Carmelo & Lena

Where it all started…

During the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, Christoper Sisinni, owner of Carmelo’s, grandparents ran Carmelo’s in Milwaukee, a small Italian restaurant that served classic homemade delicious Italian food. Christoper Sisinni wanted to keep the recipes alive and open up a restaurant that featured the best of the best of what is grandparents started. Christopher decided to open up Carmelo’s Restorante in St.Paul and bring everything he learned from his grandparents to life. After a very successful response from locals, he has been running the restaurant successfully now since 1992.

Star Tribune

1992 Opening

Carmelos’ Ristorante opened October 4th, 1992 at 238 Snelling Av. S, St. Paul, in the spot formerly occupied by the Ginza, a Japanese restaurant. The Carmelo’s folks – brothers Tony and Christopher Sisinni – put in a new kitchen and remodeled the 44-seat dining room in Italian provincial style before opening. Carmelo’s is, of course, an Italian place. It features pasta and sauces made in-house, plus a smattering of veal, chicken, and sausage dishes. The operators make their own bread and make their own sausage.

Tony Sisinni is a former executive chef with the Sheraton Hotel chain. This brother is a former Milwaukee banker, Camelo, incidentally, is the name of their late grandfather, who ran a bar and restaurant in an Italian neighborhood in Milwaukee.

Critic’s Choice

Christopher Sisinni has a lot to be happy about — his charming little Carmelo’s Ristorante at 238 Snelling Av. S.. St.Paul, has been drawing big crowds ever since it opened last October. Sisinni’s Italian grandparents Francesca and Carmelo (their wedding portrait in the background) would surely approve — they operated an Italian restaurant called Carmelo’s in Milwaukee in the 1930s, ’40s and 50s/ The menu sticks to simple traditional dishes such as spaghetti bolognese or Carbonara, fettuccine Alfredo or Primavera, and a few other entrees ranging from shrimp marinara and chicken parmigiana to bistecca pomodoro, foreground.

Jeremy Iggers