After three generations, Martino family members consider their business their home as much as their actual houses.
That is how Michael Martino has lived for most of his life.
And the clientele at Martino’s Italian Villa is equally acquainted with the restaurant.
“We’ve still got third and fourth generations of customers,” Martino said. “That’s what keeps us going. We’re fortunate that we’ve had great clientele, great customers.”
The restaurant turned 50 in April, and the Martino family is having a celebration noon to 8 p.m. Saturday.
The event will honor a business that has grown from a small mom-and-pop shop to a multi-faceted establishment that remains in the family with the next generation ready to take over when ready.
Minnie Ann to Martino’s
Martino’s has been on North Washington Street for only 40 of its 50 years.
It hasn’t always been Martino’s either.
Angie and the late Frank Martino, who immigrated from Italy in 1947, opened Minnie Ann Doughnut Shop on April 17, 1962, at the corner of Jackson and Philips streets.
There, the Martinos began making pizzas, sandwiches and other short-order items.
After two years, the couple moved to a bar at North and Main streets and opened Del Martino Inn.
They spent eight years developing their business, while their children helped out.
“At 8, 9, 10 years old, we’re grating cheese and peeling onions and sweeping floors,” said Michael Martino, one of Frank and Angie’s sons. “As you got older, you picked up more responsibilities.”
It was at the North and Main Martino’s where Michael learned how to cook as he prepared lunch for himself and his siblings during their school breaks.
By 1972, the restaurant was ready for a bigger place, so the family moved the business to its current location.