Saturday Mar 25
Pinckneyville Post

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Sal DiMaggio passion for pizza and pasta is palatable in every bite. He makes the dough from scratch each morning, creates sauces from recipes handed from his mother and ages the mozzarella cheese 60 days before it is used. This freshness arrived in Pinckneyville June 5 when DiMaggios Pizza opened at 112 W. Water St.

            DiMaggio has been in the pizza business on and off for more than 40 years. He started at 15 years old when his father opened a restaurant in Lawrenceville, Ill. in 1972. Six years later DiMaggio took ownership of the place and operated it for 10 years.

            He closed it after that and he and his wife, Maria, moved to the “old country” – Sicily, Italy – in 1996 but returned in 2003 and opened a restaurant in Highland which he recently he turned it over to his sons, Joe and Sal. They also have three daughters – Jo Ann, Mimma and Christina, as well as 11 grandchildren.

            The opportunity to open a place in Pinckneyville arose out of the blue. DiMaggio made contact with restaurant equipment dealer George Harris inquiring about something for his Highland operation. Harris is the husband of Lynn Harris who owns Rolando’s Pizza.

            Harris recognized the last name as the DiMaggio name is synonymous in southern Illinois for pizza. DiMaggio’s cousins own restaurants in Christopher and Carbondale.

            “When I told him who I was he said, ‘well I have a pizza restaurant to sell you,’” DiMaggio said.

            It didn’t take much convincing. The DiMaggio’s were interested in “downsizing” their lives. Moving to Pinckneyville was an attractive idea. The couple has already purchased a home here.

            While the DiMaggios are pizza loving family, each operation is owned and operated independently. They base their cooking on their grandmother’s recipes but DiMaggio said each has a slightly different take on them.

            In addition to Christopher and Carbondale locations, DiMaggios family members have restaurants in Perryville, Mo. Galati’s, and New Athens, Geatano’s. Those are owned by two of Sal DiMaggio’s sisters.

            The Pinckneyville restaurant will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Will be closed Monday. He will offer delivery and have a daily lunch buffet for $7.49 that includes a soft drink with refills. The phone number is 357-8080.

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