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Spirit of Acadiana: Alesi Pizza House - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Spirit of Acadiana: Alesi Pizza House

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"When my grandfather first opened the restaurant in 1957, he had to start with diner-style food because people around here had never heard of pizza," says Mike Alesi recalling the pizza house's humble start.  "People would come in wondering…'what sort of fruit is a pizza pie'? He said 'oh, boy' I may have made a mistake here.'"

Trust me, though, there's been no mistake.  Alesi's Pizza weathered the storm, and this month is celebrating its 60th birthday.  It all started in 1957,  with Mike Alesi's father Mariano.

"He met my mother here when he was stationed here during world war II. They met here, he was a GI strolling downtown and she worked at one of the dime stores Morgan and Lindsey."

a marriage, a move to San Diego where the Alesi's had four sons, and then a permanent move back to Lafayette.  Mariano, you see, wanted to open an Italian restaurant in Acadiana.

The first restaurant opened on the corner of Bertrand Drive and Cameron Street in 1957.

Five years later in 1962, Alesi's moved to its current address, 4110 Johnston Street.
Mike's son Mari grew up in the restaurant watching his dear old dad.

" I would come with my dad probably five or six years old, and when he'd come to make sauce and he'd pick me up and put me next to the stove and i'd help him stir the big pot with the long paddle, so that was fun, "

And the fun is six decades old. That means six decades of Acadiana residents embracing the flavors that are Alesi's Italian restaurant.

And Mike says the key to making a good Alesi Pizza is, firstly, the crust. Second, comes the tomato sauce.

Mari Alesi knows his way around a crust, and he certainly appears to be a good teacher, but there are Alesi's and there are the Non-Alesis.

With a family that is four generations strong, only three people, Mike, his brother Charlie, and son Mari know the recipes handed down for generations.

But don't worry, the recipe is safely written down so if something does happen to the three Alesis, well we'll still be eating their signature pizza.

So, it's Happy Birthday to Alesi's Restaurant. To six decades, sixty years. It's a Lafayette institution that continues to welcome and feed customers and their children, and their children....

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