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The Matriarch & Co-Founder of Casa Bianca Has Died

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Photo by dreamyshade via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Jennie Martorana, co-founder of Eagle Rock's revered Casa Bianca pizza restaurant, died June 16 of complications due to a stroke. Martorana and her late husband Sam, founded the beloved eatery with Sam's brother Joe in 1955. She was 88.An obituary in the Los Angeles Times gives a brief overview of Martorana's journey to Los Angeles from Chicago in 1954 and her life in addition to being the matriarch of the popular pizza restaurant:

Jennie was a people person, she was about family and friends as well as a voracious reader and loved to talk politics. Her greatest pleasure was having family and friends over while she prepared a delicious dinner.

The Casa Bianca site includes a 2005 article on the genesis of the restaurant:

Sam found a corner storefront in eagle Rock that was owned at the time by Charlie Morreale. Using the skills learned at his fathers grocery business and working for Tony's Pizza in Chicago, he opened a restaurant and deli. The recipes came from the Italian tradition passed down through their families. The ethic of hard work came from Sam's father, a strong Italian paterfamilias and Jennie's mother who supported her family with factory work after her husband was disabled by a stroke.

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According to Grub Street LA, a funeral for Jennie was held Thursday in Eagle Rock.

Next time you're at Casa Bianca, be sure to raise a slice in Martorana's honor.