TULSA, Okla. — A popular Italian restaurant has reopened for business.
Mondo’s Italiano Restaurante has been serving Tulsans for more than 50 years and their new location has their family history written all over it.
“We seat about 200. We’re going to have the rooftop bar, patio, so it’s going to be a pretty neat spot,” Chris Aloisio, co-owner of Mondo’s Italiano Ristorante said.
Mondo’s is owned by 88-year-old Papa Lou Aloisio and his three sons, Mike, Rob, and Chris.
The restaurant’s name is short for Armando, a tribute to Papa Lou’s uncle who died.
“I thought it’d be a good omen to choose the name Mondo for our business,” Lou Aloisio, also known as Papa Lou, said.
Every photo tells the story of the family’s history.
Outside, a mural of 15-year-old Nicolangelo Aloisio, Papa Lou’s father’s visa when he came to America in 1920.
When you walk inside, the restaurant may be in a new building, but they’ve preserved the Italian pride in every picture and their family tradition in every dish.
The restaurant launched at 61st and Peoria in 1969 when Papa Lou left his petroleum job. He credits his father for helping him get started.
“He helped me out, as my mother did, my aunts and uncles and grandma…they all chipped in with all the recipes,” Papa Lou said.
Papa Lou said it was a slow start, but through the years their family recipes eventually captured the hearts and pallets of hundreds of Tulsans.
“And then all of the sudden it seemed like someone opened the dam and the business was unbelievable,” he said.
In 1969, they opened their first restaurant on 61st and Peoria. They operated out of that location for 20 years, then decided to move to 60th and Lewis. After a few years at that location, in 1993, they took a break.
“I just got tired of it and I said let’s take a break and we did,” Papa Lou said.
Fourteen years later his son, Rob, suggested they get back in the restaurant business, and they did.
In 2012, they reopened along Brookside.
They leased that location for several years, but now, they are happy to have a place to call their own.
“We don’t have to write that big check anymore,” Papa Lou said.
They built their own place, just a block away.
“Here we are…me and my three sons and then I have four grandchildren that work here too,” Papa Lou said.
The new location not only giving them more space, but also more visibility.
They said the menu will stay the same.
They officially opened for business February 11th and expect to open the rooftop bar in the coming weeks.
See the full story on Tuesday starting at 4:30 am on 2 News Oklahoma.
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