Sheryl & Risto Toukola purchased the restaurant in 1999 and operated it as Mayo’s Ristorante. In 2007, Risto accidentally lost his life and Sheryl recently renamed the restaurant “Risto’s Place” in his honor.
Risto left his mark on Sheryl’s life and he continues to be with her in the form of a yellow butterfly. Sounds crazy? It’s not. On a warm winter day in January 2008, Sheryl was having lunch at an outside cafe when a yellow butterfly landed on the railing beside her. It just sat there while she ate. Who ever heard of a butterfly in January? Since then, the yellow butterfly continued to appear to her many times in many places. When Sheryl’s granddaughter sees a yellow butterfly, she shouts with joy, “There’s Papa Risto!” This phenomenon is the impetus that led to the creation of the butterfly in Risto’s Place logo, and the reason Sheryl wears a butterfly necklace every day. Corny, maybe, but true.
It is said that every restaurant must have a specialty. Sheryl’s specialty is fresh food, made from scratch with produce and fruits from the local farmers market. Herbs are all home-grown, desserts homemade daily, soups and sauces simmer long hours on the stove and not heated from a can. Sheryl serves only fresh fish caught in the wild in American waters. Hers is the only restaurant in town that serves bonafide Black Angus Omaha Beef. Sausages, salamis and cheeses are still sent to Sheryl from specialty stores in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (GO STEELER’S!!!) Coffee, however, is shipped in from her favorite roastery in Seattle, Washington. She is all about “BUY AMERICAN”. Her dishes are from an American manufacturer as in her silverware and glassware. She gets canned tomatoes from a California grower and cannery. She purchases every item she can American made. Prosciutto, however, would not be the same unless it was aged in Italy.
Many of Risto’s Place customers are travelers on their way to Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Savannah, Charleston, Atlanta and Florida. They seek refuge from the fast food and chain options available just off interstates 40 & 77. Risto’s is just one mile from either of these exits. It is awesome that most of those who dine at Risto’s going, also time their drive to dine at Risto’s when heading back home.
Risto’s Place also offers a complete lounge menu for those seeking a less than a full meal, although full meals may be ordered in the lounge. Complete bar and wine services are available, and live entertainment can be enjoyed every night beginning at 7:30 pm. The lounge atmosphere is akin to the television bar affectionately known as “Cheers”. Full-service catering services are also available including local delivery.
Risto’s Place lounge and dining room are located at 123 N. Center Street, Statesville, NC and are open Tuesday through Saturday beginning art 5:00 pm. Dress code is casual. Lunch is available Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 until 2:00 pm. Reservations are not required, but are recommended so that staffing is adequate for the crowd. Phone us at 704-872-5557