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Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.: A Must-Visit Italian Restaurant Between Worcester and Boston


Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz. Article created on 2/14/2019.

Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.
Arturo's Ristorante.


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Dom Fabiano, owner and chef at Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass., has worked in the restaurant industry for four decades. The remarkable thing about that is he's only 37-years-old.

Fabiano experienced his first true taste of working in a restaurant at five-years-old. Standing on a milk crate to make a pizza at his dad's restaurant, Caruso's Pizza in Lynn, Mass. Dom would eventually work virtually every job in the food industry for his father Gerardo, as well as other restaurants. With hard work ethic and an Italian family as an inspiration that Dom felt created homemade meals better than any high profile North of Boston restaurants, he seemed poised for a career working with food. The question: Where would his strong ambitions and training at such a young age eventually take him?

Arturo's Ristorante owner Dom Fabiano making pizza at five-years-old at his dad's restaurant.
Dom making pizza at his dad's restaurant in the 1980s. Photo, courtesy of Dom Fabiano.

After graduating Northeastern University in 2004 with a bachelors degree in business administration in supply chain management, the Marblehead native also graduated from small town life to big city living by landing a job at the famous Dishes in Manhattan, N.Y.

"They had an amazing chef there," said Dom. "I learned a lot, especially about international cuisine and how to cook high quality food in high volume."

In his heart and mind, however, Dom felt that New York City was not a place to raise a family so after a few years he returned to New England looking for the perfect recipe to jump start a career.

Taking Over From a Local Legend

Dom Fabiano, owner of Arturo's Ristorante, Westborough, Mass.
Dom Fabiano, owner of Arturo's Ristorante. Photo, courtesy of Arturo's Ristorante.

For those who believe in destiny, let's take a look at Dom's fortuitous situation.

When Dom was just a baby, Arturo Cantagenova started a small, authentic Italian restaurant in West Boylston, Mass. The year was 1982 and Arturo's Ristorante gained a loyal following in the Worcester area by offering a fine dining experience for all walks of life within a small, modest setting. Business flourished so well that in 1990 Arturo moved the restaurant to nearby Worcester, the second most populated city in New England. Finding great success on busy Chandler St., Arturo felt he could bring even more visibility to his restaurant by moving to the current Westborough location in 1999. Still close enough to Worcester, easily accessible off the Mass Turnpike from Boston and located within the bustling Metrowest suburbs, Arturo's move proved to be the correct one.

Deciding to go out on top of his game, however, Arturo retired in 2009. Dom, without any relation to Arturo, found a restaurant for sale listing and bought the business in 2009.

Dom recently expanded the restaurant greatly from 8,000 to 12,000 sq. ft., but made sure to never compromise the quality of the food or the overall dining experience. Cases-in-point: Executive chef Tommaso Gargiulo worked as chef at the West Boylston and Worcester locations and brings an encyclopedic knowledge of, and true passion for authentic Italian cooking to Arturo's in Westborough. Tommaso hails from Sorrento in southern Italy and, before his great run at Arturo's, worked at highly regarded restaurants in Rome, Italy,
Puerto Rico, St. Louis, Mo. and New Orleans, La.

"I had my first son, things got busy, and I needed help at Arturo's," said Dom. "We are truly blessed to have Tommaso with us. He is gifted, the epitome of a real chef. What makes him so special is his ability to please everyone. We have a large menu, but it is our daily specials that make the restaurant. Tommaso plays a huge role in creating those special dishes, both modern and classic Italian."

From Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass: chicken, roasted peppers, prosciutto, Fontina cheese, sage, and romaine on toasted Foccacia.
One of the incredible daily specials: Chicken, roasted peppers, prosciutto, Fontina cheese, sage, and romaine on toasted Foccacia.


Today, Arturo's serves up to 1,000 diners a day and Dom and staff have really connected with the community.

"I love the community," said Dom, of the Westborough area. "It is a pleasure to serve the people who come here. Our staff makes connections with the customers. Many are original customers from Arturo's in West Bolylston and Worcester."

