Posts Tagged ‘Italian Food’

The Sicilian Joy of Patrenella’s!

January 29, 2010

Patrenella's and the best authentic Sicilian cuisine in Houston is located at 813 Jackson Hill, at the corner of Jackson Hill and Barnes, just one block south of where the street "Ts" into Washington Avenue. NOTE: Patrenella's has its own Bocce Court too.

Sammy Patrenella, 75, and his Patrenella’s Ristorante Italiano are both Houston classics. If you have never tried Sammy’s classic Sicilian fare, you really owe it to your palate to do so. Come for the food and stay for the joy. You will be dining in a place built on the love of family, friends, and the best, most truly delicious Sicilian food in Houston when you do.

The menu includes the best beef, chicken, and seafood offerings that come to mind from the mention of any Italian food dishes, all prepared according to ancient family recipes and served with the freshest vegetable fare, pasta dishes, marinara sauce, and special oil seasonings that the veteran diner comes to expect from the true artists of Italian cooking. Patrenella’s isn’t simply good enough for Houston. It is a place that could easily hold its own with the best Italian places in The Hill section of St. Louis. Patrenella’s also bakes its own bread and offers some of the most delicious pizza in town as well. It contains its own small bar and offers all the right options of good wine to go with all the right foods for those who choose the fully European experience in dining.

In spite of its royal good taste choices in food and drink, Patrenella’s is laid back and casual in the way most Houstonians prefer their dining out experiences. Coat and tie or sporting casual wear are welcomed equally at “Sammy’s Place.”

Patrenella’s is open for lunch, Tuesday through Friday, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday, from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM. No lunch service is available on Saturdays and the restaurant is fully closed on Sundays and Mondays. For evening reservations, simply call 713-863-8223.

The Patrenella family home from 1938 is now the front door on a chain of three houses that owner Sammy Patrenella has strung together as the new home of his restaurant since 1991!

The story of Patrenella’s Ristorante Italiano is best told by Sammy Patrenella himself. You will find these same words on the back cover of his menu. They are written to explain the old photo featured above this section in today’s article. The original of this photo hangs proudly with other family mementos at Sammy’s Place.

Here are Sammy’s words:

“In 1938, my father, L.L. Patrenella, built this house in which you can now enjoy the food and hospitality of our family. After immigrating to Houston from his native Sicily, he started a grocery store in this neighborhood; it stood a mere block away. He and my mother, Nita, live behind the store. They were always cooking Italian recipes and giving samples away to the customers. I’ve always had a dream for a restaurant that would carry on the traditional good tastes and love of my mother and father. So, my wife, Josephine, my son, my daughters and I have uniquely renovated this house in which I was raised. We have kept it consistently dedicated to the ambiance of the historic Heights and Sixth Ward. The warmth and the great cuisine of the traditional Italian kitchen is presented to you by three generations of the Patrenella family. Please come by and enjoy.” – Sammy Patrenella.

Sammy's childhood home and two others have been linked since 1991 as the site of Patrenella's Ristorante Italiano. Safe parking is no problem in this gentle old Houston neighborhood.

When three-year old Sammy and his family first moved into their new house at 813 Jackson Hill in 1938, a Houston Chronicle human interest spotlight story described the new family home as “modern throughout.” Sammy says he later asked his mom what that meant. She told him, “Of course, it was modern throughout. The house even had an ironing board built straight into the wall.”

Thank you, Mama Petronella! We doubt that many women from the year 2010 equally share your enthusiasm for such conveniences as built-in ironing boards.

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!"

A friend recruited this robotic version of a famous entertainer as a gift to Sammy Patrenella a few years ago. Dino has held forth as the host of Sammy’s bar area ever since his arrival from New Orleans. The joy of life and the spirit of giving oozes from the walls of this happy place in ways large and small. This little Dean Martin “Mini-Me” simply fell into the mood of the place.

Sammy Patrenella (L) and Houston consigliere Richard Coselli.

The smile on Sammy’s face is as big as his heart. The smile you are receiving here from our last featured photo of Sammy greeting his luncheon guest and lifelong friend and fellow St. Thomas High School graduate Richard Coselli reaches out as an invitation for you to stop by sometime and also partake of the joy that is dining at Patrenella’s.

Let me put it this way: The Goombahs above are making you a dinner offer that they each hope you will not refuse. Life’s too short to miss out on the joy of this world’s best food and greatest company.

Have a terrific Friday, everybody!