I first learned about Paisano’s, 113 N. Chicago Ave. in South Milwaukee, from a Google search for south side pizzerias, but recently a co-worker recommended them, so I decided to pay them a visit.
The restaurant was very clean. The light beige walls were coated with stucco for a textured design. Paintings hung on the walls, and a mural of a village and bay adorned the back wall of the dining room which included wooden tables and chairs, as well as booths.
As luck would have it, owner Fred Sunani stopped in while I was dining. He greeted a family of regulars before checking in with the hostess and kitchen staff; later, I had a chance meet and chat with him.
I asked Sunani about his journey to becoming a business owner, and he shared his story beginning with his father bringing his family to the United States in 1973. The Albanian family moved here from Macedonia via Austria.
They arrived in Chicago and lived briefly in Aurora, when friends in Wisconsin recommended a move north for a more comfortable life for the family, and they settled in South Milwaukee.
Sunani and his brother started working at age 12 as paper boys. A few years later, Sunani got a job as a busser at Sally’s Steak House. Some of you will remember the popular dining establishment. The rest of you should ask your parents about it.
After Sally’s, Sunani worked at DeRango’s for 3 years where he learned to cook. He married Fidane in 1985 and left the restaurant industry to work in a machine shop until his father suggested that he open a business. In 1991, Sunani and his family pooled their resources to open Saraphino’s. The business remained family owned until a recent change in ownership.
However, in January 2010, Sunani decided it was time to open a place with his wife Fidane and sons, Besnik and Bashkim. Together, they continue to manage all of the operations of Paisano’s and cook with recipes that Sunani created via trial and error based on lessons he learned from his expe…Read more...