Arturo’s Restaurant has been a mainstay for fine Italian dining on Marco Island for almost 21 years with its vast menu of delicious food.
The story behind Arturo’s is just as amazing as its succulent dishes. Sole proprietor Judy Barney reminisced about the restaurant’s background and its early days.
Originally from Brooklyn, Judy was an in-house trader for E.F. Hutton on Wall Street. The stock market crash of 1987 changed all that with a resounding impact. Determined to succeed again, Judy next opened a women’s lingerie store. Once again, at the height of success, Judy received another blow when the business was destroyed by fire.
Recovering from that setback, but never giving in to defeat, she traveled to Marco to visit her brother, Jimmy (now the owner of the Italian Deli), who was working at a hotel on the island. Like so many of us, once Judy crossed the bridge to our island paradise, she never looked back. She met the man who would become her husband at a restaurant called Antonio’s in 1995. Together, they opened Arturo’s Restaurant on Jan. 6, 1996.
Over time, the restaurant flourished and in 2001, Arturo’s expanded, include more seating and parking spots. Judy and her husband eventually divorced, but Arturo’s has endured. They continuedto operate the restaurant together until 2014, when Judy proudly became the sole proprietor.
When asked for the reasons for the restaurant’s success, Judy humbly and graciously said “I have the best chef and the best staff.”
The menu boasts some long-time favorites of Arturo’s guests, as well as many new items. Perhaps the most famous dish is the Arturo’s stuffed pork chop. This boneless pork loin, generously stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella, with a finishing crown of mushroom wine sauce, is a feast for the palate. Judy described one of Arturo’s newer offerings: “Our chicken farcito is rapidly reaching its own fame as a new favorite for our guests. It features a boneless chicken breast stuffed with homemade sausage, broccoli rabe and mozzarella, in a mushroom-truffle cream sauce. It is outstanding!”
Other favorites are the traditional dishes of veal, chicken or shrimp parmigiana; veal, chicken or shrimp francaise; veal or chicken marsala, zuppa di pesce, eggplant parmesan or rollatini, and good old lasagna. And let’s not forget Arturo’s extensive wine list and its vast selection of beverages to complement your dining experience!
Now that your taste buds are wide awake and longing to taste this fabulous food, there is another feature that adds tothe total experience. That is the personal touch, truly a unique gift from Judy Barney.
On a personal note, I have fond memories of a New Year’s Eve several years ago. Still living in New York state at the time, I was vacationing on Marco Island with my husband and my parents. We celebrated the evening with a fabulous meal at Arturo’s. The food was outstanding and the service, impeccable. But my fondest memory comes from our personal encounter with Judy Barney.
She moved with grace, from table to table, asking guests where they were from. When she reached us, my Mom eagerly said “We’re from New York! We’re from Poughkeepsie!” With a wink of her eye and that devilish Brooklyn charm, Judy shook her head and said, “That’s not New York!” My Mom laughed hysterically. My parents have both passed now, but that wonderful memory will be written on my heart forever.
Stop by Arturo’s to make some memories of your own. Located at 844 Bald Eagle Drive, the restaurant is open from 5 PM – 10 PM, Tuesday through Sunday. Reservations are being accepted for holiday parties in December, and Arturo’s will be open on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For reservations, call 642-0550. Visit ArturosMarcoIsland.com to view the complete menu.