Capitanini spouse and children has served up Italian delicacies to Chicagoans for generations

CHICAGO — The Capitanini household runs the oldest Italian cafe in Chicago. For nearly 94 decades, the Italian Village restaurants have been serving up Italian cuisine together with memories and custom. The Capitanini spouse and children is 1 of Chicago’s Really Individual.    

“I try to remember I was 9 or 10 years aged in my minor sailor suit and my father experienced to seat prospects and he’d give me the menu and I had to go to the table and pass out the menus,” Ray Capitanini claimed.

Ray Capitanini, 85, has fond recollections of aiding his father Alfredo greet cafe prospects as a boy or girl.  

“We’re the initial to convey manicotti which is a crepe stuffed dish with cheese inside of the sauce, we have been the first to do hen vesuvio, no peas,” Capitanini stated.

He extra that the dish was almost certainly on the menu when Ol’ Blue Eyes held his engagement social gathering here.

“Sinatra was here he had his occasion on the most important ground Vivere, we had Luciano Pavarotti,” he reported.

“We’ve had renowned persons arrive listed here like Neil Diamond or Bon Jovi and it is not our plan to disclose it but by some means folks come across out,” Gina Capitanini reported.

Italian Village opened almost a century back, when Alfredo Capitanini migrated here from Italy. He came to the united states for a new everyday living, and to escape the Italian rule under Benito Mussolini.

These days there are now a few eating places less than a person roof. With the Village being the  oldest Italian restaurant in Chicago. It is been on Monroe Street in the Loop considering the fact that the commencing for 3 generations.

“It’s these kinds of a custom for so several families, just like we are generational, a good deal of households are,” Gina Capitanini claimed. “I hear the tales all the time.”

Just one of the tales will involve the rumor that Al Capone was a typical in the Tuscan themed eating room.    

“We have names on the booth, convent, la put up, write-up workplace, and again there were being supposedly Capone dined it was identified as la pragione which usually means the jail. Rather apropos for him,” Ray Capitanini said.

In 1955, Alfredo opened La Cantina, a second restaurant a floor below. In 1990, grandchildren Al and Aina opened A Vivere on the key stage.  

The three places to eat offer you consumers an array of Italian delicacies all underneath one particular roof.  

“We generally imagined if anyone walked in the doorway, they could have a sandwich, a pizza, a chicken vesuvio, a veal or possibly a duck or activity, so we capture all those diverse current market segments,” Capitanini said.

Alfredo Sr. died in 1988 leaving his 3 grownup young children Frank, Ray and daughter Ave to consider the helm.

And these days the 3rd generation of Capitaninis, Gina and Al individual and function the dining places. But in advance of getting the reins they experienced to perform outside the house the restaurant initial.       

“My dad needed me to do the job for an individual else. I labored for Northern Have confidence in Financial institution just a block from in this article for about a few and a 50 % several years and eventually I was like, ‘OK, have I paid out my dues?” Gina Capitanini stated.

The Capitaninis do not only provide the general public with their food, but they devote in the town as well — their elders taught them that.     

“It started off with my grandparents, they ended up massive with the LYRIC Opera and the symphony and all the diverse cultural establishments then we kind of geared it toward individuals in will need,” Capitanini reported.

While they guidance various charities via their grandparents basis, their most significant charity celebration is the once-a-year Ferrari Pageant with proceeds supporting Lurie Children’s Hospital.

“The rationale we sort of commenced it with Children’s Memorial was when my son was born he was incredibly ill and he was at Children’s for about two months,” Gina Capitanini explained. “It’s pricey to my coronary heart.”

Like most smaller organizations, the Italian Village eating places have taken a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has not saved them from relocating ahead, receiving the future technology ready to acquire about. 

“It’s unquestionably been tough, stress filled you know? but we intend to stay and we intend to preserve the italian village likely,” Gina Capitanini claimed.

At the moment the Village restaurant is open as we arise from COVID-19. They hope to open the remaining eating places really soon.

The Village
71 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60603