More than 30 years ago, Mark Borelli was in his grandparents' diner in East Garfield Park, making pizza dough on Sundays.
Now, Borelli is at it again, this time from his new restaurant at 2124 W. Lawrence Avenue.
Named simply Borelli’s, the BYOB pizza and sandwich place is using his grandmother’s recipes from the 1930s.
“We’re making things that I’ve never seen anywhere else, but always loved,” Borelli said. “I’ve never quite found a rice custard that’s as good.”
The rice custard joins wafer-thin briochitini cookies and a pie-like tota for dessert.
Borelli’s is open for lunch Wednesday through Friday from 11 to 2 p.m., and Thursday and Friday from 6 to 10 p.m.
The owner envisions a family atmosphere, with a free game room in the rear of the building. Parents can order pizza, have a drink while their kids play games, and then pick up the pizza to take home or eat in-restaurant.
Borelli bought the space along with the Farmer’s Garden Market next door in 2011. Since then, he’s been renovating the building, preparing for a soft opening in late January. Two other pizza places—Giordano’s and Stefano’s—have also been at that location.
Owning a garden center and a restaurant, Borelli wants the two businesses to coexist. He plans to use tomatoes and basil from the center in the restaurant, and sell pizza sauce in the garden supply store.
Borelli and his wife Lisa also own a music business above the restaurant. Musical Chairs Studio gives instrument and voice lessons to more than 250 kids. The two also plan on using Borelli’s for recitals and private parties.