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Author Archives:jskibbie

Changes at Clementi’s

If you’ve had dinner at Clementi’s, you’ve likely met Mike. He’s the guy checking on each table, asking if you’ve enjoyed your meal, or sharing a story with you as you walk in. He’s a people person and it shows in his smile.

Running a restaurant has changed his whole life. Despite owning multiple businesses over the years, from real estate; to concrete statuary where he made fountains, birdbaths, flowerpots, gargoyles; to rehabbing buildings; he even owned a stenography business back in the day; Mike will tell you nothing prepares you for restaurant ownership.

071816_Mike_Clementi_SrMike fell into restaurant ownership when he bought two buildings for an investment. One building needing a lot of rehabbing, and one had a small restaurant/bar called Paprikash. It turned out Paprikash had a fabulous Hungarian chef and a competent manager so the business continued. After being reviewed by Check Please, it boomed! With success, Paprikash outgrew its location, meanwhile the neighborhood was undergoing changes, so, 14 years ago Mike moved Paprikash to Arlington Heights. Sadly, with the death of their Hungarian chef, the cuisine was harder to replicate and Mike saw an opportunity for a change, and the idea of Clementi’s was born.

Mike’s name was anglicized to Clements when his father entered the army, but the original family name was Clementi. Mike’s passion for Italian cooking came from his grandmother who lived with him for years. Using inspiration from Grandma Clementi’s original recipes, and out of a willingness to change with the circumstances, a chef was born. Each recipe developed from scratch, using fresh ingredients by Mike himself is an homage to his roots.

Having no formal training in the restaurant business, Mike and his son forged their way through learning the process, making improvements as they learned. When Clementi’s first opened it was more fine dining with linen table cloths and an extensive wine list – but this attracted customers mostly over 40. Mike and his son wanted to attract more families, so through a couple of remodels – they expanded the bar bringing in craft beers, updated the dining room, providing a more casual, family friendly atmosphere.

When asked why Clementi’s is closing now, Mike’s face softened and his hands came together. Owning and running a restaurant takes its toll. His son’s interests in brewing have deepened, and he’s looking to work in the brewing industry. With several key staff planning to leave shortly to return to school, he’s facing once again re-staffing the restaurant – which is a continual struggle. Facing his 6th decade, working from noon until 2 AM has grown old. All these factors have contributed to Mike’s decision to close. He won’t miss making food for 200 at a time – but he’s looking forward to cooking on a smaller scale for family and friends now that he’ll have time off on holidays. A chance to enjoy a regular night’s sleep, and spending time with his 19th month old grandson will be priceless. Mike is upbeat and positive about his future.

You’ll see him again soon – doing something scaled down where he can pick and choose something he really wants to do, when he wants to do it –  but he will still be in the area. He will carry on the Clementi’s tradition of being a resource to the community. A true believer in supporting community projects – Mike is currently the president of the local Lion’s club and an active Rotarian.  Clementi’s supported many local charities such as:

You can bet in his next endeavor, he will continue to support his community.

Change is bitter sweet. Mike will miss his regulars – like the couple who comes in every Friday night, the guy on the barstool on Wednesdays, it’s the people who really make the work worthwhile. As hard as it was to tell his staff, and he knows they all do well in their next endeavors. Friday, July 29th will be the last day for Clementi’s, at least as you know it now, but it will just be a new chapter in the life of Mike Clements, Sr.

Clementi's Pizzeria & Bar offers fine Italian cuisine, pub fare and small bites.

Party Time in Arlington Heights!

Arlington Heights Catering

Clementi’s Pizzeria & Bar offers catering in Arlington Heights as well as Buffalo Grove, Mt. Prospect, and Palatine. We’ll do the cooking for you!

Graduation Parties and Family Picnics Catered by Clementi’s

It’s summertime in the NW Suburbs of Chicago and that means it’s party time! Celebrating a graduation from high school, jr. high and even kindergarten seems like a great reason to host a party. Now that the wet season is behind us, send out the invites and collect the RSVP’s. Once you settle who’s invited, give us a call to determine the best way to get as much of Arlington Heights finest Italian cuisine in front of your guests.

