L.A. Italian Kitchen founder Joseph De Santis began his career in the restaurant industry at the young age of nine years old. While growing up, Joe’s father Frank would take him many weekends to work at one of the family’s pizza places, Pizza Pete’s. As a young man, Joe embraced the challenge and opportunity to work and learn about the restaurant business. By age sixteen, Joe was the manager of one of the larger sales volume Pizza Pete’s restaurants located in Santa Ana, California.
Joe’s grandparents, Joseph and Margaret De Santis, were Italian immigrants who left New Jersey in the early 1950’s to move west to Los Angeles, California. There they started an Italian grocery market in Hollywood. As the family grew and more income was needed, they opened a pizzeria in Glendale, California on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Glendale Avenue. Pizza Pete’s opened in 1956, setting the course of direction for Joe and the De Santis family for many years to come.
Like his parents and grandparents, Joe constantly looks towards the future for growth while embracing his fresh concept of serving high quality, quick service Italian food. He opened the first “L.A. Italian Kitchen” restaurant in 1991 at the Galleria at Tyler in Riverside, California. Joe, being a Los Angeles native, created the name L.A. Italian Kitchen as a reflection of his Italian heritage and his Southern California roots.
The initial growth of the company was slow and difficult due to the saturation of established competitors in the marketplace. To overcome these challenges, Joe drew from his background of perseverance, quality operations, support of family, friends and business associates, and most importantly, the hard work and dedication of loyal team members. Since 1991, L.A. Italian Kitchen has continued to successfully manage unit growths and maintain high quality operations. Locations are currently found in premier shopping centers and casinos with growth areas targeted in airports, universities and tourist attractions.
L.A. Italian Kitchen’s philosophy on maintaining successful restaurants includes keeping each unit operating at 100% of its potential at all times. Each team member must do his or her part to drive sales and give greater value to customers. To achieve this goal, team members must work together to continually improve product quality, service and operations.
Our food is a reflection of the values instilled by Joe’s family. Joe always draws on his traditional Italian family belief that one must be proud of what they serve. Because of this ideal, we only serve fresh food of the highest quality prepared with caring hands. This is the same food you would be proud to serve to your family and friends at home.
At L.A. Italian Kitchen, we enjoy providing each of our guests with the experience of… Old World Values and New World Taste.