A Day In The Life at Arturo's Ristorante

Ever notice that some of the best restaurants, for some reason or another, fail to get a significant lunch crowd? That's not Arturo's. Soon after 11:30 a.m., mostly working professionals, families, senior citizens and a few hipsters pretty much fill the main dining room.

Several clues reveal why Dom's gets the crowds. First, the long-standing reputation as evidenced by one couple talking about chatting about the old days at either the West Boylston or Worcester locations -- and then hearing them talk favorably about their current meals. Second, the old school meets modern Italian restaurant not only shows in the homemade foods, but also the atmosphere. The spacious main dining room evokes a classic traditional Italian restaurant...

Dining room at Arturo's in Westborough, Mass.
Dining room. Photo, courtesy of Arturo's Ristorante.

For those preferring the look of a newer dining establishment, the bar area features more of a modern look without feeling sterile...

Bar at Arturo's in Westborough, Mass.
The bar at Arturo's. Photo, courtesy of Arturo's Ristorante.

Bar area at Arturo's in Westborough, Mass.
Cozy surroundings near Arturo's bar area.

Personnel also plays a major role in why Arturo's stays busy. From hosts and hostesses to waiters and waitresses, the professionalism, attentiveness and personal nature of each staff member helps create an overall dining experience that one would expect at the best big city restaurants.

"It's the overall dining experience that we strive to offer the customer," said Dom. "Our service matches the quality of our food. People are blown away by the attention to detail."

It's Like the Best of the North End and Federal Hill in Westborough

And then there's the food, all that beautiful food for lunch and dinner.

Let's face it, even the most average Italian food can still taste pretty good. That's the convenient business model of many chains that also draw crowds.

Arturo's isn't really interested in becoming another chain, however. Dom signed a 20-year lease at the Westborough location and says he has no interest in opening a second location. Clearly, Arturo's focuses on the food, making everything from scratch including its own mozzarella. From homemade soups and pastas to hand-tossed Italian-style pizzas and magazine-worthy desserts, this is the real deal -- like what you'd find in the North End of Boston or Federal Hill in Providence, R.I..

Dom Fabiano, owner of Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass., hand-tosses a pizza.
Dom hand tosses a pizza.
Photo credit: Arturo's Instagram page.

When Dom says Arturo's sources locally, he's not kidding -- as close as one mile away at Nourse Farm and Harvey's Farm. Arturo's also buys local seafood daily.

"We make food fresh, so it makes sense to also source locally," said Dom.

Before anything else, enjoy the homemade bread with dipping oil -- it's fantastic and a great way to start the dining experience here.

Homemade bread with dipping oil from Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.

Delicious homemade bread and dipping sauce from Arturo's.

Another nice way to start off an Arturo's meal: the antipasto for two with an assortment of marinated vegetables, cured meat, olives, house made fresh mozzarella and imported cheese.

Antipasto from Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.
Photo credit: Arturo's web site.

An appetizer like this scallops dish also makes for a tremendous addition before the main meal...

Scallops appetizer from Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.Scallops appetizer. Photo, courtesy of Arturo's.

As a main course, the Pappardelle Bolognese is a signature dish with its ribbon-shaped egg pasta, meat ragu, Parmesan and basil.

Pappardelle bolognese from Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.
Photo credit: Arturo's Instagram page.

Lobster ravioli wonderfully combines lobster, ricotta, mascarpone filling, Portobello, cherry tomatoes, spinach and a shallot sherry cream sauce. Pollo Toscano is a standout with sautéed chicken breast, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella sautéed with white wine, garlic tomatoes, fresh basil over Tuscan eggplant ravioli. Pasta Di Napoli features shrimp, scallops, lobster, diced tomatoes, citrus, fresh herb cream sauce and pappardelle pasta.

The Frutti Di Mare consists of jumbo shrimp, scallops, calamari and mussels sauteed in a spicy tomato sauce served over linguini.

Mussels, shrimp and scallops from Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.
Photo credit: Arturo's Instagram page.

Then there's the linguini and meatballs that uses a meatball recipe in the Fabiano family going back 50 years. Dom's mom made these meatballs back in the day.

Spaghetti and meatballs from Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.
Photo credit: Arturo's web site.

The daily specials make a great restaurant even greater. Case-in-point: the braised short ribs....

