Brogino's has been a quintessential family-run Italian restaurant in Redondo Beach since it first opened its doors in 1977.
Now semi-retired, owner Tony Afsar moved to the U.S. just months before taking over what was a pizza joint.
“I couldn’t do anything else I guess,” joked Afsar.
Afsar gradually started making changes to transform the restaurant. He experimented with sauce recipes for months before coming up with his special meat sauce.
“I was always good in the lab, mixing things together,” Afsar said.
Forty years later, that sauce is still made from scratch every day in Brogino's kitchen. To make the sauce less fatty and appeal to today's healthy lifestyle, Afsar removed the sausage and doubled the ground beef. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the minestrone soup, which has been the same since the early days.
Like the Alfredo sauce, which is made from scratch when ordered, Brogino's prides itself on the freshest ingredients.
“We don't compromise,” Afsar said.
Brogino's is one of the few mom-and-pop restaurants that has flourished in the South Bay, even with the economic ups and downs. According to Asfar, that's in part to the restaurant's relationship to its customers. Events such as engagement parties and the birthday parties create life-long memories and keep generations of customers coming back.
Manager Michael Boutis hears the stories all the time. One customer, who formerly lived in the area, picks up Alfredo sauce before they return home to San Francisco. One married couple returned to Brogino's where they had their first date decades before.
“The fact that they could be sitting at the same table where they had their first date 30 years ago and they come back and it's pretty the same way it was ... you could tell on their faces that it made them very happy this part of their life still exists,” Boutis said.
Then there's the generous portions. A dinner at Brogino's typically turns into two meals.
“Everybody goes out with a doggie bag,” Afsar said.
Afsar said Brogino's hasn't changed much over the years and his number one tip keeps business booming: treat customers like family and they will return time and again. It's about “good food, good service, right price.”
As for the future, Asfar said he's enjoying semi-retired life, but he's not leaving Brogino's.
“We go on, there's no reason why not to,” he said.
Brogino's is located at 2423 Artesia Blvd. in Redondo Beach.
For more information, visit broginos.com, or call (310) 370-4827 or (310) 370-4828.