Family, freshness first at new Italian beef joint in Park Ridge
Anthony Rozic, Dave Dickson and Jimmy Cannistra stand next to their signature Italian beef in the kitchen at Carmine's Chicago Pizza, Beef & Italian Ice in Park Ridge on June 28. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Carmine’s Chicago Pizza, Beef and Italian Ice
SPECIALTY: Homemade pizza, Italian beef and Italian ice .
ADDRESS: 1120 Touhy Ave.
CONTACT: (847) 692-0002
Updated: August 13, 2012 6:24AM
In the early part of the 20th century a Sicilian immigrant named Carmine Cannistra set up an eatery along Chicago’s Taylor Street, serving Italian beef and traditional Italian sandwiches to the area’s workers.
A hundred years later Cannistra’s recipes have made their way to Park Ridge and a new namesake restaurant.
Cannistra’s great-grandsons, Jimmy Cannistra, Anthony Rozic and Dave Dickson, recently opened Carmine’s Chicago Pizza, Beef and Italian Ice at 1120 W. Touhy Ave. The food on the menu is made from Carmine Cannistra’s recipes, which have been passed down through the family for the past 100 years and served up at family dinners.
Each of the three cousins has worked in the restaurant business and the trio was looking for a joint venture when they decided on Carmine’s.
“We all sat down one day and were looking through a photo album and talking with family members when we thought, ‘Let’s pay homage to our great-grandfather,’ ” Dickson said.
By choosing a location in Park Ridge the cousins are serving their target diners: families.
“We loved the whole area because it’s big-time family-oriented,” Dickson explained.
In addition to the pizza, Italian beef and Italian ice that Carmine’s boasts, visitors can find Italian sausage, meatball sandwiches, chicken parmigiana, hamburgers, hot dogs, Italian subs, cannoli, pastas and salads. Appetizers include mozzarella sticks, cheese fries, garlic bread, onion rings, chicken wings and fried mushrooms and zucchini.
The speciality is, of course, the Italian beef, said Dickson, who shared that the beef is prepared fresh at the restaurant every day.
Dickson’s favorite item on the menu “has got to be the beef with Italian ice for dessert, just because it’s one of the best I’ve ever had,” he said.
Carmine’s also caters events and delivers.
“We just want to provide the best-quality food for the community at good prices,” Dickson said of the restaurant’s mission.
But why should hungry diners choose Carmine’s over the many area locales that also serve up Italian beef sandwiches?
“I can guarantee ours is homemade and it’s the best beef you’ve ever had,” Dickson said. “It never sits in ice and never gets tough ... . All our food is made to order.”
It’s a promise that probably would have made Great-Grandfather Carmine Cannistra proud.