he made no move to leave.

She honked a 3rd time. The man slowly walked out of the store, telling the woman: “Relax! Relax!”

She told him she was late for an appointment.

He replied, “You have no choice. If I don’t move, you can’t get out.”

Then he swaggered into the driver’s seat, and drove away.

Chances are, the man in the van is not an “06880” reader. Yet he — like all of us — must look in the mirror every day.

Does he like the face that looks back? I have no idea.

But I know the owner of Coffee An’ does.