Charles Thee III got his first job at Auntie Pasto’s restaurant in Bellaire in 1997 after moving to Houston from Bermuda to study hotel and restaurant management at the University of Houston.
Twenty-one years later, he opened an extension of the restaurant in Pearland where he lives with his wife, Kimberly, and his children.
“It was a good fit for me and for them,” Thee said. “I enjoyed seeing my Bellaire customers out at the grocery store and was looking for that same place to fit in in Pearland. When the space opened up where the former David’s Fine Meats was, I said, ‘Let’s give this a shot.’”
The Italian restaurant provides a family-friendly atmosphere, akin to eating in a Tuscan bistro. In addition to lunch and dinner menus, Auntie Pasto’s provides to-go and catering options as well as a full bar and lineup of homemade desserts.
One of its popular desserts is the award-winning “To Die For,” which features layers of berries on ladyfingers soaked in a concoction of orange juice, Sprite, rum and peach schnapps, mixed with sweetened cream cheese filling and topped with a homemade almond torte.
“A lot of first-time customers come here because they heard of the ‘To Die For,’” Thee said. “Then they see we have other food.”
Other favorite dishes include the Mediterranean salad with pesto pasta, prosciutto ham and homemade vinaigrette dressing. Auntie Pasto’s signature dish is the fresh black pepper fettuccini with shrimp, topped with a cream sauce, portobello mushrooms and smoked bacon. Pasta dishes can also be made with whole wheat pasta.
In addition, if a customer does not see something on the menu, Thee will take requests. That has led to him featuring certain dishes, including a Cajun pasta, as weekend specials.
“If the kitchen has the ingredients, we will make it,” Thee said.