Gallina’s Restaurant, in the Capital City Shopping Center in Springfield Illinois, is owned by Vito & Dee Randazzo. Vito emigrated from Sicily to the United States as a teenager. He worked in relatives’ restaurants for a number of years in New York, New Jersey, and West Virginia (where he met and married Dee) before moving to Springfield to take over ownership of Gallina’s. Vito’s sister and her husband, Tony Gallina, moved back to Sicily after starting the restaurant in 1978. So even though the name over the door is still Gallina, it’s been the Randazzo’s restaurant since 1987.
Vito says “My pizza is like New York pizza — and New York pizza is closest to what you find in Sicily and Naples, where pizza was created” As good as the pizza is, the parmigiana sandwiches, and pasta dinners are also exceptional. Randazzo uses his own house-made dough for both the pizza crust and the bread for the sandwiches and dinners. One 10” round of dough could be made into a pizza or cut in thirds to make three large sandwich sized Italian breads. These are made throughout the day so as to be fresh.
What sets Gallina’s apart is the care of preparation. “I don’t like all that premade stuff,” Vito says. “I like to make it myself — simple homemade food.” It shows: in his preparation of fresh dough throughout the day; in the flavorful tomato sauce; in the tender meatballs prepared in true Italian style; in the beef, roasted, spiced, and sliced by hand; and in the stuffed shells, manicotti, lasagna and other freshly prepared dinners.
A trip to Vito’s “Gallina Pizza Capital City” as he calls it when answering the phone, is one you will never regret.
(Excerpts written by Julianne Glatz for Illinois Times)