We’ve been serving our community since 1941 and this is our story.
The Legendary Chicagoland Icon
The legendary Jim & Pete’s restaurant is nearing its 80th anniversary as a Chicagoland icon. Founded in 1941 by Jim Sorce Sr. and his brother-in-law Pete Pizo, Jim & Pete’s is one of Chicagoland’s oldest Italian restaurants. It was originally located at Chicago Avenue and Pulaski before moving to River Forest and then to its present location on “Restaurant Row” in Elmwood Park.
Today Jim & Pete’s is owned by Michael Bucchianeri, who started his career at the restaurant as a busboy when he was just 16 years old. After graduating college Bucchianeri started working nights at Jim & Pete’s and filled every restaurant role imaginable including answering phones, making deliveries, waiting tables, bartending and eventually serving as night manager. The owners at the time, Jim Sorce Jr., who had taken over for his father, and his cousin Vito Brunetti, realized they could go home at night and leave the restaurant in Bucchianieri’s very capable hands, so they did.
Sorce and Brunetti invited Bucchianeri into the ownership group in 1999 and he agreed without hesitation, making Jim & Pete’s his full-time career. “It was just a storefront at the time,” Bucchianeri said, “but I saw the potential of what it could be and the opportunities to work with two great partners.”
The trio undertook an expansion of Jim & Pete’s, more than doubling the square footage of the restaurant with a larger dining area. They added exposed brick walls, larger full-service bar, and greater event capacity. In 2017, Bucchianeri became sole owner and continued to put his signature on Jim & Pete’s adding a multi-season, state-of-the-art patio.
“A lot of people told me I was taking a big risk with the investments I was making,” Bucchianeri said, “and no doubt I was. But I went ahead with it because I believed in what I was doing and because I felt I owed it to the long- time staff. I wanted them to benefit,” he said. “And I am happy I did.”
When Jim Sorce Sr. bought out his partner back in the day, he kept the name Jim & Pete’s because he thought it would be too expensive to change the sign. Today, there’s no chance the name will ever change. “It’s always been Jim & Pete’s and always will be,” said Bucchianeri. “There’s simply too much tradition and history. Great people, great customers and friends that will keep Jim & Pete’s alive forever.”
Please join us soon and enjoy our food, our restaurant and the Jim & Pete’s experience!