Obituary - Chicago Sun Times

Nino D. Favero: Founder of Nino's Pizza
1925-2009 | WWII veteran opened restaurants in Roseland and suburban locations

February 10, 2009


Restaurant owner Nino D. Favero was part of a rapidly disappearing generation.

"When you think of what America was like in the 1940s and 1950s, that's what Nino was about," his wife Mary said. "His whole generation was full of Ninos." You could start a little business with a little money and hard work. I wish we could get that feeling back again."

Mr. Favero, 83, of Matteson, died Friday Feb. 6, 2009 at St. James Hospital and Health Center in Olympia Fields.

He was the founder of Nino's Pizza Restaurants in Chicago, Matteson, Alsip and Olympia Fields.

"When I look back at those days, we weren't rich," his wife said. "But in a lot of ways, we were richer than we are now."

Mr. Favero, son of Italian immigrants, was born May 23, 1925, in Chicago. He attended Tilden Technical High school and then Pullman Technical before joining the U.S. Coast Guard at the outbreak of World War II.

"He went in when he was 17," she said. "When we declared war, thousands and thousands of boys lined up the next day to enlist. They didn't need a draft.''

Mr. Favero was a fireman aboard the USS Davenport, a frigate sponsored by the Iowa city. It served on anti-submarine duty off the New England coast before doing a convoy escort trip to Algeria. It was later converted to weather duty off the Canadian province of Newfoundland.

"When he came home out of the service, he bought a little pizzeria in Blue Island with a partner," his wife said. "Then he went to Roseland on his own. I worked in the Union National Bank on Michigan at 111th. He used to come in and I used to think, 'Oh God, he's such a handsome devil.' "

Both of them were the sole support of their families when he asked her to marry him, she said.

"I looked at him and said, 'Can we afford to get married?'" she remembered. "And he says, 'We'll make it, Mary, we'll make it.'"

They were married in 1954 and bought a 90-year-old house in Roseland, where they raised eight children before moving to Matteson in 1973. They opened a restaurant there. Then in 1989 they opened a place in Alsip and another in Chicago Heights.

"We never ate that much pizza at home," his wife said. "I cooked at home. I did chicken, veal chops, stuffed veal breasts and rack of lamb."

He was coming to work every day at the Chicago Heights restaurant until recently, according to his son-in-law Joseph Wachel.

"He would set things up," Wachel said. "The restaurant still makes everything fresh. They make their own sauces and he was involved in that. The menus say they aren't a fast food place, everything is cooked to order."

The restaurants feature pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads and have been in business long enough that generations of the same families have become regulars, he said.

"Roseland was a big community for them," he said. "Now he's out in the suburbs and people stop by and say, 'Are you any relation to the Nino's in Roseland?' "

They also get people in their 40s and 50s who got their first jobs with Mr. Favero, he said.

"They were working for him as delivery boys, bus boys, dish washers or cooks," he said. "They still remember him and come back."

In addition to his wife, other survivors include: three daughters, Bernadette Wachel, Nanette Favero, and Tina Amsden; three sons, Thomas, Christopher, and Joseph; nine grandchildren, and a brother, John.

Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Lawrence O'Toole Church, 4101 St. Lawrence Ave., Matteson. Interment will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Worth.


Death Notice


Nino D. Favero, age 83. Longtime Matteson resident, formerly of Chicago's Roseland neighborhood. Founder and proprietor of Nino's Pizza Restaurants. U.S. Coast Guard Veteran. Husband for 54 years of Mary, nee Kilcoyne; father of Bernadette (Joseph) Wachel, Nanette Favero, Tina (Patrick) Amsden, Thomas (Pamela), Christopher, Joseph, and the late Nino Jr. (Kimberly) and Patrick Favero; proud grandfather of Lisa and Judy Wachel, Patrick Amsden, Mary, Tom, Nicholas, Carly, Benjamin and Nathan Favero; brother of John (late Diane) Favero. A man of deep faith and limitless generosity, Nino's gentle nature and jovial disposition will forever be remembered by friends, employees and customers alike. Resting at Panozzo Bros. Funeral Home, 530 W. 14th St. (US Rt 30, 3 blks E. of Western Ave) Chicago Heights on Monday, Feb. 9, 2009 from 2 to 9 p.m. Funeral Tuesday, 9:15 a.m. to St. Lawrence O'Toole Church, Matteson. Mass 10 a.m. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Worth. 708-481-9230.