Rafaele Amodeo emigrated from his native town of Marigliano, Italy in February of 1912, and never looked back. He was one of 12 children of Lucia and Carmone Amodeo, both successful entrepreneurs in their own right. Lovingly known to many as “Papa Milano,” he opened his first restaurant in Chicago 1919. He is credited as being the first restaurateur to introduce Italian home-stylecooking to the public. Other relatives were also instrumental in shaping Chicago’s culinary history. Another family member of the same generation, Tom Granato, was the first to offer pizza in his restaurant (Granato’s). Papa Milano owned and operated 13 restaurants by 1960. He and his wife Rosa had six children, who all owned and operated their own businesses in the culinary industry.
Papa Milano’s Restaurants were located at State and Oak, State and Division, Devon and Western, and Howard and Greenview, to name a few. His grandson owns and operates “Francesco’s Hole in the Wall” in Northbrook, and his great-grandsons are the producers of the long running, theatrical production “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding.”