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Klugers August 2016

Construction crews are putting the final touches on Flossmoor’s Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, which is scheduled to open next week.

Malnati’s carryout and delivery restaurant will open on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 3315 Vollmer Road in Flossmoor.

In recent weeks, crews have been doing extensive renovation work at the Malnati’s space in Flossmoor Commons shopping center, the former site of Flavor Restaurant.

Owner Marc Malnati pointed out that the new restaurant is located in the same spot where the family opened a pizzeria the 1970s.

Due to financial concerns, that restaurant closed 38 years ago, Malnati said. Since then, Malnati’s has become one of the most popular purveyors of deep dish pizza and now has more than 45 restaurants and carryout locations in the Chicago area.

“Almost 40 years after locking our doors in Flossmoor, we will throw them open for a second time in the very same location, with a carryout and delivery shop,” Malnati said. “And boy, does it feel good to be back!”

Malnati provided a brief history of his family’s restaurant business and its first Flossmoor location.

Founder Lou Malnati got his start in the 1940s working in Chicago’s first deep dish pizzeria. In March of 1971, he took his pizza expertise to Lincolnwood, a northern suburb, where he and his wife Jean opened the first Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. He opened another store in Elk Grove Village that same year to rave reviews.

In early 1974, as he turned 45 years old, Lou was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery and treatment ensued, and during a brief window of health, Lou decided to apply his energy to creating a new restaurant and chose Flossmoor to plant his third site, after he was told that the farmland that stretched for more than a mile along the north side of Vollmer Road was about to see a massive housing development

During the year after the new store opened, Lou’s cancer returned and he passed away in early 1978. Things went from bad to worse when the promised housing development failed to come to fruition and Malnati’s signature deep dish was slow to gain acceptance at the Flossmoor location.

“I wanted nothing more than to see my dad’s dream through by helping to get Flossmoor on track, but in May 1978, my mother and I decided to close it with mounting debt of nearly $600,000,” Malnati said. “Keeping the Flossmoor Commons site afloat brought us extremely close to falling into bankruptcy and almost forced us to shutter the other two restaurants as well.”

Malnati has said that it’s important to him to make the return trip to Flossmoor.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is a family-owned company famous for deep dish pizza and staying true to the original Chicago-style pizza recipe. Malnati said his company stresses consistency in quality, service and food, offered in a unique environment by a staff that is committed to one another, the customer and the community.

More about Malnati’s, including online ordering information, is available at the company’s website, www.loumalnatis.com.

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