Culture Food & Wine

Authentic Italian Culinary Legacy at Pompei: Unveiling Delightful Pizza, Pasta, and Strudel Creations

Pompei is another sponsor for our upcoming Bocce Tournament. Here's what you need to know about the historic Little Italy, Chicago restaurant

In 1909, Luigi Davino founded Pompei, a culinary gem born from his migration from the Naples region of Italy to the vibrant streets of Little Italy, Chicago. Alongside his sons, he began a humble bakery offering bread and pizza. Over the years, Pompei journeyed through different locations and passed into the hands of new family owners, yet its heart remained rooted on Taylor Street, the very essence of Little Italy. In the early 1980s, Ralph Davino, along with his wife Rosemarie, assumed the reins and embarked on an ambitious expansion, introducing a delectable array of plates of pasta and more to the menu. From that point on, Pompei became a seven-day- a week haven, welcoming customers for both lunch and dinner and continually adding more delights to their menu. But what sets Pompei apart from the ordinary tale of an Italian restaurant is its extraordinary legacy. Across four generations, this establishment has proudly retained its family-led heritage, standing as a testament to the enduring love and dedication passed down through the years. 

Kim Davino, the eldest grandchild of her generation, holds cherished memories of her grandparents and parents working their magic in the kitchen. Growing up on Taylor Street, she found herself surrounded by a close-knit family, with the bakery serving as their culinary haven. Immersed in this flavorful world, Kim learned the art of cooking from treasured family recipes. Pompei and all its many generations are fortunate to be working alongside employees who have devoted over four decades to the establishment. Passionate about preserving this legacy, Kim has passed down her knowledge and expertise to her own children. Her eldest son, Joseph Di Pofi, possesses an innate flair for cooking, which he discovered at the age of 12. Inspired by the food of his mother and grandmother, Joseph embarked on his own culinary journey, experimenting with recipes and honing in on his skills. As he got older, his grandfather has given him the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen, meticulously studying the pizza-making process to craft the perfect specialty slices we indulge in today. As a member of the current generation, he is not alone in continuing the family’s legacy; four other grandchildren will also passionately contribute their talents and efforts alongside him. 

Pompei is renowned for its house-made bakery-style pizza, a true delight served in a rectangular pan, featuring mouthwatering square slices. The intriguing tale behind this pizza begins with the timeless dough that has been perfected over the years, serving as the foundation of each delectable creation there is today. The artistry lies in their skillful combination of diverse toppings and innovative style. Pompei’s culinary wonders extend far beyond its remarkable pizza. Their culinary ingenuity gave birth to the Strudel, a delectable treat that holds a special place in the hearts of all who savor it today. With an array of flavors to choose from, Pompei’s menu caters to the tastes of every customer, aiming to form an authentic connection with the present generation. Pompei is dedicated to sharing its culinary legacy with people from all walks of life. Eager to spread their name, the team at Pompei embraces the mission of delighting and enticing every palate that graces their doors. 

Pompei stands as a timeless testament to the enduring power of family, tradition, and authentic Italian cuisine. With a rich history spanning over four generations, this beloved restaurant has etched its mark in the heart of Little Italy, Chicago. The dedication to preserving culinary heritage passed down through the Davino family, has created a dining experience that not only satisfies the taste buds but also warms the soul. As an integral part of the Little Italy community, Pompei takes an active role in celebrating the neighborhood’s vibrant culture. One of the most anticipated events on Taylor Street is the annual Taylor Street festival, where the lively spirit of the community comes alive. Furthermore, one cannot forget to mention that Pompei is going to be present at the Hardcore Italians Bocce Tournament. 

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