The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 9, 2013

Santino’s serves up traditional favorites with dash of gangster


Want a sandwich? Fuhgeddabout. How about an entree? Whatsamaddayue. OK, well make it an appetizer.

Breaded bullets? Really?

No worries. The names of the specialties on the menu of Santino’s Sports Bar and Grill may suggest a rough crowd, but Wendy Ginavan, general manager, promises that nothing could be further from the truth.

“We’re a family place. We’re just having some fun with the gangster theme,” said Ginavan.

While Santino’s — named after Santino “Sonny” Corleone, the fictional character in “The Godfather — is the new guy at the Briarbrook Country Club in Carl Junction, the restaurant, and its food, have history.

Santino’s operated in Frontenac, Kan., until it burned down on Dec. 14. When the restaurant at Briarbrook closed, Ginavan said it opened the door for Santino’s, which is owned by Mike Bicknell, to move in.

“We saw it as an awesome opportunity,” said Ginavan.

Perhaps the even richer history being introduced is a taste of Pallucca sausage in a sandwich called “The Stevie.”

In 1912, Attilio Pallucca, an immigrant from San Pellegrino, Rome, opened the Italian shop in Southeast Kansas called Pallucca and Son’s Super Market. The store originally opened by Pallucca’s grandfather and partner Enrico Moriconi. Later the family bought Moriconi’s share. It has been passed down three generations in the Pallucca family: grandfather Attilio, Joe, and then Richard.

In 2009, Richard Pallucca decided it was time to scale back because business was slowing down and he was reaching his 70s. Instead of closing its doors, it now operates as a meat and deli shop.

Ginavan cooks up the pork herself that is used in the Scaminaci nachos; an appetizer featuring tortilla chips topped with pulled pork, Monterey cheese sauce, shredded cheese, jalapenos, diced tomatoes and green onions.

Meat for the burgers comes from Beck and Hill, a meat market in Pittsburg, Kan. The fresh meat is used to create The Gambino, a burger smothered with grilled onion, mushrooms and Swiss cheese; The Columbo, a burger stuffed with cheddar cheese; Sammy the Bull, a burger seasoned with Cajun spice, buffalo sauce and topped with crumbled bleu cheese; and The Cement Shoe, a burger topped with jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, barbecue sauce and an onion ring.

The restaurant is open seven days a week. Ginavan also said Santino’s is working on plans to rebuild in Frontenac and will operate at both locations.

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