Legendary Pizza at Al & Leda’s Pizzeria
Have a craving for pizza? Head to Al & Leda’s Pizzeria in the Northwestern Illinois town of Dixon, which has more than 50 years of spinning dough under its belt.
Owner Leda Bartolomei opened the Italian restaurant with her husband, Al, in 1960. Al died in 1988, but at 80 years old, Leda continues to work at the pizzeria four days a week with the help of her daughters, Linda Lanis and Bea Brown.
“Mom is friends with a lot of our customers because she’s been serving them for so many years,” Brown says. “We’ve been here so long; we’re almost like a landmark in Dixon.”
SEE ALSO: Discover Dixon, Illinois
The simple brick building on West Everett Street may appear a little rough around the edges, but what the building lacks in style, the restaurant makes up for in flavor and creativity.
For example, take the restaurant’s Spaghetti Pizza. Leda Bartolomei created the signature item, a crispy-yet-chewy crust smothered in spaghetti noodles, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
“My mom was the first person in this area to start serving spaghetti pizza,” Brown says. “It’s very filling.”
A trio of other unusual menu items includes BBQ Cheeseburger Pizza, Chicken Alfredo Pizza and the BLT Pizza, which has mozzarella cheese and bacon baked on the crust, lettuce and tomato toppings and comes with a side of mayo.
However, the restaurant’s offerings go well beyond pizza. Customers keep coming back for the pizzeria’s torpedoes and Italian cheeseburgers, Brown says.
“The torpedoes are long sandwiches layered with beef, pepperoni, salami, ham, cheese, pickles, onions, peppers and spaghetti sauce,” she explains. “And our Italian cheeseburgers are oven-baked and served on rectangle-shaped Italian bread.”
A huge variety of sandwiches and pasta dishes rounds out the menu, including lasagna, tortellini, ravioli, sausage burgers, ham and cheese sandwiches, and meatball and Italian beef sandwiches. Those looking to feed a crowd often opt for the Bucket of Spaghetti, which consists of four quarts of spaghetti, meatballs and two loaves of homemade bread for around $18.
“We’re a really casual place that’s great for families,” Brown says. “I’ve enjoyed working here because it’s nice to be around family members, and we’ve enjoyed being able to have the restaurant survive so many years.”
If You Go...
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Sunday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Phone: (815) 284-3932