ReGrow Dining Spotlight
Trish Appleby & Steve Donatelle, Owners
Steve Donatelle opened the iconic neighborhood restaurant in 1976. Due to the pandemic, the ownership and crew have been forced to reinvent many of the restaurant’s processes. They recently completed the installation of a new computer system that greatly streamlines their ability to handle take-out and delivery orders, allows for true contactless delivery of food when requested, and integrates online ordering directly into their kitchen. They recognized early on that to survive this crisis, the ability to handle increased levels of take-out would be crucial. Order online at www.donatellis.com.
“When we’re serving people, we’re helping them celebrate special life events with friends and family”, says co – owner Trish Appleby. “We represent a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times”, a reminder of how important our local restaurants are to our communities.
Always enthusiastic supporters of the community, one of the most notable programs they have supported for fourteen years is the Willow Lane School Work Program. “The experience has been life changing for some of the kids”, says Trish. She recalls with pride one student who came from a challenging home life told her, “this is the best day of my life”!
In 2008 they were featured on the Food Network hit show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. “That turned things around for us overnight” they say. As a result of the show they have served guests from all fifty states and several countries.
Donatelli’s commitment to their employees is noteworthy too. They have seen multiple generations of staff and customers come through over the years and they love following their lives as they have grown and become successful citizens. “Young people learn how to work in this industry” they point out. Both owners recognize that the magic of Donatelli’s is created by their wonderful, dedicated staff and for that they are truly grateful.
This article written by Ken Galloway, and originally featured in the White Bear Press.