With mouthwatering pasta dishes, and steaks served in Grandma’s secret sauce, you can really feel the love at Sibley Gardens in Trenton.
“It’s an Italian steakhouse, but it’s much more than that,” explains co-owner Nick Piunti. “The best compliment, and I’ve heard it so many times through my career here, is ‘I’ve never had a bad meal [here].’ The consistency, I think, is what we’re really known for.”
It was originally built in 1935 on the other side of the street, near where a lot of Italian immigrants in the area kept their gardens, hence the name. The Piunti family bought it in 1944, but left the operations to someone else. In 1961 Mary and Sam Piunti, Nick’s grandmother and father, took it over and made it their own.
“So my Dad would handle the front of the house, and Grandmother handled the back of the house,” says Nick. " She immigrated to the country when she was 15, learned from the chefs that she worked with. It was kind of like a little Italy in this area.”
Many of her recipes are still served today, including their famous Steak Sammy. Sam, Nick’s father, would ask his mom to make the dish while he was working. It was steak cooked in a red wine and garlic au jus. Customers would come by and see him eating it, and started asking for it, so they put it on the menu.
So far, four generations of Nick Piunti’s family have worked at Sibley Gardens. Sam Piunti still stops by the restaurant every day, Nick is also there running the place, and Jake, Nick’s nephew, heads up their bar program.
The restaurant has an intimate, classy atmosphere where everyone’s treated like family. Nick says they have some regulars that come three times a week, whereas others couldn’t imagine having their birthday celebration anywhere else.
“We have kitchen staff that started here as dishwashers 20 years ago, and are now the sous chef. So I am proud of the fact that people want to work here for that long,” says Nick.
While the menu has changed over the years, they still serve lots of steaks and Italian favorites. If you are in the mood for pasta, try their Mediterranean pasta with creamy goat cheese sauce, olives, tomatoes, spinach, and a little bit of parsley. For a twist on Chicken Piccata, try their Chicken Sonoma which is a sautéed chicken breast in a white wine and lemon sauce served with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers.
For the full story and more of what’s on the menu, watch the video above.
Sibley Gardens is located at 916 W Jefferson Avenue in Trenton.