Italian Family Tradition
The Visocaro family is originally from Palermo, the capital of the Italian island of Sicily. They began introducing the flavors of the traditional Italian dishes in New York City with a modest pizzeria, “Paola’s Pizza Restaurant.” After 12 years of tiring cold and snowy weather, they decided to move to the much warmer city–San Antonio, Texas. In April 1983, Little Italy Restaurant opened its doors with authentic New York-style Italian cuisine.
In their new home, Angelo and Paola put their spin on traditional Italian dishes originating from Southern Italy. The husband-and-wife team brought the culture, language, and food of a customary Italian family and introduced it to San Antonio.
Over the years, Angelo and Paola passed down family recipes and successful business secrets to the next generation of the Visocaro family. Their children Enzo, Dominick, and Marisa, all became part of the family business, following in their parent’s footsteps. Gaspar, Paola’s brother, was a driving force in the kitchen preparing the family pizza.
With every bite of their family meals are from recipes that are filled with history, passion, and heritage. Dominick believes that tradition is crucial to the Little Italy Restaurant brand as well as the Visocaro family tradition. The future of the restaurant depends on the next generation of the Visocaro family members learning the key components of their family restaurant.
Merlot Visocaro is the eldest of the Visocaro grandchildren. She was born and raised in San Antonio. She attended the University of New Mexico to pursue a degree in dance. Currently, she is splitting her time between Albuquerque and San Antonio. Growing up in the family business has allowed her to learn about various aspects of the restaurant. When in town, she enjoys working side-by-side with the staff and learning the operational side of the restaurant. Like the generations before her, Little Italy is an essential part of her life. She is immensely grateful for her family and the incredible staff that have shown so much dedication and love for the business. As a young adult she has gained a new level of appreciation for the legacy her grandparents started.
As a young girl, Marisa was always in the restaurant mingling with customers. In high school, she began to help her parents around the restaurant. After she graduated, she started waiting tables and was quickly a requested member for numerous guests. In the late 1990’s, she shifted her focus to management and quickly became responsible for the wait staff, the customer service initiatives, and the oversight of the restaurants wine program. Marisa is the proud mother of “Little” Dominick and the other loves of her life, her red-nosed pit bulls. She is an avid wine lover, enjoys exercising, and cherishes the time she has with her family and friends.
Dominick Visocaro is married and the proud dad of his two daughters, Merlot and Sicilia. He is the second generation to operate Little Italy. While in middle school he worked as a busser and eventually worked in the kitchen learning to cook the family recipes. He now oversees the day-to-day operations of the family business. As a native Sicilian, Dominick enjoys fine wines from around the world. He can be seen side-by-side with his daughter Merlot in the pizzeria. And, as a lover of books and reading, he shares this passion by taking his daughter Sicilia to the bookstore. In his “free time” Dominick enjoys traveling with his wife, and fishing with his family at their second home in Port Aransas.
Family photos by Celeste Elena Photography.