Wouldn’t you like to know how Tony Rivoli has managed to start a business,
and keep it viable for nearly 22 years?
Longevity is not a trait of this volatile industry. Restaurants come and go
far too often.
Not Rivioli’s Italian and Seafood Restaurant, 781 Fischer Blvd., Toms River
(732-270-3634). The family-owned and operated business has found the right
mix: great chefs, great food, great wait staff, and very comfortable
My first visit to Rivoli’s on Monday, Feb. 7, impressed me beyond my wildest
expectations. It was an experience to cherish, believe me.
Nicole Rivoli, the boss’ daughter, greeted on arrival. On my way to my
seat, I stopped and chatted with two very nice women who had just been
served their dinners. I was stunned at the size of the portions. They told
me how great the food was there, and made some recommendations.
My waitress was Jen Skrinak of Toms River. Can anyone be more cordial? I
fell in love with her treatment of me from the very beginning. She made me
feel so special.
Jen walked me through the menu and the night’s specials, of which there were
many. Too many to choose from, I thought. Too, too many.
Jen gave me a clue as to her favorites. I could see why. They were all
very tempting, and sounded so delicious.
I finally settled on the clams casino ($7.95) as a starter, not knowing I
also got a wonderfully fresh salad and a loaf of bread (I figured I had
better pass on the bread).
The clams were perfect, very tasty. Clams casino are my favorite. I wanted
more but thought better of it when I saw the huge entrees coming out of the
I selected the Pasta Roma ($15.95), a collection of manicotti, stuffed
shells and ravioli banked with mozzarella cheese and served with a side dish
of gnocchi (my favorite dish because of my late grandmother) and tortelli
Alfredo. How did they manage to get all of that on one dish?
Now I’m a big guy, and big portions don’t scare me, but the size of this
dish was intimidating.
I tried and tried to eat as much of the Pasta Roma as I could. I don’t
think I put a dent in it. Now I know why everyone took a container home
I especially enjoyed the sauces, which were fabulous, and the stuff shells
as good as I have ever had. I was impressed for sure, and I don’t easily
Nicole Rivoli told me her brother-in-law, Jason Hewmlewski, who is married
to Monica Rivoli, works in the kitchen with Tony Rivoli. Quite a family,
don’t you think?
That’s what makes Riovoli’s so special. They take such pride in the dishes
they serve. Afterall, they’re family and they work so well together serving
While I took home enough for a healthy lunch the next day, I could not
resist the made-on-the-premisis desserts. They were also so big, so great
I couldn’t resist the chocolate mousse parfait ($8.95) and an espresso
($2.25) to complete the meal.
Would you believe an evening at Rivoli’s, with all the food I enjoyed, only
cost $38.09 (also with a Diet Coke)?
Now I can understand how Rivoli’s has stayed in business for oh so long with
such a tremendous following for a BYOB restaurant that has been in the same
building since the very first day.
And the family just opened a bar/restaurant in Howell that Patch readers
will be reading about very soon.
You can reach Don Wilno at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for places to