Inez & Stephen Ribustello Dinner, Celebrating On the Square
Join us on The Garden Terrace on Thursday, October 26th at 6pm for the book launch of Inez & Stephen Ribustello’s heart-warming new cookbook, On the Square: A Community That Made a Restaurant.
We are delighted to welcome Vivian Howard for an intimate conversation with Inez and Stephen Ribustello, as well as Xavyer Burroughs.
Guests will enjoy Stephen’s beloved casual dishes, and beautiful wines chosen by Inez and recently appointed Partner & Wine Director Xavyer Burroughs (Xavyer is also a former Sommelier at The Fearrington House Restaurant!), as well as beer from Tarboro Brewing Company.
We look forward to toasting with you!
Ticket price includes a signed cookbook ($45, independently crafted with Mis En Place Publications), dinner with wine and beer, tax & gratuity.
About the Cookbook
Upon the twenty-first anniversary of the storied Eastern North Carolina restaurant On the Square, owners Inez and Stephen Ribustello share On the Square: A Community That Made A Restaurant.
Written in memoir-style, Inez recounts their journey as restaurateurs and the profound impact hospitality has had on their community. Each chapter is followed by Stephen’s recipes spotlighting On the Square crowd-pleasers over two decades, and favorites from their home kitchen.
On the Square: A Community That Made A Restaurant is Inez Ribustello’s second book, after Life After Windows(September of 2022). On the Square reveals Inez and Stephen’s journey in hospitality, including personal and professional triumphs and challenges. This commemorative book highlights the memorable people, moments and community spirit that made this enterprise the success it is today.
Recipes from Stephen’s kitchen include “On the Square” classics – Fried Calamari, Grilled Romaine Salad, Asparagus Risotto and Crab Cakes – as well as family favorites from the Ribustello’s home kitchen – Shrimp Boil and Chicken Trifecta. Through his recipes – recounted to and transcribed by Inez – Stephen educates the reader on how to think like a chef, use the ingredients you have on-hand, and extract flavor without fancy ingredients or tools – just as he did with countless staff over twenty-one years.
“I can only think of a handful of restaurants in the world that have this sense of community; for me, this is what makes a restaurant truly great. This book gives you a snapshot into the magic that the Ribustellos have created in Tarboro.” – Max Kast, Master Sommelier formerly from The Fearrington House Restaurant
“I’ll never forget the first time I dined at On the Square. I had just moved home from New York to open a restaurant and had heard there was a couple in Tarboro who had done the same. Curious but dubious, I made a reservation and with my fingers crossed, hoped both the restaurant and the couple who ran it lived up to the hype they had manifested. As I sat in my candle-lit booth watching Inez move through the dining room, a petite master atop wedge heels, I nibbled on succulent scallops, perfectly cooked pork tenderloin, and expertly made risotto, I knew I hadn’t moved to Eastern North Carolina to do the impossible. Inez and Stephen already had. On the Square and the recipes, stories and tributes in this book that wears its name are regional treasures not to be missed.” – Vivian Howard, Emmy-winning TV host, author, chef, restauranteur and storyteller from Eastern North Carolina
About Inez & Stephen Ribustello
This dynamic culinary couple served as sommeliers at New York City’s legendary Windows on the World, and returned to Inez’s hometown after the tragedy of 9/11 took their livelihoods, but spared their lives. In 2002, the couple ambitiously endeavored to open On the Square – a farm-to-table restaurant with a dedicated wine program – in a rural town of just 11,000.
Both Advanced Sommeliers (and the only married couple in the world who share this certification), Inez and Stephen introduced the Tarboro community to the wonderful world of wine. As Inez eloquently explains in the book, they chose to educate their staff about all areas of hospitality – from culinary skills to fine dining service to wine education – and even allowed staff complimentary meals after their shift. As a result of their generous management style and community-minded approach, many have found careers in hospitality, the most notable being Xavyer Burroughs.
About Xavyer Burroughs
Burroughs, who began in high school as a dishwasher, was invited to return to On the Square in 2022 as Partner and Wine Director. His wine and service training at On the Square a decade ago prepared him to join the award-winning Sommelier team at the prestigious Relais & Châteaux property in Pittsboro, NC, Fearrington House Inn & Restaurant, as well as restaurants in Houston, Texas, and to serve as a Buyer for the U.S. Business of Bordeaux-based Negociants, Millesima, in New York City. In 2022, Inez and Stephen welcomed Burroughs back to On the Square to take over the restaurants’ full wine program (including retail) and restaurant operations.
About Vivian Howard
Vivian Howard is an award-winning cookbook author, tv personality, chef and restaurateur. Her first cookbook, Deep Run Roots: Stories & Recipes from My Corner of the South (2016), is a New York Times bestseller and was named “Cookbook of the Year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She created and stars in public television shows Somewhere South and A Chef’s Life, for which she has won Peabody, Emmy and James Beard awards. Vivian runs the restaurants Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, NC; Benny’s Big Time in Wilmington, NC; Handy & Hot and Lenoir in Charleston, SC. In October 2020, Vivian released her second cookbook, This Will Make It Taste Good: A New Path to Simple Cooking.