Italian eatery in Niles celebrates 60th anniversary
Riggios's Cheese Ravioli. Riggio's celebrates its 60th anniversary in business this year. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
SPECIALTY: Italian cuisine
ADDRESS: 7530 W. Oakton St.
HOURS: 11 a.m-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 11 a.m.-midnight Fri., Sat.; 1 p.m.-10 p.m. Sun.
Updated: July 23, 2012 9:38PM
NILES — For 60 years the Riggio family has been serving pizza, pasta and other authentic Italian dishes to hungry customers.
In 1952, Adreana Riggio and her husband, Pasquale, opened a storefront pizzeria in Chicago called Riggio’s Caffe Pranzo. In 1957 they opened their second restaurant, Riggio’s, in Niles, and in 1972 they purchased the Red Star Inn and opened their third restaurant.
Today their son, Tony Riggio, and his wife, Trish, run the Riggio’s restaurant at 7530 W. Oakton St. in Niles, and continue to use the same recipe as the original location.
Back in 1952 customers referred to Adreana Riggio as “Mama” and some of the original customers still stop in at Riggio’s in Niles to experience the same flavors that had them hooked decades ago.
“We wanted to expand,” Riggio said of why the family decided to open another restaurant in Niles in 1957. “Niles has been a wonderful village.”
Riggio’s offers a wide variety of Italian foods from different regions. He noted that the restaurant features pasta sauces from Northern Italy to the Rome and southern areas of the country, each of which varies in color depending on the region.
Plus, Riggio added, “We serve excellent pizza.”
In addition to pastas and pizza Riggio’s serves a wide variety of other dishes, such as veal, chicken and seafood.
Riggio’s wife is the executive chef of the restaurant. She studied cooking in France and learned the recipes from her husband’s mother over several years.
“We pride ourselves in using very fresh, very-high-quality ingredients,” Riggio said, adding that including varied dishes from across Italy was important to his family.
Riggio used to help out at his parents restaurant and also attended college, in addition to serving in the Army.
Instead of going to law school, he thought, “How’s being the best-educated pizza man in the city?”
And he has loved running the family restaurant ever since.
Riggio’s is open for lunch and dinner, and also provides space for small parties.
“We concentrate on intimate parties and gatherings,” said Riggio, noting that private banquet rooms are available for 20 to 70 guests.
Riggio’s prides itself on being a popular spot for birthday parties, graduations, Communion celebrations, Bar Mitzvahs, funeral luncheons and other special occasions.
“We do it all,” Riggio said.
The restaurant also has a cocktail lounge that offers a comfortable place to spend time with friends or meet new people. Customers can watch a game and choose from a full selection of imported and domestic beers, wines and mixed drinks. Hungry visitors can order off the menu from the lounge, as well.
Depending on the time of day, 15 to 20 people are working at Riggio’s — where, they say, they believe in treating customers like family.
Riggio noted that village officials came to Riggio’s to celebrate the eatery’s 60th anniversary recently.
“It was a nice affair,” he said.
Riggio said the restaurant is celebrating its 60th anniversary during the entire year and offering different specials.
The restaurant is promoting a special dinner platter for two, which includes soup, salad, veal Marsala, chicken Parmigiana, Italian meatballs, and sausage and vegetables. A special seafood platter also is featured.