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The history of Alfano's Pizza is a colorful and romantic story. Most people believe it started in a little shabby building on 11th Street in Rock Island, Illinois. The truth be told, it goes back much further than that. Eight days before Hitler committed suicide and six days before Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was executed by Italian partisans, Pietro Leone was born in a small house to a poor family in the small town of Cinisi, Sicily. Eight years later, in 1953, Francesco Leone was born into the same family. Little did they know what the future held for them. Growing up poor in a little house where all the kids slept in one bedroom, they thought life would always be that way. While Frank was still a young boy, his older brother Vince heard there was a better life to be had over in America. Vince packed up his bag and flew to America in the mid 60's where he ended up in Chicago. Back in Sicily, Pete went into the army. Not long after that, Pete decided to give America a try for himself. He worked in Chicago a short span and decided the American dream was just a dream. Pete went back to his brothers in Sicily. Then Pete and Frank's mom and dad got a chance to come over to America in 1969. In 1970, Frank, Pete, and brother Sam came to America to chase the American dream together. During this same time, a cousin by the name of Pete Alfano had been chasing his own dream. He had opened several Alfano Pizzerias in Illinois. One of which was in Milan,IL, where a high school student by the name of Norma Runge got a job. When Frank got to America, he worked at several of his cousin's restaurants. Pete on the otherhand, went to work with his second cousin,Sam Curcuru, in Geneseo at La Roma's. By 1970, there was an Alfano's Pizza in Milan, Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline. Norma was kept to teach English to all the Sicilians that worked for Pete Alfano. To her dismay, none of them really got it :-) But as a bonus, she ended up learning Sicilian. It was by this time, Frank and Pete Leone had ended up in the Quad Cities. By 1971, Pete Alfano had closed all the Alfano Pizzas in the area except for the Rock Island establishment. This was a time in Rock Island's history when things were booming. 11 Street was the place to be. There was Pizza Hut, Godfather's, Burger King, Long John Silver, Big Boy's, Sambo's, Ponderosa, Mister Donut's, and McDonald's all on 11 Street. In October of 1971, Pete and Norma Leone were married. The pieces were falling in place. In 1972, Frank, Pete, and Norma bought the business from Pete Alfano. In 1976, Pete and Norma had their first child named Onofrio. During the late 70's and early 80's, Rock Island's economy started to turn south. Farmall and J I Case, which were big employers, closed down during this time. Many 11 Street businesses went elsewhere. Alfano's stood there ground and the calzone was born. Alfano's was also the only pizzeria that delivered in the west end of Rock Island. This built a loyal local customer base. Some other things such as fresh dough made daily, fresh sauce daily, and the only local pizzeria that puts fresh sausage on by hand are some of the things that has allowed Alfano's to stay in business 40 years. As the 90's came, the stuffed pizza was introduced. Although Alfano's menu is limited, we have always had the concept of keeping things simple. Do a few things and do them well. As many years have gone by, we have served pizza to multiple generations of families. We have seen grandchildren and great grandchildren raised on our food. Alfano's has always been known for its delivery. Pete and Onofrio have been a part of many Rock Island residents home meals and are very thankful. However, in February of 2009, Alfano's stopped their delivery service after almost forty years. Pete also officially retired in 2008. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. As of 2010, Alfano's is still going strong and continues to keep it good and simple.
We hope you have enjoyed this little peek into how Alfano's Pizza has become what it is today. So from our family to yours, we thank you for the many years we have been able to serve you and hope to see you soon. GRAZIE!
Mr. and Mrs. Pietro Leone