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Father and Son Restaurant Turns Back the Clock in Changing Logan Square

By Paul Biasco | November 4, 2015 5:58am
 The owner of Father and Son, Billy Bauer and his nephew Brett Boudart.
The owner of Father and Son, Billy Bauer and his nephew Brett Boudart.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

LOGAN SQUARE — About 50 years ago FBI agents raided one of the oldest pizza shops in Logan Square.

The feds said there were too many calls coming in to Father and Son on Milwaukee Avenue to be a legitimate pizza shop. That is, according to a story passed down to the current owner Billy Bauer.

"They froze all the phones. They thought we were a bookie," Bauer, 55, said. "They thought it's impossible it's a pizza place."

Back in the late '60s, Father and Son was doing between 1,200 and 1,500 deliveries on a big night.

"Tickets were just flying all over," Bauer said.

Today Marcello's Father and Son, 2475 N. Milwaukee Ave., still slings pizzas the same way with the same family recipes dating back to the 1930s.

 Father and Son, 2475 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Father and Son, 2475 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

What has changed is the neighborhood, but the owners are finding a way to adapt.

They are actually looking to turn the clocks back a bit rather than try to catch up with all the development and trendy restaurants popping up around the restaurant.

"It feels good because a lot of people will tell us that they like change, but they also like things in Logan Square to keep some of its integrity," Bauer said. "To keep some of that history."

Father and Son has been receiving feedback from "newbies" coming into the area saying the restaurant needs to change to fit in with the new "hip and modern" neighborhood, according to Sonja Tiberi, who handles marketing for Father and Son.

"I want people to get the nostalgia of this place," Tiberi said.

The history of the restaurant dates back to a South Side restaurant called Rossi's Pizza at 87th and Stony Island.

Bauer's great aunt Irma, whom he describes as "an amazing person," opened that restaurant in the 1930s.

Bauer's father, Marshall Bauer,  went to work for Great Aunt Irma, and after learning the ropes, and more importantly the recipes, bought Father and Son at Whipple and Diversey in 1953 for $2,000.

Marshall Bauer, according to the current owner, heard about this crazy concept of delivery while in New York and was the first pizza man to bring it to the North Side of Chicago in the 1950s.

The first drivers were off-duty police and firefighters.

"It really grew so fast and there was just an open market and no one was doing it," Bauer said. "He couldn’t deliver fast enough. He had to turn down a lot of business until he got to the point where he bought this building."

This building is the current Father and Son on Milwaukee, which was once a Studebaker car dealership.

The block was known as car dealer row back when he moved in.

Billy Bauer started working at Father and Son as a 16-year-old in the phone room where orders poured in.

"It was like being a runner at the Board of Trade," he said.

His nephew Brett Boudart is following in his footsteps.

Boudart, 25, started working at the pizza place as a 16-year-old and took over managing the Logan Square location about a year ago.

The restaurant has expanded over the years to a second location on North Avenue in 1993 and a third in Northbrook in 2006.

The restaurant is looking to push a theme of nostalgia moving forward by adding old photographs and menus from the early days, turning the restaurant into a sort of "museum."

"Our family has been in the pizza business since the '30s in Chicago," Bauer said. "It goes way back."

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