10 Questions With the Owner of Erio’s Ristorante

By Aurora Blanchard

Pietro "Pete" Pulizzi stands in the Erio's, the restaurant he owns with his wife Joan. Joan makes the desserts for the restaurant, such as cheesecake, brownies, and flourless chocolate cake.
Pietro “Pete” Pulizzi stands in Erio’s, the restaurant he owns with his wife Joan. Joan makes the desserts for the restaurant, such as cheesecake, cannoli, and flourless chocolate cake.

Erio’s Ristorante started in Florissant with Pietro and his friend Erio in 1970. Erio and Pietro put their money together after working in construction for almost 10 years together to open the first restaurant. Now, Erio owns a location in Woodson, and Pietro owns a location in St. Peters with his wife Joan.

1. What’s your name?
Pietro “Pete” Pulizzi

2. When did you open the Erio’s Ristorante location in St. Peters?
October of 1991

3. What year did you move to St. Louis from Italy?

4. How old were you when you moved?
19 years old

5. Do you still consider Italian your native language?

6. Why did you immigrate to the United States?
My dad had brothers and sisters here, and back in Sicily in the 1950’s, it wasn’t that good. We grew up on a farm and he wanted an upgrade. America was the land of opportunity, you know. I thank him every minute for what he did. America is the best country in the world. I’ve been many places and this country is the best in the world.

7. Do you still feel connected to Sicily?
Yes. I still go there every other year. I have a lot of family there.

8. What Italian or Sicilian traditions did you bring over with you to America?
Hard work, most of the food — the Sicilian food that my mom used to make all the time.

9. What makes Erio’s special?
First is the food. And then the help we have. We treat people like they’re family. My chef has been working for me for 37 years. It’s a small neighborhood restaurant and people like that.

10. What are you most proud of?
I have a family with three kids and five grandchildren. And I’m proud when I see people laughing and eating here, having a good time. You create something in your life and you feel very, very good. I worked hard for a long time to get this business.