Rivoli’s Italian Restaurant, a Jersey Shore tradition
Since 1990, Rivoli’s Italian and Seafood Restaurant, a family business owned by Tony and Laura Rivoli, has been serving the Jersey Shore traditional Italian fare alongside their in-demand, house original Italian dishes. Known for their generous portions, signature recipes, and alluring ambience, Rivoli’s is not only a favorite for year-round residents and summer vacationers of the Toms River area, it is also the “unofficial restaurant of the cast of the hit television series, Jersey Shore,” according to owner Tony Rivoli.
“Cast members from the Jersey Shore have been coming here for the past eight years or so, before they became famous,” tells Rivoli. “The whole cast comes in, sometimes while filming a show, and sometimes just dining like regular customers. Either way, we respect their privacy and leave them alone to relax, talk, and enjoy their favorite desserts.” Rivoli recalls a night in September, when Ronnie and Sammi came in to eat: “There were about 10 or 12 girls here on vacation from Australia, and they wanted pictures. That night, it got a little crazy in here, but most of the time, our customers leave them alone.”
Famous or not, Rivoli’s loyal customers have been enjoying the restaurant for more than 20 years for the same reasons: its personable owners, family atmosphere, and consistently scrumptious food. Alongside Tony and Laura Rivoli, their three daughters work in the family business, and one of their sons-in-law is a chef. One Tuesday night each month, Rivoli’s hosts an Elvis dinner, complete with a professional, New Jersey/ Las Vegas Elvis impersonator. “It is something people look forward to, and for the past three years, it almost always sells out,” shares Rivoli. Since opening, Rivoli’s has served generous portions, which is especially great during the current sluggish economy, a time when many restaurants have scaled back serving sizes to save money. Rivoli’s also offers a kid’s menu.
At Rivoli’s, one steady customer favorite is shrimp de micci: shrimp stuffed with mozzarella cheese, wrapped with bacon, and pan-fried with spinach, mushrooms, olive oil, and garlic, then topped with prosciutto and mozzarella cheese, baked, and served over angel hair pasta. “Fifteen years ago, we took this off the menu and immediately put it back on due to customers’ requests. People love it,” says Rivoli. Tour of Italy has been on the menu since Rivoli’s opened: it is a combination of chicken parmigiana, baked lasagna, and fettuccine Alfredo. Rivoli’s personal favorite is the spicy seafood fra diavolo.
In October, 2010, the Rivolis proudly opened their second location, Rivoli’s Grill and Chill, in southern Howell’s Quail Creek Plaza. The bar and grill offers diners a variety of appetizers, soups, entrees, burgers, and sandwiches. Rivoli’s Grill and Chill has a casual, pub-like atmosphere, appealing to families and sports fans alike.
Rivoli’s Italian and Seafood Restaurant is located at 781 Fischer Boulevard in Toms River and can be reached at 732-270-3634. They are open seven days a week, from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. For menu selections, a photo gallery, and restaurant information, visit www.rivolis.com. Rivoli’s offers online visitors the opportunity to sign up for “preferred customer status,” wherein participants receive their monthly newsletter, special bonuses, and coupons.
-Article written by Christa Riddle, owner of All About Writing, www.allaboutwritingconsulting.com