AND SO IT BEGAN…
In 1906, Patricio and Angela Balducci migrated from Italy to start a new life in America. They brought with them the Italian heritage of fine wine and food, and put their talent to good use in the tavern, restaurant and grocery business. They worked hard to build a good life and gained great respect in the community.
Their son, Louis P. Balducci, born in 1915, had an opportunity to work in the California vineyards as a young man. This experience sparked an interest in the wine business. Upon returning to St. Louis from the Pacific in World War II, Louis opened the Balducci Wine Company in 1946. In 1940, Louis married his long-time sweetheart Virginia LaBarge. Louis and Virginia had four children—Don, Sue, Rick and Joanne.
In 1975, Rick teamed up with Dave and Steve Bour to open Balducci’s Restaurant. They found a basement with cheap rent that nobody wanted. It needed a lot of work. Lacking enough money to open, the trio did most of the work themselves. Dave and Steve hammered, stained and painted while Rick built the bar and the original chairs out of wine barrels. The original tables were built from large U.E. wire spools that were converted and hand painted by Brother Matthew from the Black Madonna Shrine in Eureka, Missouri. He also painted a monk stomping grapes on a barrel end and gave it to the Balducci family as a gift. That painting turned into the Balducci logo and is still used today.
In 1977, Rick bought out the Bour Brothers and became partners with his brother, Don in 1979. Don, who worked in management for Schenley Distillers, brought his business expertise and his family from Castle Rock, Colorado to partner with Rick to develop and operate Balducci’s Restaurant. After 28 years of hard work and scores of satisfied guests, he retired in 2007.
Joanne Balducci-Shivall attended St. Joseph’s Academy and the University of Missouri. She joined the restaurant in 1976 and has been an integral part of the operation ever since. Joanne still makes the soups and sauces fresh daily.
Rick’s wife, Carol Robinson-Balducci started at the restaurant at age 19 in 1979. She later worked in the airline industry until moving to Augusta, Missouri with Rick to start Balducci Vineyards in 1987.
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AND THE TRADITION CONTINUES
One of the things the Balducci Staff is most proud of is their longevity. Many young people have paid for school, automobiles and down-payments for homes by working at Balducci’s. They are very proud of their past and present co-workers. Many parents who dine with their families at Balducci’s today, started coming to the restaurant when they were young children growing up in the neighborhood.
The Balducci family and staff hopes the tradition will continue to grow and the restaurant will prosper for many years to come. Our family is honored to serve your family!
We continue to welcome and serve many of our original guests … their children … and their grandchildren. Our family tradition is your family tradition.