Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Forty-Four Years and Counting!

Time flies when you’re having fun… In the fall of 1970 while living in St. Louis Missouri, I started working for Venture Stores, a division of May Department Stores.  Shortly after I began my new job, I met Bob, his daughter Debbie and then Bob’s wife Nona.  Despite numerous jobs and moves to different cities for a plethora of retailers, we have kept in touch over the years and have maintained our friendship…

This photo of Bob and Nona was taken several years ago when Laurie visited them at their home in Clearwater Florida. (Love the purse Bob!)

Early this summer, Bob and Nona ‘threatened us’, telling us that if we didn’t come down and join them for their annual Labor Day Party, they would never speak to us again!  It was definitely time for another road trip!

Much more about this latest trip will follow… However I’m going to focus on our visit with our friends and their big blow out Labor Day Event before I backtrack to the other portion of our early September adventures…

Our visit with Bob and Nona was spread over 3 days… On the first evening, we met them at their house and then the expanded group proceeded to what they described as “The No Name Italian Restaurant”.  As you can see, it really does have a name…but it is different than any restaurant we’ve eaten in anywhere!
Welcome to La Trattoria Da Gaetano in Dunedin Florida…

Twelve of us met for a 'pre-pre-Labor Day Party Dinner'!  Laurie was the photographer…and she took photos of the group from both ends of the table. 
As you can see, La Trattoria Da Gaetano isn’t a fancy place.  It’s definitely ‘old school’ in appearance and it’s located in a strip shopping center.  The first plus was that despite the fact that the restaurant offers wine to its patrons, diners can B.Y.O.B. (bring your own bottle…or in this case bottles) of wine!  

As I said earlier, La Trattoria Da Gaetano is definitely different!  The corner table in this photo is loaded with ingredients for appetizers and entrees.  

This is Gaetano…with his cart of goodies.  He is the proprietor, he is from Italy, and he is definitely a character!  What makes this restaurant really different is that there is no menu…

Gaetano with his cart is the walking talking menu!  When he has everyone’s attention, he talks diners through his many and varied offerings for the evening.  He actually shows his patrons most of the meat or seafood he has on hand.  He will make his customers just about any Italian offering they want…done anyway they want!  He told us that if he doesn’t have it, he’d go out and buy it…

This is a representative collage of the many meals that were ordered by our group.  Laurie had a veal dish…excellent!  Dawn Marie had a Veal Shank…very good!  I had Shrimp Fra Diablo (extra spicy).  It was very good and very spicy too!  An order of Lasagna was shared by several people…and raved about too.  The steaks were enormous.  No complaints from anyone!

I have no idea about the cost of our feast…but I’m sure that it wasn’t inexpensive!  Bob and I and our spouses and Dawn didn’t have to pay for our meals.  We sure appreciated this over-the-top treat from Dave and Rich!  I must admit that as a diner paying for his meal, I would be more comfortable if I knew the price of the food prior to ordering but that isn’t part of Gaetano’s routine.  The proprietor is really a big part of the charm and ambiance of this restaurant!  He has more than his share of dedicated patrons despite the ‘cost mystery’ involved.

From our experience, the food at La Trattoria Da Gaetano ranged from very good to excellent!  After 6+ years in East Tennessee, which is an Italian cuisine ‘desert’, this meal was a real treat.  La Trattoria Da Gaetano is located at 2152 Main Street (Coastal Plaza) in Dunedin Florida.  Phone: 727-733-5664.  This restaurant is open for dinner only and it’s closed on Mondays.  Given Gaetano’s style, background and age, it is no surprise that this restaurant doesn’t have a website…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for an old style Italian feast!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. How fun to have kept up with old friends through the years. The La Trattoria Da Gaetano looks like just the place for a great get-together and Clearwater is such a pretty area. Nice that Dawn Marie could join you too.

  2. Looks like a great place and the dishes in the collage all look super good. Nice that Dawn could be there as well.