Giovanni Donancricchia, owner of Albanos Pizzeria in Cicero
After a week of mourning, employees at a popular pizzeria in Cicero said getting the restaurant back up and running working after owner Giovanni Donancricchia death is exactly what he would have wanted.
On a busy day at Stella Albano’s Pizzeria, employees were scrambling to fill orders for a packed house. They fired up the ovens and turned on Donancricchia’s old jukebox which elicited some longtime memories.
“All these songs are the ones he played, so I’m listening to them getting sad,” employee Dolores Rodriguez said. “But it reminds me how he liked to dance and goof of with us all the time.
Donancricchia was killed after confronting an armed man attempting to rob his wife Angela inside the restaurant. Rodriguez, like many others working at the pizzeria, regard Donancricchia as a father figure. She spent numerous hours with Donancricchia’s widow during the week-long hiatus, spending time with a family that has always been there to support her.
“We needed a job,” Rodriguez said. “She knew we had been out of work for this time. She knew that we weren’t working.”
Donancricchia’s kindness extend beyond his restaurant and into the communities across the Chicago area whether it be feeding the homeless with the store’s leftovers or trusting a customer to pay him back later when he or she was short on cash.
Rodriguez said she often argued with Donancricchia on some parts of the business because after all, the restaurant and its community are one big family.
“If I wanted to change something he would say no why you gonna change that and then I did and said, told you I was gonna,” Rodriguez said.