"Our dishes are filling, but they're not to that point where you're going to be going, Oh my goodness gracious," Del Pietro says.
That's not to say you won't end up splitting the portions of pasta and risotto featured on the chalkboard wall menu.
The latest Sugo's concept will be a mirror image of the three locations in Frontenac (the original), Chesterfield and Columbia (where it's known as Babbo's). The pasta is made fresh - there's no freezer in the restaurant - and the tablecloths are nonexistent. There is tableside service, but the focus is on dishes like the spaghetti and meatballs and lasagna made with risotto and parmesan.
"Our biggest complaint is that we're out of something, but we really try and only make enough to sell that night," Del Pietro says.
Sugo's has four daily entrees that are typically between $14 and $17. Chicken spiedini and roasted halibut over lemon risotto have been popular past offerings. There's also a daily risotto special - Del Pietro says last night's dish featured chicken, asparagus and tomato.
The restaurant is named Sugo - the Italian word for sauce - and while he won't give out much about the family recipe, Del Pietro was willing to share what's in the base of his family's sauce.
"Our sauce is not super-spicy. We don't put in a lot of sugar. The carmelization of the onion is what gives it a sweet flavor. We don't cook it down to where it's real thick either. There's onion flavor, definitely garlic and lots of sweet basil," Del Pietro says.
The sauce is on the Neopolitan-style pizza on house-made crust. The bread is also baked in-house. The mushroom pie with truffle oil is popular, but Del Pietro is partial to the whole-milk mozzarella with roasted garlic.
Del Pietro is in the midst of rapidly expanding his restaurant group (which also includes Pazzo, Via Vino and Tavolo D), having opened five restaurants in the past three years. He's working with real-estate developer Michael Staenberg to take the Sugo's concept beyond Frontenac. There's another location expected to open this fall in Edwardsville, but Del Pietro has long had his eye on the Kansas City area.
"I've always been impressed with Kansas City and Overland Park. I've been going up there for years. It's a cool city, a great getaway," Del Pietro says.
He is targeting a mid- to late-May opening for the Overland Park location and has plans for two more Sugo's in the Kansas City area (on the Kansas and Missouri sides).