Franchesco's Ristorante Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Franchesco's Ristorante Celebrates the 30th Anniversary

30 Years of Excellence!


ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- 50 years ago yesterday the Salamone family stepped off a boat in New York City and started the American dream. We've been enjoying the fruits, or pasta, of their labor for 30 years at Franchesco's Ristorante.

Every night of the week Franchesco's dining room is filled with customers enjoying authentic Italian cuisine. Franchesco “Frank” Salamone is just as much a staple here as the steaks and pasta.

"I enjoy walking around talking to my customers. I love to. I work here 7 days a week," he said.

In 30 years the 87-year-old hasn't missed a beat, coming to the restaurant every day. Although he's not cooking anymore, Salamone says he just can't stay away. 50 years ago he moved his family from Sicily to Rockford to achieve the American dream.

"I don't believe it. The way I was and the way I am. I said thank you, God," Salamone said.

As the restaurant has grown and evolved moving from its Cherry Valley location in 2008 to its current space on Spring Creek, adding room for events and weddings, there's one thing that hasn't changed -- family. Frank's son’s Benny and Charlie started the restaurant with their father. Benny’s kids now work there too, but it doesn't stop there.


"Our clientele is like family to us. We treat everyone like family; it's been our reason for success," Owner Benny Salamone said.

The customers agree.

"It’s the comradery. Benny comes over and speaks to us, he knows us by name after you've been here a few times, not only does he know us, but Kim and the girls," Mary Anne Mueller, a long-time Franchesco’s customer, said.

"We've known the family, the food has always been good and it's just a great environment, great atmosphere. It's just nice to have restaurants like this in the area. There are many good restaurants in the area and people just need to take advantage of them," John Foti, a long-time Franchesco’s customer said.

It's that bond between customers and the Salamone’s that's kept this family-run restaurant going for 30 years.

"We never expected to be here this long, but now that we're here we're going to try to do another 30 years," Benny said.

"Thank you to all our customers," Frank added.