Braised boneless short ribs from Arturos Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.
Photo credit: Arturo's Instagram page.


Arturo's also makes its own tiramisu in house with a recipe from one of Dom's aunts.

Homemade tiramisu from Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.Homemade tiramisu. Photo, courtesy of Arturo's.

The rotating dessert menu features one mouthwatering gem after another. If they don't have what you are looking for one night, chances are there's something sweet on the menu that will equally satisfy like the Carrot Cake Cheesecake.

Carrot cake cheesecake from Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.
Carrot Cake Cheesecake. Photo credit: Arturo's Facebook page.

The drinks list also has become a main attraction at Arturo's with 30 wines by the glass with many priced affordably, according to Dom. Crafts beers are plentiful including one made exclusively for Arturo's from Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield, Mass.:  an American IPA infused with fresh blood orange juice!

The open kitchen at Arturo's ultimately paves way to endless possibilities, enhanced by Chef Tommaso, Dom's love for and background in cooking, and influences from his dad Gerardo, mom Filomena and other relatives.

"Growing up, we had many home-cooked meals," said Dom. "I remember eating at grandmas in the North End (of Boston). My mom and dad were influential. My dad has eight brothers and sisters. We were always eating."

And then there is the staff who fully buy into Dom's vision.

"Our team is our greatest asset," said Dom. "We have a diverse staff of professionals that get what it takes to give great service."

In addition, Arturo's also offers private events for between 50 and 70 guests, depending on type of event, as well as catering for office lunches, graduations, religious events, holidays, cocktail parties, open houses and more with delivery available within a 10-mile radius.

The Importance of Staying Balanced and Giving Back

Dom Fabiano, owner of Arturo's Ristorante, with sons Bryce and Dylan.
Dom with sons Dylan (left) and  Bryce (right). Photo credit: Arturo's Instagram page.

Like father like son, but not always.

Dom grew up in a close-knit family, but work often took Gerardo away from home life.

"The difference between me and dad is that my dad was always in such demand," said Dom. "He couldn't stay away from the business. He spread himself too thin. I made sure to build a team that allows me to strike a balance between work and home life."


That means spending quality time with wife Shannon and two sons Bryce, five, and Dylan, one. Often that time together is spent outside the restaurant, but also getting together at Arturo's. Here, Shannon and Dylan enjoy some great food just minutes before Dom takes a much-needed break to join them...

Enjoying meals at Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass.
Shannon Fabiano enjoys an Arturo's lunch with Dylan.


"I have seen many 'firsts' in my family," said Dom. "It is important not to miss these moments."

Dom also makes sure that Arturo's helps those in need by supporting various local charities. As an example, by partnering with
Eat To Give, Arturo's donates money for every bruschetta sold, which in turn, helps feed someone in need. Eat to Give partners with restaurants to provide financial assistance to local soup kitchens and charities that provide for the homeless. Arturo's also helps raise money to support the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance, a grassroots community effort that supports pancreatic cancer research and treatment at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health in Worcester.

"We are philanthropists," said Dom. "It is very important for us to give back."

Conclusion

By creating dishes inspired through family generations and keeping those recipes simple and true to form, Arturo's is one of those rare suburban Italian restaurants that rivals -- and often surpasses -- the best city restaurants serving this type of cuisine. Dom really has created the best of both worlds here -- that is, what Arturo and Tommaso so masterfully created for so many years while passionately putting his own stamp on the 21st century version of Arturo's.

Dom is in business for the long run with the long-term lease and an even longer vision on how to create, innovate and produce a superior selection of Italian dishes in a most competitive field. And like Dom helped his dad at such a young age, who knows what future brilliant chef might be helping him in the distant future?

Dylan Fabiano helps his parents Dom and Shannon make pizza.

Photo credit: Arturo's Instagram page.

Arturo's Ristorante is located at 54 E. Main St., Westborough, MA. Tel. 508-366-1881. Web site: http://www.arturosristorante.com. Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/arturositalian. Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/arturosristorante

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Arturo's Ristorante in Westborough, Mass., is a beloved authentic Italian restaurant that has been around since the 1980s and keeps getting better and better.


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