Now that takeout and delivery options are imperative for family-owned restaurants, this Rockford favorite is expanding its offerings in new ways.
Since people are staying home more often these days, the staff at Pino’s on Main, 2511 N. Main St., Rockford, is making more of an effort to bring Sicilian-inspired dishes to their customers – even if it’s close to 1 a.m. on the weekends.
“To be honest, we could probably stay open even later, because these phones continue to ring after we stop taking orders,” says Ezio Marino, general manager. “But, we’ve got to get some sleep.”
Since 1991, people have been lining up to get a taste of the classic Italian dishes that Pino’s serves. The family-run business uses recipes that originated in Sicily.
Marino’s grandparents and parents were born in Sicily and immigrated to the United States more than 30 years ago. When his grandfather opened the restaurant, he used authentic family recipes that spanned generations.
“He used the recipes in Sicily for stuff they made at home, so when he came here, he used them at the restaurant,” says Marino, who grew up in the Rockton, Ill., area.
The menu is loaded with several Italian favorites like spaghetti, ravioli and lasagna.
“Our homemade lasagna is really popular and we make it fresh here multiple times a week, literally layer-by-layer,” Marino says. “It’s thick, and it’s fresh.”
But, at this restaurant, one cheesy dish reigns supreme.
“Our pizza is king,” Marino says. “You can order a thin crust, a really thick crust, Chicago-style stuffed crust, and we have a gluten-free crust,” Marino says. “Pizza is king here all day, every day.”
Marino also says people rave about the popular taco pizza, which comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and sour cream.
“Not too many places offer it and it’s just something a little different that we have, and people really like it,” he says.
The menu also includes some non-Italian dishes, including a grilled chicken sandwich, a fish sandwich, chicken wings and barbecue ribs.
“Our barbecue and buffalo wings are popular,” says Marino. “We make our own sauce and use jumbo wings. They’ve been going out the door pretty quickly.”
The company’s delivery radius and ability to stay open later than a lot of places is a big competitive advantage, Marino says. Pino’s stays open until midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on weekends. The restaurant delivers as far north as Illinois Route 173, south toward the Chicago Rockford International Airport, east to Bell School Road and as far west as Meridian Road.
“We don’t say no too often, so if you call us, we can more than likely make it out to you, because we have a decent amount of drivers who can handle the deliveries that are farther out,” Marino says. “We just want to keep our customers happy and keep this train moving.”
Mariano says the family’s recipes haven’t changed much in 30 years, and there are no plans to deviate from what’s already been working for three decades.
“If someone came here 25 years ago, they can expect the pizza to taste the same, and we pride ourselves on that,” Marino says. “Our food and recipes have been consistent, and when people come here, they know what to expect. Whatever you order, you’re going to get a full and delicious meal.”
Pino’s on Main is currently offering carryout and delivery. Hours: Mon-Tues. 2:30 p.m.-midnight, Wed.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.