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Avanzare | Springfield, MO

Avanzare | Springfield, MO

Bringing Italian Elegance to the Local Scene

Tony Garcia began his restaurant experience in Chicago, refining his craft at Bice, Spago, Café Fresco and Tuscany. In 1998, he became head chef at Ristorante Teatro in Springfield, Missouri. “As soon as I arrived here, I knew that Springfield was the perfect place to start my family. There is such a feeling of being a part of the community. The people are wonderful and nature here is enchanting.”

Within four years of his arrival, Garcia opened Avanzare Italian Dining with a partner. In 2006, he became sole owner. “I put my heart and total dedication into Avanzare, where we specialize in Northern Italian cuisine,” Garcia said. “We have an open kitchen, and guests can say hello. We have a lot of regular customers, and we all make sure they feel at home. I have traveled to wine country and educated myself so that I can make recommendations on the best wines to pair with our menu. We are committed to serving the freshest and finest quality. We prepare almost everything from scratch. Our pasta is homemade. Our stock, sauces and dressings are homemade. We make our own bread each morning.”

Chef Garcia’s charismatic personality and his personal attention to his guests’ dining experience have helped to secure his tremendous popularity in Springfield. “I have a lot of opportunity to cater events off-site, but I keep these to a minimum. If I am not at the restaurant, I hear about it later. My regular customers accuse me of spending too much time on the golf course, which, I assure you, is not the case. But, it is good that they miss me when I am not here. We have a great time together.”

The basic menu seldom changes because Chef Garcia augments it with several different specials each day, which account for 50 to 60 percent of sales. “I get to display my creativity every day through these specials, which can be fresh fish, oysters and other seafood, or steaks. Steaks and seafood are our main focus.”

Entrée selections always on the menu include: Carré D’Agnello alla Fungi, which translates to grilled rack of lamb with sautéed mixed mushrooms in a sherry wine sauce, served with roasted potatoes and spinach; Filetto Porto, which showcases a pan-seared, center-cut beef filet in a Port wine reduction sauce, served with mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach, garnished with sautéed shrimp; and Salmone Saltata, pan-seared North Atlantic Salmon filet, sautéed with artichoke hearts, red bell peppers and mushrooms in a garlic white wine sauce, served with pesto mashed potatoes.

As one would expect, the pasta menu is given due diligence. Here are several options: Pasta alla Tony – homemade pasta tossed with grilled chicken, portobello mushrooms, basil and marinara sauce, served in a brandy tomato cream sauce; Rigatoni alla Tony – pasta with shrimp, sundried tomatoes, roasted walnuts and rich goat cheese in pesto cream sauce; and Frutti di Mare – spaghetti with shrimp, calamari, scallops and black mussels in fresh marinara sauce.

Family is of paramount importance to Tony Garcia. Several family members work alongside him to help ensure the success of Avanzare Italian Dining. His premonition that Springfield would be a great place to start his family has come true. Tony and his wife, Carmen, have been blessed with three children since making Springfield their home.

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