In the coming months, Heritage Works will be sharing the histories of some of Dubuque’s legacy businesses. To read more about what legacy businesses are and why they are important, read our first legacy business blog here.
Read below for our next legacy business spotlight covering Dubuque’s legacy Italian restaurants.
Legacy Business Spotlight: Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Lounge
Tonio Mario Bertolini (Mario) was born on April 1, 1944 in rural Italy where he grew up on a farm. At the age of 14, he left home to do an apprenticeship in San Serrano, Italy, where he learned to cook Italian cuisine. In 1969, Mario married Angelina Tucci and the couple moved to Queens, New York with Mario’s family. Mario and Angelina moved to Dubuque in 1977 and opened Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Lounge on the corner of 13th and Main Street, where the restaurant remains today.
Mario became an iconic figure in Dubuque and was loved by all who patronized his business. Mario passed away on June 15, 2017 but his legacy has certainly left an impact on the Dubuque community. Today, Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Lounge continues to serve authentic Italian food in a friendly and homelike environment. Learn more about Mario’s Italian Restaurant and Lounge at www.mariosofdubuque.com.
“He was never elected to anything. He didn’t serve on the city council or the school board. He wasn’t a corporate executive, major philanthropist or local power broker. Yet Mario Bertolini, in his own simple and friendly way, helped shape the personality of the Dubuque community.”
– “Our View: Mario Bertolini, Dubuque Icon,” Telegraph Herald, June 18, 2017, p. 16A
Legacy Business Spotlight: Marco’s Italian & American Foods
Marco Giuntas was born on September 23, 1929, in Dubuque. After graduating from Loras Academy in 1948, he served in the Korean War. In 1955, Marco married Carmela Cannavo in Termini Imerese, Italy. Five years later, the couple opened Marco’s Italian & American Foods at 2022 Central Avenue.
Marco’s Restaurant advertisement published in the Telegraph Herald in 1977.
Marco’s Italian and American Foods, located on Central Avenue.
Photo credit: Encyclopedia Dubuque
Over the years, Marco’s became well-known for its old-fashioned Italian dishes and famous pizza. Marco Giuntas retired in 1995 and passed away in 2015. Today, Marco’s nephew, Frank Giuntas, runs the business with his cousin, Franco Cannavo. The restaurant remains in its original location and is a staple in Dubuque’s local food scene. Learn more about Marco’s Italian & American Foods at www.marcospizzadbq.com.
Frank Giuntas and Franco Cannavo inside of Marco’s Italian and American Foods.
Photo credit: Telegraph Herald
Legacy Business Spotlight: Pusateri’s Italian & American Food
Brothers Mike & Gus Pusateri entered the pizza business in 1958, after Mike ate a bad pizza and decided he needed to make a better one. Mike & Gus’ parents were from Italy and helped them perfect a recipe. They made pizzas in their basement to sell at grocery stores, when pizza was still new in Dubuque. In September, 1959, Pusateri’s Peppe Pizza House opened on West 15th Street.
Pusateri’s Peppe Pizza House, located on West 15th Street.
Photo credit: Encyclopedia Dubuque
Pusateri’s Italian and American Food opened in 1968 at 2560 Dodge Street. The food was made in the front window so that pedestrians could walk by, watch the pizza being made and, hopefully, be enticed to stop in for a slice or two. That same year, Gus Pusateri retired. In the 1980s, Pusateri’s relocated to 2400 Central Avenue.
Pusateri’s Italian & American Food advertisement published in the Telegraph Herald in 1973.
Today, Pusateri’s remains in its Central Avenue location serving traditional Italian food with recipes that have been perfected for four generations. The restaurant even makes its own sausage, dough, peppe burger, lasagna, marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce. Learn more about Pusateri’s Italian & American Food at www.pusaterisdelivers.com.
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