Legendary Italian fare rules at Massa’s of Course!
By: Suzanne Corbett
After 39 years in the restaurant business, Jack Massa knows what it takes to make people happy: good food, hearty servings and great service.
“Of course, you have to have good food, but what keeps people coming back is the people who work here,” said Massa, who has made Massa’s of Course! one of the most successful family-owned-and-operated restaurants in West County.
Consistently exceptional food and service have been the key ingredients to the success of all Massa’s’ restaurant locations, and over the years, the Ellisville location, which opened in 1989, has become a culinary landmark along Manchester Road.
“There’s been a lot of changes over the years – new people and businesses moving in,” Massa said. “Manchester (Road) has really built up, but we’ve stayed the same. We’re doing pretty much the same menu I call ‘Old St Louis Italian.’ We’ve also kept it affordable for people over the years so they could come here every day if they want.”
From the appetizers to the Beef Pepe – the signature entrée featuring a 9-ounce beef tenderloin grilled and finished with a creamy pepper sauce – Massa’s’ menu prices indeed are reasonable.
Appetizers are sharable and provide variety with notable standouts, such as the Toasted Artichoke Hearts served with a side of poppy seed dip, and the Blue Mussels – always a favorite among gourmands – prepared with a garlic, white wine clam sauce that is perfect for sopping up with the warm, crusty bread that Massa’s provides by the basketful.
“People love our pastas, and our cannelloni is a favorite. But if you’re really, really hungry, order the lasagna. It’s the best, and I don’t know anyone that can finish it,” said Massa, noting that his staff is happy to split any order for no extra charge.
But cannelloni and lasagna are only two of the restaurant’s 17 pasta options, which include Tutto Mare, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Cajun Pasta – a penne pasta tossed with shrimp, chicken and peppers enrobed in a spicy cream sauce. Granted, with so many choices, pasta-lovers could be overwhelmed, but the pasta combination – a plate filled with ravioli, linguine and baked penne with meat sauce and cheese – solves that dilemma.
The wide variety of Massa’s’ menu is not reserved for pasta alone. Besides appetizers, sandwiches, salads and homemade pizzas, there is a full page of beef, chicken and fish entrees, all prepared using traditional and family recipes and served with a salad and a side.
Counted among Massa’s’ classic Italian dishes are Beef Modiga, available as a 6- or 9-ounce serving, Chicken Parmesan and Shrimp Scampi. A must-try signature dish is the Chicken Bolognese, a Massa’s’ creation that generously plates two lightly breaded and bronzed chicken breasts that are sauced in a delicate, white wine, cheese and broccoli sauce accented with a hint of lemon.
Massa’s’ guests should be sure also to check out the tabletop tent menu specials, which recently featured two items: an apricot-glazed pork tenderloin, and beef medallions, both served with a Caesar or dinner salad and a side.
Beyond Massa’s’ famous St. Louis Italian menu, diners enjoy its well-appointed dining room and bar, which are accented with rich woods and crystal chandeliers that create a classy ambiance.
Massa’s of Course!
15310 Manchester Road • Ellisville
4:30-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 4:30-11 p.m., Friday; 5-11 p.m., Saturday