Tony C’s Italian Gardens
Fried chicken, choice Angus steaks add diversity to authentic Italian menu
Posted: August 25, 2013 at 6 a.m.
PRAIRIE CREEK — Originally established in 1986 as a fine-dining establishment with white table cloths and crumb scrapers, Tony C’s Italian Gardens was intended to be a destination restaurant.
Because of its location near Beaver Lake, however, many patrons would stop by after being on the lake and ask if they were dressed appropriately.
To make customers more comfortable and to appeal to a larger crowd, Tony C’s shifted to a more casual atmosphere with lower prices.
The recipes and quality of food have not been compromised, said owner Tony Catroppa.
Rich with Italian heritage and fresh flavors, the menu highlights family recipes with items such as the signature plate Grandma Rosa, along with house-made fettucini noodles and stone-baked pizzas.
“We ‘serva’ the ‘reala’ stuff,” Catroppa said with a heavily emphasized Italian accent.
His wife of 36 years, Colleen, operates the restaurant while Tony enjoys partial retirement.
“I am semi-retired. I help out by cutting steaks and checking the sauces, basically by eating them. My biggest job is watching the Hogs play,” he said.
To ensure he is not slacking on his responsibilities, six large flat-screen televisions are mounted around the restaurant.
The Catroppas are supported by a small staff that is dedicated to the success of the restaurant.
“We are like family. This is like a second home,” Colleen said.
One side of the restaurant is referred to as The Grill and has a horseshoe-shaped bar, booth seating along one wall, a pool table and video games. The area is also used to host live music, dancing and karaoke.
Local bands that frequent the Dickson Street and Eureka Springs circuits are also recruited to entertain at Tony C’s.
As the lake season tapers off in late summer, the live entertainment and televised sporting events help attract patrons — and the food, of course.
“We make everything fresh, with great care, and priced reasonably,” Tony said.
The pizza crust is made from scratch; the sauces are slow cooked and seasoned with fresh herbs; and the chicken is hand breaded.
While house specialties include five-cheese lasagna, chicken parmigiana and fettucini alfredo, Tony C’s also offers American food that includes steaks, burgers, sandwiches, seafood and Southern-style meals.
Daily specials include charbroiled, USDA-choice Angus steaks such as filet mignon, Kansas City strip and prime rib. Prices range from $9.97 to $24.97.
Southern, home-style entrees include fried chicken, fried catfish, boneless pork chops and chicken-fried steak.
The Feast of Caesar for Two is an ideal meal to share and priced at $24.97. The order includes chicken parmigiana, spaghetti topped with marinara, raviolis, meatballs and Italian sausage.
The lunch menu offers a sampling of these specialty dishes, and everything is cooked to order.
Breakfast is served until 2 p.m. daily and includes the standards — eggs, omelets, waffles and pancakes — as well as authentic Mexican options such as enchiladas and eggs, huevos rancheros and a breakfast burrito.
Tony C’s opens at 9 a.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is located 3.5 miles east of Rogers on Arkansas 12. More information is available by calling (479) 925-3401.