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Folliero's - A Real Family Value

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It was always a special occasion when my parents took us out for pizza. We always went to the same little family-run restaurant where we were allowed to climb on the chairs and run in the aisles. I can still remember playing “Billy Don’t be a Hero” on the jukebox while drinking root beer out of one of those pebbled plastic glasses. When the pizza finally arrived, it was always presented with a flourish, as if it were a birthday cake. That is the pizzeria against which all other pizzerias in my life have been measured. If you were lucky enough to grow up with a neighborhood pizza joint like this, then you will recognize Folliero’s from the minute you walk in the door.

Serving pizzas in Highland Park since 1968, the Folliero family holds a special place in their customer’s hearts. Everyone greets Titina by name, who they refer to in third person as “the daughter”. She works the counter with a calm and friendly demeanor in spite of the hectic pace, even on a busy Saturday night. She joined the business only a few years ago with plans to carry on the family legacy.

Her father, Tony, who was born in Naples, founded the restaurant almost 40 years ago. At the age of 73, he still comes in early every morning to make the pizza dough himself. There is a local legend that he is the only one who knows how to make the dough, and that he comes in early to make sure it is kept a secret. As romantic as it may sound, that story made Titina giggle until her eyes sparkled. She assured me that the recipe is not kept in a secret underground vault somewhere.