By Amanda Anderson
SATELLITE BEACH -- For 23 years, David Rich has been doing what he loves the most -- running his restaurant, Pappagallos.
A fixture along the Space Coast since 1990, Pappagallos serves up delicious and classic Italian fare.
"I grew up in the restaurant business," Mr. Rich said. "My parents owned a restaurant here in the 1980s, and when they retired, I stayed in it."
With the first Pappagallos location by the Eau Gallie Causeway, Mr. Rich has moved his restaurant around central Brevard County. The current location on A1A in Satellite Beach has been home to Pappagallos since 2006.
Mr. Rich's wife, Tricia, has worn many hats within the company, working on marketing and promotional campaigns to waiting tables.
She is as much a fan of the restaurant's menu as her husband.
"I love the Chicken Pastagallo," Mrs. Rich said. "I'm the whole reason it's on the menu."
Chicken and penne pasta are topped with a homemade Alfredo sauce, with rosemary and bacon. The dish is baked to perfection with a thin layer of breadcrumbs on top.
"It has a great woodsy, smoky taste," Mrs. Rich added.
Mr. Rich said he loves anything with bread.
"I love bread, but if I absolutely had to choose my favorite thing to eat here, it would be a garlic pizza, with olive oil, fresh garlic, parmesan cheese and Italian sausage," Mr. Rich said.
Pappagallos is known for its wide range of Italian cuisine, especially classic dishes like baked ziti, calzones and eggplant parmesan.
"I've never been much of an eggplant eater," Mrs. Rich said. "One day, Dave made me some eggplant and I loved it. Some people tell us they come in here just for our eggplant."
Pappagallos is also known for the fresh ingredients they use.
"We make things to order, and even though you may have to wait a little longer, you get exactly what you want, and it's fresh," Mr. Rich said. "We make our own sauces, breads, soups, basically everything is made here, including the desserts."
In these times of economic uncertainty, Pappagallos offers its patrons fair price for its excellent food.
"Sometimes I look at tickets with 10 people on it and they didn't even spend $100," Mrs. Rich added. "We also have a $6 lunch menu and a $9 early bird dinner menu."
With its prime location right on the beach, Pappagallos plans to take advantage of the views.
"Our goal, this year, is to fix up the back patio for dining," Mrs. Rich said. "We are currently in the process of making the patio a better location for guests to eat and enjoy the views of the ocean."
Have a special event coming up? Pappagallos proudly offers catering!
"We've done a lot of things for schools and weddings around here," Mr. Rich said. "It's a lot of fun to say you've done things for hundreds of people because it's a challenge; we also customize a menu for events beyond Italian food, like shrimp, prime rib and more."
Although Pappagallos is a "Mom and Pop" restaurant, when the staff receives enough notice, they are happy to make a customized menu for its customers.
One of the most recognizable restaurants along the beach, Pappagallos is happy to have provided so many people with wonderful food within the past 23 years.
"It sounds corny, but I love how I've become part of the scenery and the town," Mr. Rich said. "Kids come back and say how much they've missed this place. It may sound very 'Norman Rockwell,' but I like it."
"Everyone knows each other and life keeps in a good balance," Mrs. Rich said. "We love to give back to the community that supports us. When you come here, it stays here."
Pappagallos is located at 1769 Highway A1A, Satellite Beach.
Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information, call (321) 773-7272 or visit www.pappagallos.com.