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Feb 15, 2005 01:35 AM

Pizza on Paulina--Does Anyone Remember?

  • f

Way back in the 60's there was an outstanding pizza restaurant on Paulina just north of Howard St. The name was 'Villa Girgente' (sp?) but we just called the place 'Villa'. I went there often in the early to mid sixty's. They made a delicious rectangular thin crust pizza with corn meal on the bottom. The sausage and cheese (imported provolone) they used was absolutely top notch. The sauce was fantastic, mild and sweet. Even after over 40 years I can still remember the taste.

Does anyone remember this place? Did they move to another location and/or change their name? Does anone know what this type of rectangular thin crust pizza is called and if it's available anywhere else?

Thanks for your help. I sure would love to try it again.

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  1. IMHO, the closest thing to Villa Girgenti, as I remember it, is Vito & Nicks or Nick & Vitos; depending upon if you go to 87th and Pulaski or 95th Street in Hickory Hills.

    Thin crust; corn dusted on the bottom, somewhat sweet sauce and superb sausage.

    I also seem to remember that Villa Girgenti had the tables covered with checkered oilcloth that had "wrinkles" where too hot pizzas had left their mark over the years.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chuck

      I still remember the Welcome Inn pizza which I believe to have been the best in the Howard/Western area.

      1. re: Chuck

        That brings back memories. When I was going to school on the South Side, we would take the el up to Howard at all hours of the night just to get some of that fabulous pizza. That was 40 years ago and I have not found pizza that good since. I'm on the East Coast now and the only thing Chicago pizza means to people here is thick crusts.

      2. Yes,, I remember the Villa Girgenti vividly. They used imported black Italian mushrooms on pizza. To this day, I haven't found pizza as good. There was a rib & chicken place a few doors down, I think it was called Talbott's. And a place across the street that opened in the 60's that served excellent Mexican food. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

        1. Fred: Thank You for the kind remarks about My fathers restaurant. My father " Charles Milioto " pizza came from Italy and was special. He has been gone for 35 years, he died in 1977 a few years after closing the business. All the remark about the pizza and the checkered table cloths bring back many great memories. Today, most of the pizza places are just okay and too commercial. I would suggest Pequods in Morton Grove where I grew up; there thin a thick crust pizza is very good; however not imported like my fathers. I am his son Stephen Milioto the youngest of three.

          2 Replies
          1. re: malakared

            Dear malakared,
            How can I reach you to talk about your dad's pizza? Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 312-222-3141.

            1. re: Bill Daley

              Bill, just in case this one-time poster isn't checking this thread 11 months after his post, he seems to be listed on

          2. I hadn't seen this threat before but I do remember how good this place was. I was just a kid but I remember it well. They had a salad that I would still cry for this many years later. And a very friendly middle-aged waitress who knew all her customers and remembered what they liked and always made us feel welcome. Anyone know her name?

            2 Replies
            1. re: chicgail

              Her name was Lea Melby. After leaving the Villa she took parking admission money at a lot a few blocks west on Howard Strret. The Villa was never the same without her.

              1. re: JohnRiley

                Thank you! I remember her fondly.

            2. For some reason, I remember this place, where me and friends would take the L to or drive to (finding a parking space was nearly impossible) and get delicious pizza. We were at Northwestern in the late 60's- early 70's and when we wanted something different than Uno's we would get to the Villa, Tucked in that part of Rogers Park north of Howard St. It was tough to find if you didn't know where it was, but we did, and went there often. I too can remember the taste, and wish I could taste it tonight......and eat at those checkered table cloth tables.