Antonio’s Cucina Italiana
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Roman Village and Antonio’s Cucina Italiana Serves Love Stories With a Side of Pasta

February 12, 2019

Love is in the air at Roman Village and Antonio’s Cucina Italiana. The Rugiero family shares why their Metro Detroit restaurants are the perfect destination this Valentine’s Day.

By Cassie Kunze

Sponsored by Roman Village and Antonio’s Cucina Italiana

The story of Antonio Rugiero and “Mama” Rita began at Rugiero’s Roman Village Cucina Italiana Restaurant in 1964 after immigrating to the United States in what can only be described as “love at first sight.” Sharing a passion for Italian cuisine and bringing people together through homemade meals, the couple got married a year later — and prepared their own reception dinner for all their guests.

Four boys and five restaurants later, the Rugiero family business continually grows on a strong foundation of love, commitment and authentic Italian traditions passed down through generations.

Antonio’s Cucina ItalianaPhoto courtesy of Antonio’s Cucina Italiana

The Rugiero family.

Following in the footsteps of his parents, Antonio Rugiero Jr., second-eldest son and CEO of the family businesses, met the love of his life at the restaurant’s Dearborn Heights location. He says he knew the moment he saw Sabrina that she would be his wife. They now have four beautiful children of their own and will celebrate 19 years of marriage this year.

Antonio’s Cucina ItalianaPhoto courtesy of Antonio’s Cucina Italiana

Antonio Rugiero Jr. and Sabrina Rugiero

Rugiero Jr. says he attributes much of his family’s success to their hard work and unparalleled authentic Italian cuisine. A flavorful blend of central and southern Italian recipes, Antonio’s pasta, soups, breads and, of course, homemade cannoli are made daily at each of the family’s five locations that also feature imported espresso and cappuccino machines. The shareable portions make for the perfect date night and to possibly attempt a kiss mid-spaghetti noodle —ála “Lady and the Tramp.”

Celebrating 55 years in business, Roman Village and Antonio’s Cucina Italiana has been the backdrop to countless romantic love stories — from first dates and proposals to anniversaries. The delicious dishes and enchanting Venetian design has attracted Metro Detroit couples to celebrate some of life’s biggest moments over the decades.

Livonia residents Heather and Eric Beatham held their rehearsal dinner at Antonio’s in Canton in May 2017 with their closest friends and family. “I knew it was the perfect place for our dinner the moment I walked into the restaurant,” Heather says. She added the upscale ambiance and home-style plates created a wonderful atmosphere to make new memories with her loved ones. The couple’s favorite dish of the night was the ravioli florentine, a spinach and ricotta-stuffed pasta topped with a cream sauce and sundried tomatoes.

Antonio’s Cucina ItalianaPhoto courtesy of Heather Beatham

Eric and Heather Beatham dining at Antonio’s Cucina Italiana for their rehearsal dinner.

As a restaurant born from romance, the Rugiero family looks forward to hosting guests every Valentine’s Day in hopes of nourishing other love stories. Each restaurant is creating its own dinner special this Thursday, and every location is offering strawberry shortcakes to ensure the evening is as sweet as possible.

Antonio’s Cucina ItalianaPhoto courtesy of Antonio’s Cucina Italiana

Antonio’s Cucina Italiana

2220 N. Canton Center Road, Canton


Antonio’s Cucina Italiana

26356 Ford Road, Dearborn Heights


Antonio’s Cucina Italiana

37646 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills


Roman Village Cucina Italiana

9924 Dix Ave., Dearborn


Antonio’s Piccolo Ristorante

31735 Plymouth Road, Livonia



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