The Old Town location of Marcello’s Father and Son Restaurant, one of the 71-year-old pizza chain’s three locations, will close on Sunday night. The family-friendly pizzeria and Italian bakery has been rumored to close for the last two years as officials looked to redevelop the Father and Son Plaza strip mall at the corner of North and Larrabee. The Old Town pizzeria also had a catering arm and is known for some of the city’s best chicken wings. It’s been serving Old Town and Lincoln Park for 25 years at 609-657 W. North Avenue.
An employee at the restaurant confirmed the shutter, but didn’t know the reasons behind the decision. It appears demolition crews will soon make a visit. Momentum has been picking up to build a 30,000-square-foot and 11-story residential tower with retail space on the ground floor. Second Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins’s team has been reviewing plans as previous larger proposals were rejected.
Father and Son, a Chicago pizza institution, still has locations in Logan Square and in suburban Northbrook. The chain, which had a location in Jefferson Park, carries a storied history. Ownership uses family recipes that have been passed along through the decades. The “Marcello’s” name was added in 1993 when the Old Town restaurant debuted to mark the arrival of the catering and bakery divisions. The pizzeria specializes in thin-cut, tavern-style pies that would be familiar to South Siders. It makes sense since the pizzeria’s origins stem from Rossi’s Pizza, a restaurant at 87th Street and Stony Island.
The pizzeria is a 25-year-old relic inside an auto-centric strip mall. There was no Apple Store or Crate & Barrel nearby in 1993. When locals mentioned “New City,” they were talking about the YMCA, not the NEWCITY development that’s since replaced it at Halsted and Clybourn. Those locals now have five days before Father & Son’s closes on North Avenue to stop in or order delivery.