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Craig McEwen, Published December 31 2008

Altony’s offers right ‘stuff’

Three words describe 6-year-old Bobby Chalifoux’s recent visit to Altony’s Restaurant in Dilworth.

“I’m really stuffed,” the young West Fargoan said after filling up on spaghetti and meatballs.

Three years ago, Al Gordon decided to bring some Italian culinary heritage back to his hometown.

In July 2005, he opened Altony’s at 4 Center Ave. W. in the building that once housed his uncle Tony Bava’s liquor store.

Spaghetti and lasagna are the hot menu items, he said. There are also appetizers, American and Italian sandwiches, shrimp, pizza, ice cream, wine, beer and other selections.

“They’ve got really good food. And it seems like for the amount of money you get a really big portion,” said Steve Chalifoux, while treating his sons to dinner.

“Our food is nothing fancy,” Gordon said. “It’s just basic Italian food like you eat at your mom’s house. I have no recipes.”

Monday through Friday, his days start at 6:45 a.m. and end about 9 p.m.

“We get all our meat ground fresh every morning,” he said. “A lot of times I get meat twice a day.”

Gordon uses 40 to 60 pounds of ground meat daily and rolls out about 400 meatballs a week.

Bread is baked fresh every morning.

Altony’s goes through about 30 gallons of spaghetti sauce daily, he said.

For Gordon, previous cooking experience falls somewhere between little and none.

He credits family genealogy.

“My mother’s whole family came from Italy,” he said.

His grandparents, Domenico (Nick) and Clara Bava, operated a once-popular Dilworth supper club and dance hall known as Venice Gardens.

“I worked at the Venice with my uncle for many, many years,” he said.

His father, former Dilworth Police Chief Stan Gordon Sr., did a lot of cooking for the Dilworth Lion’s club and peace officer organizations.

The restaurant, which employs up to six full- and part-time workers, is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.

“This has been fun, and as long as it’s fun, I’ll do it,” Gordon said.

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502