From the simple to the divine, we have a variety of appetizers and salads available. Try our chicken and pasta entrée’s if you are looking to make sure everyone leaves satisfied. Check out our Catering Menu!

If you are looking for a reason to celebrate, and don’t have any graduates, the next best thing is a Family Picnic. Round up the Aunts and Uncles on both sides of the family for a catered affair. Everyone loves Italian Beef and Sausage. We’ve got all the fixings for a casual sandwich spread by the pan, half pan, and/or by the lb. We’ll grab the fixings including, bread, au jus, and peppers. We’ve got sweet peppers and hot giardiniera by the pint.

A party just isn’t a party without dessert. Clementi’s Chocolate Fudge Cake or Cannoli’s are available for catered parties throughout Mt. Prospect, Wheeling, Northbrook, and Palatine. With Clementi’s catering, we’ll think of everything including plates, forks, and silverware. We’ll make sure your food stays warm with chafing racks and sterno fuel also. We’ll handle the cooking while you are able to enjoy your guests.

Call Today 847-253-3544 to make your reservation and be sure your party has the best Italian Food in Arlington Heights.

Clementi's Pizzeria & Bar offers the best pizza in town along with a wide selection of Craft Beer & Wine.

#DiningOut for a Cause; Galloping Out

And They’re Off! Clementi’s is Galloping Out on Tuesday May 17th!

Come support Galloping Out’s efforts to rehabilitate and house retired race horses.

Clementi’s will give 20% of the house to Galloping Out when you dine or drink with them on May 17th from 4-10PM

They are pushed to their limits and bet on. We watch them for fun, entertainment and sport. Admired for their beauty and strength, horses evoke dreams of little girls and grown-ups alike. We are blessed to have our own International Race Track – just up the road from Clementi’s off Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights. You can watch these amazing thoroughbreds race the wind, but what happens to that race horse after the race. What about if the horse has an injury, illness, or, is simply too old, to make it back to the track?

In the past many were euthanized or slaughtered after their racing days ended. Depending on health or injury, race horses typically retire, between the ages of 3-10 years, yet they have a life expectancy, of 20-25 years. Horse enthusiasts worked hard to close the last horse slaughter facility in the USA, in 2007. Sadly, “Kill buyers” are still exporting horses across the border to Mexico. Galloping Out helps save these gorgeous animals from such a deadly fate.

Galloping Out helps find a new life track, for these Arlington Heights beauties. Accepting only horses from Illinois, who raced at Arlington Heights, they are a true local rescue. They partner with 6 local horse farms where the horses, receive: transitional care, veterinary aid, and re-training, with the oversight and guidance of the Galloping Out’s program. Their goal is to assure these amazing horses, find the best path to their new life, rather than be put out to pasture.

Horses who are able, can be re-trained to compete in shows, or events. Others are re-trained for pleasure riding, or public service, even playing polo. These well-tuned athletes specifically trained for racing would not be safe for just anyone to ride straight off the track without special attention to give them a new set of skills to interact with the public or their new family. Re-training often takes 90 days or more.

Through a thoughtful adoption process, Galloping Out matches a horse’s abilities, with their prospective adoptive owner’s interests. Allowing these horses to thrive with new opportunities for years to come, is the gift of supporting Galloping Out by dining at Clementi’s Pizzeria & Bar on 05/24.

Adoption fees and owner assistance only covers part of the costs to rehabilitate these horses, however more help is needed. Clementi’s is happy to be one of the community partners to support the valuable work of Galloping Out.

Come to Clementi’s on Tuesday, May 17th – between 4PM and 10PM – and 20% of your bill, will go to support Galloping Out’s efforts to restore these dynamic animals to a new life’s purpose.

Enjoy Arlington Heights Best Pizza, or some fine Italian cuisine. Take a tour of our #craftbeer menu while sampling our small bites or a dessert. It’s a sure bet that this trifecta of good will, great food, and craft beers will make everyone feel like a winner.