Dino's Pizza & Italian Restaurant in Norwood Park is famous for its crust pizzas, pizza pockets, and gluten free pizzas. Credit: Facebook

NORWOOD PARK — An Italian staple on the Far Northwest Side is celebrating its anniversary with free items and dessert.

Dino’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant, 7004 W. Higgins Ave., is celebrating 55 years in business this weekend. To kick off the festivities, the women-owned, family-run restaurant will offer free dessert, special menu items for $5.50 and free swag beginning Saturday and continuing through Nov. 30, co-owner Bruna Morrison said.

Those who dine in on the weekends can enjoy an anniversary sheet cake with cannoli filling. Free pastries will be given to customers who dine in on the weekdays, Morrison said. Those who order out can also expect a treat: a large sugar cookie with the restaurant’s logo.

Customers will also get free magnets, pint glasses and other small tokens of appreciation with orders, Morrison said.

“They are some little thank you’s to everybody for our great customers,” said Morrison, who co-owns the business with her sister, Bianca Henniges. “I want to thank all our great customers, because without our customers, we would be nothing.”

Bruna Morrison and Bianca Henniges, owners of Dino’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant, smile with Santa in 2021. Credit: Facebook

Dino’s opened in October 1968 and has been a staple of the Far Northwest Side, often hosting fundraisers for schools, churches, sports and community members in need, Morrison said.

The owners’ parents, Umberto “Dino” and Tina Borrini, started the business after arriving in Chicago from a small town near Pisa, Italy. The business thrived with Tina Borrini’s homemade recipes, which are still used in Dino’s kitchen, the owners said.

Tina Borrini died in 2000, and Dino Borrini died in 2005, but their faces and energy still permeate the restaurant, Morrison said.

“People always say, ‘Oh my god, I remember your mom.’ … It’s like a big family there,” she said.

The family pride is evident by who is in the kitchen, too: the owners’ husbands, Joe Henniges and Darek Wiktorowicz. Henniges’ son, Joey Henniges, continues the tradition by also working at Dino’s, Morrison said.

Some of the family’s cousins from Genova, Italy, are even traveling in to celebrate the anniversary and experience Thanksgiving, Morrison said.

“We are really excited about the anniversary, and we wish our parents were still here to see how we have grown,” Morrison said.

Known for its “out-of-this-world pizza,” homemade lasagna and minestrone soup, Dino’s is keeping the family’s Italian heritage alive and hopes to keep sharing its menu with the Far Northwest Side for years to come, Morrison said.

The business has also received shoutouts from Jimmy Kimmel and praise from locals for decades.

The owners hope people come out to enjoy — or carry out — the special deals and free dessert from the business and help the staff celebrate a milestone, Morrison said.

“We do all kinds of stuff to give back and help, because we really believe what goes around comes around; that’s one of our mottos,” she said. “We do everything with love because that’s our home.”

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