Westchester restaurant owner raised in the business
Paul Gattuso of Westchester is the owner of Paul's Pizza and Hot Dogs in Westchester. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Facts to go
What: Paul’s Pizza and Hot Dog
Where: 3044 Wolf Road, Westchester
When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Phone: (708) 531-9080
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:02AM
WESTCHESTER — Paul’s Pizza and Hot Dog recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
And customers are not surprised the Westchester restaurant is successful.
“Excellent food, always tastes good, always plenty of it, service is fast,” said Western Springs resident Rich Ricar.
The Karavitis family from Westchester has been visiting Paul’s for about five years. Ann Karavitis’ children, Angie and Torie, both enjoyed the food.
“I like the food,” said Angie, who said the chili cheese dog is good.
“I like the service and how the people you order to are really nice,” said Torie, whose favorite is the pizza.
Owner Paul Gattuso, who is also a Westchester village trustee, said he dreamed of his own business at age 14, when he worked for his aunt at Ambrogio’s Restaurant at Belmont and Oak Park in Chicago.
“He would do everything. He was a bus boy, a cook; he’d make pizza,” recalled his aunt, Angela Ambrogio. “He’d be on my side all the time, learning.”
Gattuso bought his first restaurant when he was 19 and then sold that store to buy Paul’s Pizza on Sept. 22, 1982. It was originally on the corner of Downing and 31st in Westchester, but for the past 11 years has been in the shopping center on Wolf Road and 31st Street.
“I remember the first day we started with no people coming in so we put a piece of sausage on the grill to make the smell go outside and everybody lined up to come in for sandwiches,” Ambrogio said.
Gattuso’s girlfriend, Andrea Carlino, said his hard work ethic and his treatment of his customers and employees are behind the success.
“Anybody could boil some pasta. Anybody could steam a hot dog,” said Carlino. “It’s him. It’s how he treats his people. They know he’ll go leaps and bounds for them.”
Gattuso’s daughter, Christina, who worked at Paul’s when she was younger, said her father always instilled in her to follow her dreams. Her dreams now are to start a business of her own or take over her dad’s one day.
Gattuso said he would like to open a second location in another area that is more of a sit down restaurant. For now, though, he said he loves every minute of running Paul’s Pizza and Hot Dog.
“It’s been wonderful,” Gattuso said. “We have a great town, great people in it. We have such wonderful customers; it’s like one big family there.”