THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE: Gabriele's Italian Steakhouse, Greenwich.

Lou Gorfain

Though CTBites traditionally reviews the food created by gifted chefs in the Back of the House, we thought a story about the talent at the Front might be in order.  So who better to feature than Tony Capasso, the celebrated maître d of Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse in Greenwich and unquestionably the biggest personality on the Connecticut restaurant scene? Actually, Copasso may be more MC than Maitre ‘d.

"My mother tells me that when I was five, I was already meeting, greeting and introducing people to each other in my apartment house," he told us. "I've always been a people person. President of my high school. Captain of the football team, I like people, they like me, and that's what this job is all about."

Tony made his name at Valbella's, another high-end Greenwich restaurant. After a stint on the Howard Stern show, he became known as the "Trivia Guy.” Fans flocked to the restaurant, where he entertained his guests with a phenomenal repertoire of over 1000 trivia questions -- from what was the Godfather's telephone number? (Long Beach 4-5620) what is the only English word that ends in mt? ("dreamt"). 

Families with kids loved the game (particularly the free Shirley Temples for correct answers) and a table  on Saturday night became an almost impossible booking-- unless you were a regular. 

When offered part ownership of a new restaurant that the Gabriel family was opening on Church Street, Tony jumped at the chance and brought many of his faithful following along. But the show remains the same: great food and good times, starring Tony Capasso.

Words fail when it comes to describing his outsized personality. So CTBites TV invited Tony to tell you, himself.... in his own words and irrepressible style.