The Buzzetta family is well-known among residents of St. Louis for their Italian restaurants, including Benedettos on Main and Sapore Italian Cafe in Kirkwood. Another family restaurant, Buzzetta’s Italian Cafe, opens soon in Chesterfield.

Sapore Italian Cafe, 451 S. Kirkwood Road, offers a variety of Sicilian cuisine from fresh fish to homemade pastas under the supervision of owner, Paul Buzzetta.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business since I can remember,” Buzzetta said. "You just pick up a lot of different recipes and styles of cooking, and it works out very well as far as creating new dishes and whatnot.”

He described the restaurant as comfortable and unfussy, but definitely upscale with a Tuscan vibe on the inside.

Sapore also has a fenced-in outdoor patio that hangs over the parking lot. It showcases a fountain in the spring and early summer, as well as an upstairs balcony with additional seating.

Among the most popular items on the menu are "flavors of the sea," including the linguette sapori del mare, shrimp with scallops, clams and Prince Edward Isle mussels in a white wine sauce; and “flavors of the land,” such as the Siciliano, which is chicken or veal  topped with olive oil, garlic, lemon and Sicilian bread crumbs.

The restaurant also serves specials — Chilean sea bass, for example, and the prosciutto-wrapped scallops lightly dusted with bread crumbs and served over a lemon risotto.

Six appetizers are on the menu, from homemade lobster ravioli, topped with a paprika cream sauce or a spicy San Marzano tomato sauce, to Melanzane Parmigiano, eggplant baked with the San Marzano tomato sauce, basil, Pecorino Romano and mozzarella.

Sapore also offers specialty drinks with Italian alcohol such as sambuca and aperol spritzers. There is also an extensive wine list, serving domestic and Italian wines, with select wines from Sicily.

“It’s elegant, modern, upscale restaurant,” said Buzzetta's mother, Lia, who's been the executive chef at Sapore for 15 years.

“Everything is so good. The fish, the scallops, the pasta is out of this world,” she said. “You go there to dine, and it’s not fast-paced, you know. They have movie stars go there. It’s very nice.”

Many of the authentic Italian recipes have been passed down through generations and are still shared among family members, she said.

“The recipes are from Mom,” Lia Buzzetta said. "She was the best cook in the world. We have all been in the restaurant business since everyone is young.”

Paul Buzzetta explained that the family relationships define both the staff and the customers. 

“You’re going to get the quality and the love from us, like you’re going to your mom's house or your grandma's house,” he said. “I think it just makes it feel warm and inviting."

While his mother said she still helps out at Sapore, she’s shifting her attention to assist another son, Tony Buzzetta, with the upcoming restaurant, Buzzetta’s Italian Cafe in Chesterfield. The closeness of the family inspired the name of the restaurant . 

"We want to keep a legacy going, our name for the future and younger people that come alone," Lia Buzzetta said. 

Buzzetta's Italian Cafe will open in May or June, Tony Buzzetta said, at 120 Public Works in Chesterfield Valley.

“Our food is going to be similar to Sapore,” he said. 

The plan is to showcase a comparable elegant ambience to the Sapore Italian Cafe, and Lia Buzzetta will take on the role of executive chef.

“We will try to make the customers happy and entertained to have a nice restaurant just like Sapore,” she said.

  • My name is Camryn Kesselring and I'm a K-12 reporter from St. Louis Missouri.