Live, from Pekin, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night starring this week’s host, Sangalli’s Italian Steakhouse and featuring special guest stars, Riley, Dave, Kathy, Dennis, Andrea and Robert. Now please welcome all the way from Court Street in Pekin, this week’s host, Sangalli’s Italian Steakhouse!
A couple of months ago I read in a PJ Star’s Dining Out review that a new Italian steakhouse had opened up in Pekin. I made a mental note to go check it out and tonight that mental note becomes reality as we’re here at Sangalli’s on Court Street in Pekin. The building is very long, I couldn’t fit all of it in the photo! We’re here at the tail-end of the evening, but the “Open” neon sign is still blazing, so let’s go in and see what’s happening on this first Saturday night in June, 2018!
Two signs are standing in the front foyer with specials for the evening and a list of the many styles of margaritas available. I walked into the dining room and asked Riley, who was stationed at the host station if there was a bar to eat at and she pointed me in the direction of the bar, which is right through this door.
And here we are at the bar! As I said, we’re here fairly close to closing time, so there’s plenty of seats available. Let’s go grab one and get settled in for the night!
That’s Dave Sangalli, the owner of the place on the left and Kathy on the right is the bartender for the evening. Dave told me that even though this is a new restaurant, he’s actually a second generation owner of Sangalli’s Italian Steakhouse. His parents owned this building and operated Sangalli’s Court Street Steakhouse in the mid ‘80’s. After about a decade of serving steak dinners to Pekinites, the Sangalli’s were ready to do something else and they rented the building out and it became a Mexican restaurant for years.
Last year, Dave decided to revive his parents original plan and remodeled the restaurant, hired a staff and they opened up last December. Dave told me its been a real family affair and friends have also helped in this reboot of Sangalli’s in Pekin. He said business has been brisk and they’re getting business from Peoria, Springfield and other nearby towns. Kathy took my order as Dave and I continued to talk.
As Dave and I were chatting, Dennis and Andrea came up to the bar after they were done eating and joined in the conversation. They live in Pekin and told me they’ve become regulars at the restaurant and bar and raved about the place. There’s the back of the bar and as you can see, there’s a large selection of bottled beer and there's eight beers on tap. There’s also a nice selection of wine as you can see by the used corks in the “S” at the end of the bar.
The original sign used for the restaurant when Dave’s parents owned it is hanging on the back wall behind the bar. Tables line the wall opposite the bar and there’s booths up in front. A communal table sits directly opposite the bar up front for large parties.
While my dinner was being prepared I walked over to take a look at the dining room. It’s a large area and Dave told me his son-in-law has done a lot of the wood work in here and it’s really impressive! There’s lots of tables and large comfortable booths line the perimeter of the dining room.
Meanwhile, back at the bar, it looks like this week’s Saturday night dinner is just about to happen!
I was right, here’s the first two courses for the evening. I got a cup of the tortellini soup and an order of Arancini which are breaded risotto balls stuffed with chunks of ham, mozzarella cheese and green onion. It’s served with a basil cream sauce. Dave told me that the soup is made from scratch and has been very popular with patrons calling in to see what the soup of the day is before they even open up. Both the soup and the Arancini were delicious and a great start to this Saturday night meal!
This is a steakhouse, but after eating steak for seven months, I decided to try something from their pasta menu and ordered the Cajun Seafood Pasta. It’s a generous portion and it looks absolutely delicious! It comes with homemade bread and a large slice of buttered garlic bread as well.
This was such a tasty dish! The penne pasta was cooked perfectly and there’s chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage, red peppers and onions swimming in a slightly spicy cream sauce. Lots of flavors and the garlic bread was a nice companion to the dish.
What a fabulous meal! Dave told me that they’re working on a fried chicken recipe, so I’ve added them to the list for our upcoming 13 months of chicken food tour!
The food is not only top-notch here but Dave and all of the staff, like Robert who came in to say goodnight to Dave, are so friendly. There’s a such a nice welcoming vibe in here!
I started off with the tortellini soup and an order of Arancini. The soup is made fresh every day and it was so tasty. Chunks of tender tortellini float in a rich and hearty tomato broth and it’s really satisfying. The Arancini fritters were equally delicious and packed with flavor. It was a fantastic one-two punch to start the meal off.
While Sangalli’s bills itself as an Italian steakhouse and there's a nice selection of steaks and Italian fare on the menu, there’s also selections that give you some other choices if you’re looking for something other than steak or spaghetti. They have five styles of flatbread pizza, sandwiches including a signature sub and two types of burgers. I chose something from the pasta entrees that intrigued me, the Cajun Seafood Pasta.
The dish is served in a large bowl brimming with penne pasta covered in a slightly spicy Cajun cream sauce blended with chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage, peppers and onions. There’s so many flavors happening in this pasta entree and all of them are delicious and compliment each other perfectly. The Cajun cream sauce ties it all together with just a hint of heat and spice. The buttered garlic bread was a nice crunchy element to top this creamy pasta entree perfectly.
Three and three quarters Galloping Gourmets—They may be in their first year, but Sangalli’s tastes and feels like they’ve been in business for decades, which when you consider the history behind this family restaurant that’s actually somewhat true! This is well worth the short drive from Peoria and I’ll definitely be back!
2217 Court Street