Pete Fejzuloski, president of the Paisans Pizzeria restaurant chain, cuts the ribbon during the official grand opening ceremonies on June 25 at the Oak Lawn location in the Stony Creek Promenade. He is surrounded by family, employees, and members of the community. To the left of Fejzuloski is Mike Sutko, a member of the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce, Trustee William "Bud" Stalker (5th), Mayor Terry Vorderer, Natasha Miller Williams, president of the chamber; and Steve Loulousis, president of the Oak Lawn Parks Foundation. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Pete Fejzuloski, president of the Paisans Pizzeria restaurant chain, cuts the ribbon during the official grand opening ceremonies on June 25 at the Oak Lawn location in the Stony Creek Promenade. He is surrounded by family, employees, and members of the community. To the left of Fejzuloski is Mike Sutko, a member of the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce, Trustee William "Bud" Stalker (5th), Mayor Terry Vorderer, Natasha Miller Williams, president of the chamber; and Steve Loulousis, president of the Oak Lawn Parks Foundation. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizzeria has impressive grand opening in Oak Lawn

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The large interior structure of Paisans Pizzeria in Oak Lawn feature seven classic cars and a 1953 Cessna airplane that is hanging just over the large bar area in the restaurant. 

Local officials ecstatic about new restaurant

By Joe Boyle

The origins of Paisans Pizzeria were humble as immigrant Luigi Fejzuloski created the business in a small corner store in Cicero.

He was making pizzas in 1985 out of a household kitchen. Soon after that, Luigi was joined by his son, Pete. They both responded to orders one at a time using hand-written tickets hanging from clothespins in their tiny kitchen.

Now, 29 years later, Paisans Pizzeria has expanded throughout Chicago and the southwest and west suburbs. Pete Fejzuloski has been the guiding force of the expansion, which includes a variety of pizzas and a vast menu.

The latest opening of Paisans Pizzeria took place at 4900 W. 111th St. in Oak Lawn. The large restaurant opened in May and the grand opening drew a large crowd on the morning of June 25.

While the origins of Paisans Pizzeria were humble, there was nothing small about the latest opening of the restaurant chain. The Oak Lawn version has ample seating and includes nine classic cars that customers can view.

A big highlight is a 1953 Cessna airplane that is hanging above a large bar in the middle of the huge restaurant.

According to Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer, who attended the grand opening and ribbon-cutting, there is nothing small about this Paisans Pizzeria.

“This has to be the largest grand opening I have ever seen,” Vorderer said. “This is a big grand opening.”

The restaurant is another edition to the Stony Creek Promenade TIF District along 111th and Cicero. Paisans joins Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, Mariano’s, The Barrel Club restaurant, some other eateries, and HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx.

Pete Fejzuloski, who serves as president of the chain, is delighted at the response to the new Oak Lawn restaurant, which is the ninth Paisans Pizzeria to open. He said the Oak Lawn site is the second largest in the chain. The Berwyn location is the largest, but Fejzuloski pointed out that location includes a commissary.

“We build these restaurants with steel,” Fejzuloski said. “We love Oak Lawn a lot. There are a lot of nice people here.”

Fejzuloski said all the restaurants have unique aspects to each of them. He pointed out that the restaurant in Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood includes a classic Cadillac hanging over the bar.

The Oak Lawn restaurant includes classic cars from the late 1950s and early ’60s, including a 1961 Cadillac. He added that occasionally other classic vehicles will appear at the Oak Lawn location.

Besides Vorderer, other Oak Lawn officials attended the ceremony, along with the organizers of the event, the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce.

“In the three years I have done this, this is by far the largest grand opening we have had,” said Anne Fritz, executive director of the chamber.

Along with a large restaurant with plenty of amenities, Paisans, which is Italian for friends, offer popular pizzas, including regular, extra thin, deep dish or stuffed. They also offer a Sicilian style and gluten free pizzas.

But Fejzuloski said they offer much more than pizzas. The restaurant menu includes gourmet burgers and grilled Tuscan chicken and chicken parmesan sandwiches, the new Da Ditka dog, and chicken wings.

The menu includes a large variety of pastas, and entrees of baby back ribs, classic chicken parmesan, chicken Vesuvio, and blackened salmon. Soups, salads and wraps are on the menu, including desserts of milk shakes, brownie a la mode, tiramisu, oven baked apple crunch, and a Paisans sundae.

Paisans Pizzeria also provides catering and delivery. They can be contacted locally by calling 708-635-0606 or email info@paisanspizza.com.

“It has been crazy,” Fejzuloski said about the response the restaurant has received in Oak Lawn. “We draw from all over. This is a great location. This is a wonderful area.”

Fejzuloski pointed out that this is not just another franchise. He said this is a family business. Three of his sons are involved in the business, along with his wife and daughter.

“I want to thank the mayor and I want to thank everyone here,” Fejzuloski said after the ribbon-cutting.

Vorderer was delighted with Fejzuloski’s enthusiasm for the community.

“Thank you for coming to Oak Lawn,” Vorderer said. “This has to be the largest restaurant in Oak Lawn. You are going to do very well here.”

Paisans Pizzeria is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

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The new Paisans Pizzeria is located at 4900 W. 111th St. in Oak Lawn. This is a view of the large restaurant from 111th Street. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place June 25 for the official grand opening. 

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