The owner of longtime neighborhood staple Sicilia Bakery Chicago plans to open a food truck service in the cafe’s adjacent parking lot after closing his storefront last week after struggling to find staff. The owner, Freddy Pecoraro, told Block Club he will reconfigure the store into a rental venue. He said his food truck should be open within a fe...

Jim Graziano still remembers being 9 years old and getting up on Saturdays or summer vacations to sweep the floors, load shelves or delivery trucks, and count the cash drawer without a register at J.P. Graziano.  Working at the family-owned importer and distributor warehouse at 901 W. Randolph St. was a rite of passage for Graziano’s grandfather, h...

The lighted boat parade known as Venetian Night is returning to Chicago. The annual tradition was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now the Italian American Human Relation Foundation is bringing it back. For years Venetian Night took place on Lake Michigan, but this year it will be held on the Chicago River. The event will take p...

Italy must run in the blood, wine and water at 1415 W. 22nd Street in Oak Brook, Ilinois. The space that was formerly Tuscany has now been transformed to Lucca Osteria & Bar thanks to owner Steven Hartenstein. He obviously loves to talk to guests who patron his newly opened establishment as he looks them right in the eye when speaking to them. His...

Chicago aldermen agreed Wednesday to designate October as “Italian American Heritage and Culture Month,” thanks to a resolution one civic leader said is sorely needed to begin a “healing” process. Ron Onesti, president of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian-Americans, made no mention of the specific wounds he believes need to be healed. But member...

A number of popular Joliet outdoor festivals aren't taking place this summer because of uncertainties amid the coronavirus and social distancing. The Joliet Park District canceled June's Taste of Joliet for the second straight year. St. Joseph's Catholic Parish canceled all of its weekend festivals at St. Joe's Park for this entire summer. And l...

The waning days of the COVID lockdown saw a rare foreign visit to the Windy City, the Chianti Classico CoNNection convened at the Ritz Carlton Chicago for a socially distanced tasting preview of the latest vintages from Italy. Chianti Classico CoNNection was organized by IEEM USA (International Event and Exhibition Management, the Miami-based agenc...

The first Buona Beef opened in Chicago 40 years ago, a 1,500-square-foot spot with 36 seats and no drive-thru that was secured when the owners took out a $10,000 second mortgage. It took 15 years, but the Italian beef concept opened its second location and then developed a plan to steadily add units. Today, Chicago-based Buona Beef recently launche...

Launched in 2020 to remember the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, NIAF is recognizing Italian Americans who sacrificed, served and defended peace, freedom and democracy during the war through the #IAWW2Heroes initiative. This entry is a special submission from Richard Stangarone, in honor of his mother Mary Jane Leggero Stangarone. Mary...

Dozens of veterans and their families gathered on Sunday in Chicago's Little Village for a ceremony coordinated by the Italian American community. "We celebrate and remember under one flag, and remember our African American, Jewish American, Latin American, Asian American, European American and all other heroes, and their bravery, dedication and co...