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Aug 27, 2014
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The Art of Tony’s

February 27th 05:02pm, 2009

Left to right: Joan Mitchell, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. Click on a photo to expand.

Mention the name Tony’s, and St. Louisans automatically think of award-winning Italian cuisine. But this venerable eatery boasts a feast for the eyes, as well. Look up from your plate and you’ll be treated to an intimate view of one of the finer modern art collections in the area.

According to co-owner James Bommarito, the collection started in earnest after Tony’s relocated to Market Street in 1992. The traditional statuary and oil paintings you see around the restaurant (which some of you may remember from the original location) were collected by his father, Vincent. Once the Bommaritos had moved, however, they began adorning the new space in a more contemporary vein.

Most of the works are in the Pop Art and Abstract Expressionist genres, with pieces by prominent artists like Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg and Sam Francis. The real crowd-pleasers among the 20-plus pieces in the collection: four signed Andy Warhol Flowers prints, which hang in the wine room.

It might sound strange to have modern art in such a cradle of tradition as Tony’s, but it works. Nothing garish or startling here – all of the pieces serve the space and enhance the dining experience. After all, as fellow owner Vincent P. Bommarito said, good art is just a natural extension of good food and good service – which Tony’s has in abundance.

Matt Sorrell
Photos by Ashley Gieseking

Editor’s note: This story appeared in the March 2009 issue of Sauce Magazine. It’s reprinted here with additional photos.

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One Response to “The Art of Tony’s”

  1. Veggie Says:
    February 27th, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    It’s too bad that Tony’s scores so poorly on vegetarian fare. Fine vegetarian Italian dining can be had in major cities (Escopazzo anyone?); too bad that’s not the case in the Lou.

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