Growing up in Elmwood Park, Mike Amato’s family was loyally faithful to Armand’s Pizzeria—so loyal, in fact, that even when the family moved a half hour away to Bloomingdale, they would still trek back to Armand's in Elmwood for birthday parties and other occasions.
Now, Mike Amato has an Armand’s of his very own.
The pizzeria has been franchised throughout the Chicagoland area since the late 1990s. It is scheduled to open in La Grange next Monday in one of the suites at 26 La Grange Road, the former DeLuca’s Deli and Grill, with Amato as general manager.
Residents got a preview of their newest pizza joint during the La Grange Hometown Holiday, during which Armand’s dispensed slices from a whopping 80 pizzas to significant acclaim, they said.
“Our eyes were bugging out of our heads. We were so happy to see so many people come,” Amato said. “People were loving it. It’s good to know that the community came and enjoyed what we’re going to be selling them.”
The restaurant—one of their “fast casual” locations, as opposed to the “full-service” sit-downs in Elmhurst and Arlington Heights—will serve both thin-crust and pan pizza, a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, soup, pasta, desserts and beverages, including beer and wine.
The pizza is not Armand’s first trademark, however. Take a look at their sign: The logo features artichokes, a tribute to the restaurant's famous stuffed artichoke, which Amato calls the true highlight of an Armand’s experience.
The pizza is unique too, Amato said: made with full mozzarella slices rather than sprinkles, and with fresh dough. The ‘za will be also be offered as slices at the counter—cheese, pepperoni, sausage and a chef’s special—that can be combined for a full pizza that’s actually cheaper (and faster!) than waiting for a custom to be baked.
“I truly believe that the customer is always right, and that especially with La Grange, the people are very nice here, and so we’d like to keep them happy and make sure that they enjoy our food, come in time and time out,” Amato said. “I’ll be here probably most of the time, and I’m more than happy to meet new people.”
There should be no shortage of the pies, either: Armand’s gigantic oven can bake 28 at a time—enough even to cover the popular two-for-one pizza Tuesdays that DeLuca says make it their biggest day of the week.
The restaurant will offer catering as well, in addition to delivery, take-out and dine-in; the location can seat 45 indoors, and there will be outdoor seating as well in warmer weather.
After six months of hard work, Amato is ready to debut his restaurant next week.
“We’re very happy to be here,” he said. “We’ve had a great welcoming already.”
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