Tarboro restaurant named to the “top 100 best” list
On the Square, a Tarboro restaurant owned by Inez and Tom Ribustillo, has been designated one of the top 100 eateries in the United States. According to the website for the San Francisco Business Times, the “top 100” were located in 34 states. North Carolina and California tied for first place, with ten restaurants each on the list.
When asked to describe his reaction to being one of the “top 100,” Tom Ribustillo stated he was “extremely pleased.” The ranking places On the Square in such esteemed company as Per Se and Le Bernardin in New York City, which were also on the list.
Adding to her husband's remarks, Inez Ribustillo stated that, "This is a group effort. The staff is the most deserving of this award. We are so thankful for this community, for the visitors to the restaurant, and for all the people who work here."
The "top 100" list is a designation was made by OpenTable, Inc, “a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners, and guest management solutions for restaurants.”
According to Caroline Potter , OpenTable's Chief Dining Officer, "the restaurants on this list are wonderfully varied, but they have one overwhelming quality in common – each establishment is taking every opportunity to deliver a superb dining experience." The Diners’ Choice Awards were selected from 10 million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners. More than 12,000 restaurants are included from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Inez and Tom honed their expertise in restaurant management in Manhatten. “Inie,” a Tarboro native, decided to come home to Tarboro after marrying Tom, and they eventually bought On the Square, a popular café formerly owned for six years by Frances Liverman. (Frances is now the manager of On the Square, and is the friendly person taking orders on the days when the café is open for lunch.) On the Square was opened by the Ribustillos in 2002.
While Tarborians have considered On the Square the best restaurant in Tarboro for years, its reputation has now spread far and wide. One recent visitor called it an “oasis in the wasteland of fast food:” “On the Square is an oasis providing a simple yet diverse menu of lunch staples done with a twist. Always fresh ingredients prepared well. One the few places in the area where you can have main course salads and other healthy options. Superb wine and beer selection."
Known for its frequent use of local produce and fruit in season, On the Square also has an excellent wine list, thanks to the efforts of the Ribustillos, both of whom are sommeliers, or wine experts. According to their website, On the Square strives to “provide a memorable dining experience for both tourists and locals alike.” The ambiance and music in this restaurant combine to create a delightful atmosphere.
Nine other restaurants in North Carolina were named in the “top 100” list. They are: Artisanal, Banner Elk; Chef and the Farmer, Kinston; The Copper Door, Hayesville; The Dining Room, Biltmore Estate, Asheville; the Gamekeeper, Boone; Heron’s, Cary; Saint Jacques French Cuisine of Raleigh; Little Dipper, Wilmington; and the Fearrington House Restaurant, Pittsboro.
While On the Square is full for New Year’s Eve, groups of four or more may still be able to make a reservation, but call soon. Diners will be treated to four courses. For more information, please visit the restaurant’s website at: onthesquare.com, or call 252-823-8268.