Meet a pair of brothers who go the extra mile to create a warm, inviting atmosphere at their brand-new Roscoe restaurant, and discover some of the mouthwatering dishes they’ve dreamed up.
Three brothers from the Rockford area, who learned the restaurant business from their father, have opened Amici Italian Grill at 5506 Clayton Circle, Roscoe. “Amici” means “friends” in Italian, explains Shpresim Seferi, who owns the new restaurant with brothers Gino and Afrim.
“Food is such an amazing thing in itself, and brings family and friends together,” Shpresim says.
“This is a place where family and friends come together,” adds Afrim. “That’s our whole focus, so the name just made sense.”
The brothers describe their recipe for success as a combination of great food, great service, hands-on management, attention to detail and a warm and inviting atmosphere. They learned much of what they know from their father, Chuck, who ran restaurants in the Rockford area.
Gino says foods from the Amici kitchen are fresh, simple and high-quality. All meats are top cuts and all sauces, soups, breads and pizzas are homemade.
The menu offers classics like “Mom’s Lasagna,” spaghetti, fettuccini Alfredo, chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan and baked mostaccoli. There’s also chicken Marsala, chicken piccata, tomato basil salmon, New York strip and filet mignon. Shrimp dishes include shrimp Portofino with spinach, mushrooms, angel hair pasta and lemon butter; and Shrimp diablo, made with garlic, angel hair and spicy marinara. Pasta Milano is made with chicken, sun-dried tomato, mushrooms and penne pasta in a garlic cream sauce. Another popular dish cooked up by Gino is Penne De Amici, made with Italian sausage, fresh spinach, sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic, olive oil, white wine and Parmesan cheese.
Specials not on the menu are offered daily, such as lobster ravioli, stuffed chicken Marsala, Sicilian steak and a weekly Friday fish fry.
“We’re very hands-on,” says Shpresim. “We use the best ingredients. We open and close the place, and everyone gets the personal attention they need. We take a lot of pride in what we do and I believe that’s what will set us apart and why we will be here for a long time.”
In addition to providing great food, the family strives to be a good citizen to its community. Amici has donated gift cards, food and time to fundraisers and other community events. Staff members partner with Honnonegah High School by employing students in Life Skills classes.
The Amici building has housed other restaurants, including the Sicilian and the Gun Glub; the brothers believe they are in a perfect location. Patrons appreciate the welcoming atmosphere of Amici, starting with the spacious entry foyer that leads into dining areas with soft indirect and up lighting. The decor is delectable, in shades of chocolate and sage, and cherry wood furnishings, arched entryways, decorative pillars and tile flooring softly whisper “Italian.” Metal art, wine bottles, ceramic wall art and family pictures add interest, but not clutter, to the comfortable ambiance.
Whether you’re dressed up or wearing jeans, you’ll feel comfortable in Amici’s for lunch or dinner. Pick a table or booth in the dining room or bar. Menu items range in price from $7 to $25. Lunch is served in 20 minutes or less, and patrons can call ahead to have their meal waiting for them when they arrive. If you prefer, call for carry-out. The business opens daily at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant seats 200; a full-service bar with three televisions seats 40, and a private dining room seats up to 25. A downstairs banquet room accommodates 150 people.
Local business owner LaVerne McCurdy dines at Amici about three times a week and gives the restaurant top marks in all areas. Steaks and zucchini fritte are among his favorite dishes.
“I’ve met all the managers and they appreciate your business,” he says. “It’s just a great place to eat and I expect they will be around for a long time.”
Shpresim predicts the menu will be updated about three times a year, with creations from the Amici kitchen and customer requests. Plans are underway for gluten-free and whole-grain dishes. Future plans also include taking advantage of locally grown produce, setting up outdoor seating, offering early bird specials and delivery service.