• Aurelio's Pizza founder dead at 69

CHICAGO -- Joseph A. Aurelio Jr., 69, founder of the 28-store Aurelio's Pizza chain, died of congestive heart failure on Dec. 18, in Blue Island, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Aurelio opened his first pizzeria in 1959, which had four tables served by one waitress. In 1977, he moved his business to an abandoned warehouse, and turned it into a 650-seat restaurant. He later franchised 27 more restaurants scattered throughout Illinois and the upper-Midwest.

"People told him he was crazy: 'What are you buying a warehouse for? You'll never fill it,' " Aurelio's son, Joey, told the Tribune. "For the first 10 years we had a line out the door, and they learned he wasn't so crazy."

One of Aurelio's Pizza's competitors, Joe Sanfrantello, Sr., owner of Sanfrantello's Pizza, spoke kindly of his old rival.

"I really admired the guy," he said. "He was a pioneer of the family-style pizza restaurant."

A dedicated restaurateur, Aurelio was at the business every day, but the strain resulted in six heart attacks and multiple surgeries.

Friends said he was humble about his restaurants' success, but talkative, feisty and opinionated about most all issues.

He was active in his community, serving on multiple boards of charitable organizations.

He is survived by his ex-wife and business partner, Ann Stevens, son Joey, and three daughters, Lori Nagela, Amy Aurelio-Kaminski and Susan; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Related Content

User Comments – Give us your opinion!
Products & Services

Online Ordering

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/5931.png

5931/Online-Ordering

Leapfrog POS App

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4559.png

4559/Leapfrog-POS-App

HAND-PINCHED STYLE® Sausage and Beef Toppings

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6785.png

6785/HAND-PINCHED-STYLE-Sausage-and-Beef-Toppings

Standard coffee

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6963.png

6963/Standard-coffee

Nationwide Criminal Records

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/Criminal_Search_iix.gif

1427/Nationwide-Criminal-Records

PCI Compliance Managed Network Services

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4123.png

4123/PCI-Compliance-Managed-Network-Services

Mexican-Style Meats

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6795.png

6795/Mexican-Style-Meats

Hardware

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4553.png

4553/Hardware

Online Ordering

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4285.png

4285/Online-Ordering

Get more from your restaurant POS with online videos and tutorials

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/1294.png

1294/Get-more-from-your-restaurant-POS-with-online-videos-and-tutorials

Digital Menu Boards and ROI
Fast Casual Executive Summit
Request Information From Suppliers
Save time looking for suppliers. Complete this form to submit a Request for Information to our entire network of partners.