DEE LONGFELLOW PHOTOElmhurst Independent Chamber welcomes Victory Meat & Seafood That’s Tony Gambino with the giant scissors, officially cutting the ribbon on his newest restaurant Victory Meat & Seafood at 116 No. York St. The green-coated Ambassadors from the Elmhurst Chamber of Com-merce & Industry (ECCI) came out to celebrate the ribbon-cutting. Also pictured are (from left): Executive Chef Joe Farina, ECCI Ambassador Tim Gurrie, Gam-bino, ECCI Ambassador Sanchez, Yvonne Farina and ECCI Ambassador Ralph Pechanio.

Latest venture for Tony Gambino who owns HB Jones, Doc’s Victory Pub

By Dee Longfellow

For The Elmhurst Independent

Victory Meat & Seafood, a neighborhood steak and seafood restaurant has opened its doors at 116 No. York St. in downtown Elmhurst. It is the latest restaurant venture by Elmhurst resident Tony Gambino, who also owns and operates HB Jones at York and Vallette and Doc Ryan’s, now known as Doc’s Victory Pub, on Spring Road. Gambino is behind many of the area’s popular Armand’s pizzeria restaurants, including the one in downtown Elmhurst.

Doc Ryan’s was closed for almost a year for remodeling and has now been transformed into a duplicate of a specific pub in Dublin Gambino is familiar with.

“My brother-in-law Jim Bowen is my financial partner,” Gambino told the Independent in an exclusive interview. “We decided to buy the building and completely remodel it to look like an authentic Irish pub.”

As for opening restaurants, Gambino went as far as (pun intended!) India with Taco Fresco.

“Someone was interested in opening Taco Fresco locations in India, so we took the opportunity to franchise them,” he said. “It allowed me the opportunity to take four trips to India. I believe there is still one in existence over there, but I haven’t been involved with them for quite a while.”

It makes sense Gambino is no longer concerned with India when he has so many places keeping him busy right here in Elmhurst. HB Jones keeps hopping on a daily basis as a casual dining restaurant beneath the glass surroundings of a former greenhouse. It’s beautifully bright and open in that area, which extends out of doors, where al fresco dining is available in the warmer months. Even when it begins to get cool, there are portables heaters that make it pleasant on the patio well into the fall.

On to Victory Meat & Seafood…

While Gambino owns Victory Meat & Seafood, it is primarily operated by Executive Chef Joe Farina, who has been a pre-eminent practitioner of classic Chicago-Italian cuisine for more than 25 years.

“[Farina] was involved in Salsaria with me, but this Victory Meat & Seafood is his brainchild,” Gambino said. “I am hoping this building will be a cornerstone of the community. My [financial] partner Jim [Bowen] was looking to make an investment in Elmhurst and this really made a lot of sense.

“So far, the restaurant has been well-received. It’s already got five stars on Yelp.”

“Elmhurst is an historic and beautiful city with a thriving culinary scene,” Chef Farina said. “Our place offers area residents an everyday place to wind down, grab a drink and nosh on everything from fresh oysters, salads and appetizers to prime steak, super-fresh seafood and sandwiches, including a killer burger.”

The restaurant features:

  • hors d’oeuvres ranging from more than five daily selections of fresh seasonal oysters, mussels, baked clams and lobster d’jonge;
  • fresh salads, including a double wedge, imported Burrata, a lobster Cobb salad and Victory’s take on a Caesar;
  • sandwiches from the Cheeseburger Royale, to a lobster roll or an Eisenburg hot dog;
  • prime steaks and chops including a bone-in filet and ribeye, as well as Porterhouse cuts of veal and prime beef;
  • fresh fish and shellfish including sushi grade tuna, swordfish and striped bass;
  • signature Italian dishes like crispy herb brick chicken, veal chop Milanese, linguini and clams and the Chef’s Risotto of the Day;
  • specialty items like lobster mac & cheese; and, on Saturday nights, roast prime rib of beef;
  • desserts that are made in-house daily by the Chef.

Just recently the green-coated Ambassadors of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry hosted a ribbon-cutting to officially open Victory Meat & Seafood. The restaurant seats 110 people, including the bar area. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Thursday from 4 – 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 4-9 p.m. Happy Hour is available Tuesday-Friday from 4-6 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.

For more information, call 630-359-5599 or visit victorymeatandseafood.com.

More about Tony Gambino…

After his parents owned a restaurant for most of his young life, he thought he’d never be interested in it as a full-time job himself.

“I went to school and became a pilot,” Gambino said. “I made aviation my business.”

Then, back in Elmhurst, he decided to begin the development of his restaurant empire, which he admits he enjoys now.

Asked about his favorite dish on the Victory menu, Gambino shares a laugh at himself.

“After saying all these great things about our meats and seafood, I’ve gotta tell ya,” he said, “my favorite thing on the menu is really the brick chicken.”

The Chef actually debones the chicken and leaves it whole – a skill not many people have mastered – then he places a brick on top and roasts it. With the spices and preparation, it comes out as a crispy tasty delight.

When people are active in the community as Gambino is, the Independent likes to know what kind of charitable endeavors he supports.

“I am always surprised how Elmhurst comes together for situations like fundraisers for kids,” he said. “We just try to make ourselves available, if a group needs a place to throw an event or needs us to donate something. I like to do it when I know where it’s going. We don’t need a lot of credit, we just want to be a conduit for the good things going on in this community.”

HB Jones has been the site of the after-party for the “No-Frills Fun-Run” that has taken place over the past few years.  It doesn’t have a specific charity, the group decides who needs the support the most at the time.  A few years ago, for example, the funds went to support the family of Annie LeGere, the young lady who died suddenly from an unknown food allergy. Many believe her life could have been saved if police and fire officials would have had access to an Epi-pen®.  Now, there is legislation on the books of the state of Illinois making Epi-pens accessible to first-responders as well as the training required to use them.

Gambino shares a funny story about another local charity his company supports – the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot.

“I have to laugh because, when I first heard about it, I thought it was the Dan Gibbons MEMORIAL Turkey Trot – I thought the guy was dead!” he laughed.  “One day someone points him out in the HB Jones bar and says, ‘there’s Dan Gibbons’ and I was shocked – I said, I thought he was dead! It’s been a joke for a while.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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