Remembering Valenti’s

Valenti's Pizza Parlor 1960

Felix (Phil) Valenti founded two Italian restaurants in Ontario. First there was Valenti’s Pizza Parlor, 208 1/2 W. Holt Blvd., in 1960. Next came Valenti’s Fine Foods, 1754 S. Euclid Ave., in 1964, which had “pizza, spaghetti, ravioli, fried chicken.” His family said he started by offering pizza for a nickel a slice and that Valenti’s Fine Foods was famed for its 79-cent all you can eat dinners.

When he started, there weren’t many places to get pizza, which was still something of a novelty; in Ontario, competitors were Luigi’s Pizza House, Frankie’s and Capri Restaurant.

Valenti retired from the restaurant business in 1979, meaning he served Italian food in Ontario for three decades, and almost four if you include the extra eight years he spent catering before he retired for good in 1987. Valenti, 87, died June 11, 2013, according to his obituary.

Do you remember any of these restaurants? These yellow pages ads, from 1960 and 1964, may jog your memory and are courtesy of the Ontario Library’s Model Colony History Room.

Valenti's Fine Foods 1964

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  • DebB

    These both opened before my time in this area. But I thought it was interesting to note that sometime between 1960 and 1964, the phones changed from the YUkon exchange to numbers only. I remember being in grade school when our exchange went from CItrus to 24…

  • Raylene Sausedo

    I worked @ Valenti’s Fine Food Restaurant at the ripe old age of 16; it was my first real job! I was the kitchen helper working on Monday nights for their ‘All you can eat spaghetti dinner’ and Wednesday evenings during their ‘All you can eat Enchilada plate’ special. We were always busy; the price was right and the servings generous; no one ever went away hungry! I filled many a plates those evenings and come closing time washed a LOT of dishes and a HUGE amount of large pots and pans! Phil Valenti was my uncle and Godfather, he was a great boss and taught me a lot during my formative working years. He loved the restaurant business, he was a friendly and personable guy and it showed in all his repeat customers. He will be missed!

    • davidallen909

      Raylene, so nice to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your memories here.

      • Raylene Sausedo

        Thanks for the article David! Always read and enjoy your columns!

  • Craig Gaul

    Thank you David Allen for recognizing my Uncle Phil and Aunt Ethel’s restaurant, Valenti’s Fine Foods in Ontario. I know without a doubt that they both worked very hard and diligently to bring great tasting food to their customers at a excellent price. I can remember going there with my family many of times and there would be a line out the door with people waiting for a table. That alone was a testament in it self of how great the food really was. One time while eating dinner with the family, there were three little girls looking through the front window at all the people eating. My Uncle Phil stepped outside and asked them if they were hungry, they shook their heads yes. So Uncle Phil went back into the restaurant and brought them three big pieces of pizza on a paper plate. There smiles and the look on their faces said it all, Uncle Phil walked back in and said, “Now that’s what it’s all about.” Uncle Phil will be greatly missed but not forgotten.

    • davidallen909

      That’s a sweet story. Thanks for commenting, Craig.