There are few things in life more important to Eddie Tate, than family.
"Family is everything," he said.
Family is the very heart and soul of Eddie's business, Luigi's Ristorante in Dubois, and you can see it as soon as you walk through the door.
"If these walls could talk, what a story they would tell," said Eddie.
Family portraits line the wall from floor to ceiling. Most are of his actual family. Some are his customers, who he treats like family.
"Every now and again someone of a celebrity status comes in, but to be honest with you, every one of our customers is that important to us...every one. Whether they've been here for the first time, or the 20th time," he said.
Need proof? Just visit his restaurant. On any given night, you'll see him, not in the kitchen, but walking the floor, visiting with customers, sharing a handshake, a hug, or a good hearty laugh.
"My father, Skip always said, 'If your customers return, that means you did something right the first time.' And we've been very blessed with that, because our repeat volume is amazing to us," said Eddie.
And that might have something to do with this.
"Authentic Italian Cuisine. Pasta like Mama used to make," said Eddie.
Because his Mama did used to make this pasta. And so did his grand mama and great grand mama.
"All of our family recipes are in the kitchen," said Eddie. "Everything's made from scratch. Our sauce is made every day, our meatballs are made every day, our entrees are made, and we take a lot of pride in that, because not every restaurant can say that nowadays."
Because not every restaurant got its start like Luigi's. Eddie says his dad taught him and his brother Louie the ropes of running a business the old fashioned way...from the heart.
"And now that he's gone, and now that the whole thing is evolved, I find myself, I find his words coming out of my mouth," said Eddie. "And I'll think 'Oh my God, my dad used to say that to me all the time.' It's funny how that works."
With their parents and five siblings by their side, Eddie and Louie went into business together back in the early 80s, opening Luigi's Ristorante in a small town called Clymer, in Indiana County.
Eddie said, "It was one big family experience. Eventually, the reputation grew, and the word got out."
So much so, that they decided to open another branch in Dubois, with Eddie at the helm.
"We are very happy where we're at," said Eddie. "I would say it's safe to say we're staying put."
Even with a major expansion under his belt, Eddie has never lost sight of the principles and values bestowed on him by his father.
"Number one is the food," said Eddie. "You've got to have good sauce. My dad always said, 'No matter what you do, make sure you keep your sauce excellent, that way no matter what kind of mistake you might have made, you can camouflage it with a good sauce'."
And you might say he's made good on that promise. People come from miles around just to taste Luigi's famous sauce. You see it touted on commercials and local billboards, local stores stock it on their shelves, and much like many of the recipes contained in this kitchen, it's all thanks to Eddie's family. You see, the secret sauce recipe was his grandmother's in Italy.
"It's like wine. Wine is not served before its time," said Eddie. "A good batch of sauce, a 25-gallon batch of sauce probably takes between four and five hours."
Every dish that leaves Eddie's kitchen has that same attention to detail. Everything is made from scratch, with the heart, passion and pride of the generations of Italians who came before him. Italians he's fortunate enough, to call family.
"It's what we live for. We believe in it," said Eddie.
But don't take our word for it. Over the next three weeks, we'll show you how to make three of Luigi's signature dishes, and these are recipes that Eddie's kept close to the vest for decades, so you won't want to miss it.
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