Family owned for over 35 years! The tradition began when Angelo opened the doors in 1976, his sons Larry & Peter took over a few years later. From there they have expanded to 9 family owned locations and 9 franchises. All of the franchise owners continue the tradition of family owned and operated restaurants.
Since its first pizza went into the oven in 1961, Palermo's has been crafting Italian favorites from scratch with recipes passed down through the generations. The restaurant's pizza makers blanket pies in the classic flavors of homemade italian sausage and pepperoni, or glean inspiration from other dishes in Chicago-style beef or barbecue-chicken pizzas. Meanwhile, other Italian staples—all of which are also available for takeout and catering—fill out the menu with such classics as chicken parmesan and penne primavera.
When he lived on the South Side of Chicago, James “Jimbo” Mandra had his pick of pizza joints––until tragedy struck. His family relocated to the burbs, suddenly leaving James deprived of the quality thin-crust slices he’d enjoyed all his life. Never one to turn down a challenge, he rolled up his sleeves and began baking his own pies. From that endeavor came a line of pizzas that fit his passionate standards as well as his original creation, the Lemontster: a 19-inch pizza that claims to be the biggest available in Lemont. Today, Jimbo’s cartoon likeness stands as a proud emblem on the tomato-hued walls of his own pizzeria, which recently added a full dining room. Natural light pours through large front windows as thin- and thick-crust pizzas arrive laden with pepperoni, spinach, and spicy hot giardiniera. After finishing off one of Jimbo’s beef pockets, diners may also surprise a date with a Chicago-style hot dog or impress the kitchen staff by getting the pizza oven to play fetch.
Extreme Pita's efficient sandwich technicians furnish globally inspired pocket meals focused on healthy, made-to-order fare and fresh produce. A hearty menu greets customers with a selection of custom pita sandwiches ($5.99 small; $6.89 large) that boast bases of falafel, vegetables, beef and lamb gyro, and philly cheesesteak with fresh vegetables and sauces. The chef-inspired menu section includes dressed-up selections such as the bourbon chipotle pita that graces tongues with delicious curtsies from grilled chicken, bacon, and cheddar, and the chicken shawarma, whose pita blanket arrives padded with seasoned chicken, tabouleh, and lemon garlic sauce. Diners may also chomp flat-baked creations deserving of a spot in the open-faced sandwich history books, such as the Hawaiian Luau, which supports a nest of ham, bacon, pineapple, and mozzarella ($6.29).
An Italian native, Tonino's owner has shown the casual eatery’s chefs the ins and outs of Italian cuisine for more than 30 years. Panzerotto—the house specialty—is a baked or deep-fried pizza turnover headlining the menu, which also includes thin- and thick-crust pizzas that cradle sauce forged from fresh garlic, olive oil, and basil. Noodles such as orecchiette and ravioli anchor pasta dinners, and fillings such as Italian sausage and chicken parmigiana nestle inside sandwiches. A flurry of seasonings crash-land onto grilled calamari, which diners can wash down with beer and cocktails from the full bar.
Francesca's Vicinato's classic dining room’s white linen tablecloths and framed photos of the old country complement a traditional menu of authentic Italian dishes that rotates almost daily. Past menus have included tender, fluffy gnocchi bolognese with homemade potato-flour dumplings resting lightly in a smattering of rich tomato meat sauce ($14.99), and salmone alla fresca, a grilled salmon filet balancing on a platform of bright grilled asparagus ($21.99). Stomachs enrolled in the intergalactic anti-wheat club can opt for a gluten-free meal, which includes options such as linguine alle verdure—a hearty portion of sautéed quinoa linguine snaking through a forest of buttery, earthy wild mushrooms, fresh cherry tomatoes, and smoky eggplant ($11.95). Patrons can pair entrees with a selection of Italian and Californian wines ($7–$10.50/glass). During the winter months, Francesca's Vicinato offers complimentary valet parking for customers' wheels, from sedans to roller skates.