Rich Matokar, who opened his first Arrenello’s 50 years ago in Glenwood, stands inside the Tinley Park location. (Photo by Bob Bong)
Arrenello’s Pizza celebrates 50 years
By Bob Bong
Fifty years ago, Rich Matokar had to choose between buying a house or opening a business.
He chose to quit his job at U.S. Steel South Works and open Arrenello’s Pizza in Glenwood and the rest, as they say, is history.
“I did it on a whim,” he said. “A friend was opening a flower shop in Glenwood and said I should open a pizza parlor in the same plaza. My father-in-law and I did the build out and we opened on November 24, 1972.”
Twenty years later, he opened a second Arrenello’s Pizza in Highland, Ind.
“I wanted to see if I could do it again,” he said. “We had a lot of customers from northwest Indiana and they asked us to open in Indiana.”
Twelve years later, he opened a third location in Tinley Park.
Arrenello’s is definitely a family business. Matokar runs the Tinley location. His wife, daughter, son and grandson run the Highland and Glenwood locations.
He attributes half-a-century of success to his pizza and work ethic.
“We were voted the second best stuffed pizza by the Tribune in 1992 and people love our sweet sauce,” he said. “It also took a lot of luck and hard work. The first seven or eight years, I never took a day off. I still have the old values.”
“We created our identity by being there all the time,” he said.
Matokar, 77, did a lot of running to get the business started as well as running for fun when he was younger.
“I ran in 14 marathons before my knees gave out,” he said. “I used to run all over. I ran in the New York Marathon, the LA Marathon. I qualified for the Boston Marathon. I loved running.”
His running days are long over – he’s had two knee replacements – but he has no intention of giving up the business he has helped nurture for five decades.
Arrenello’s menu offers pasta, chicken, ribs and sandwiches, but is well-known for its pizza.
How many pizzas in 50 years?
“I stopped counting at 3 million,” Matokar said with a laugh.
Arrenello’s is located at 325 E. Glenwood-Lansing Road in Glenwood. For hours and information, call 708-758-6160. Their website is arrenellos.com.
In Highland, the pizza parlor is at 2556 45th Street in Brumm’s Plaza. For information, call 219-924-2525.
The Tinley Park location is at 9420 W. 179th Street. For information, call 708-532-2424.
The restaurants offer delivery and carryout.
Palos seniors-home ruse suspect charged
Spread the love Alleged accomplice wanted in Calif. by Kevin Olsen staff reporter Cook County Sheriff’s Police have arrested one man and are looking for his alleged accomplice in connection with three crimes at a Palos Park seniors’ assisted-living center in June, police said. Jay Taylor, 21, of Carol Stream, was charged with two felony…
Elderly Orland couple mourned after accident
Spread the loveby Jesse Marx staff reporter An elderly Orland Park couple died last week after their car crashed into an Orland Park driving school. Cecil Mowery, 85, of the 9300 block of Birch Street, the driver of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at 8:56 p.m. July 27 at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak…
Accused drunken driver charged also with cannabis
Spread the lovePalos Heights police arrested Nicholas W. Huntington, 23, of Worth, at 9:40 p.m. July 26 and charged him with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, illegal transportation of alcoholic liquor, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and disobeying a traffic signal, police said. He was stopped in the 12700 block of…
Registered offender charged with failure to report address
Spread the loveOrland Park police arrested a registered sex offender who went missing last week and charged him with unlawful failure to report change of address. Orland Park police tactical officers located Bryan Meyer, 30, at a home in the 6100 block of Marshall Avenue in Chicago Ridge on July 27 and arrested him without…
Driver charged with DUI
Spread the lovePalos Park police arrested Charles J. Cygnar, 56, of Palos Hills, at 5:01 a.m. July 18 and charged him with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and improper lane usage after he was stopped for crossing the center line and briefly driving in the middle of the road at Route 83 and…
Orland police charge man with taunting police dog
Spread the loveOrland Park police arrested Michael J. McConville, 19, of Orland Park, at 11:49 p.m. July 13 and charged him with taunting a police dog. McConville barked at the canine as he waited for his friend’s vehicle to get searched, police said. His court date is Aug. 17 at the Cook County 5th Municipal…
Woman charged with drunken driving
Spread the lovePalos Heights police arrested Andrea F Dunker, 22, of Chicago Ridge, at 3:36 a.m. July 21 and charged her with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and improper lane usage after she was stopped in the 12100 block of South Ridgeland Avenue, police said. Her court date is Sept. 3 at the…
Burglary hits Orland home
Spread the loveOrland Park police are investigating the burglary of a home in the 13700 block of 83rd Avenue that took place on July 13 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. A gray Sentry safe was stolen from the master bedroom, police said. The safe reportedly contained several rolls of 1930s and 1940s silver quarters;…
Felony retail theft suspect allegedly tries to steal liquor
Spread the lovePalos Park police arrested Eugene Dent, 50, of Chicago, at 6:46 a.m. July 11 and charged him with felony retail theft after he tried to leave a grocery store in the 9600 block of West 131st Street with a cart full of liquor without rendering payment, police said. Dent, described by police as…
Driver charged with DUI
Spread the lovePalos Heights police arrested Thomas J. Gray, 46, of Boling-brook, at 12:36 a.m. July 15 and charged him with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol after he was stopped in the 12100 block of South Harlem Avenue for speeding, police said. He was also charged with improper lane usage, no insurance and…
Girls Bowling | Richards wins regional; Shepard’s Kahlen Ranson rolls to individual title
Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent Screaming and cheering parents and friends expressing their staunch support for their bowlers. Teammates fervently hoping for an opportunity to advance to sectional competition next weekend. For good measure, not one but two gender-reveal parties getting ready to begin a few lanes away. Quite a vibrant atmosphere for a…
Cheerleading State Finals: Sandburg takes fourth behind conference rivals
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer BLOOMINGTON — Sandburg’s competitive cheerleaders finished fourth in a state finals competition that looked a lot like a SouthWest Suburban Conference meet. At least it did for the Large Team division competition, in which the top five finishers hail from the SWSC. The 2023 state finals were held…
Area Sports Roundup | Nazareth girls clinch conference crown with win over Carmel
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Nazareth’s girls basketball team is eyeing a Class 3A state championship after finishing second to Carmel a season ago. The Roadrunners whipped the Corsairs, 48-24, Feb. 4 to win the East Suburban Catholic Conference for the second straight year. It marked coach Ed Stritzel’s 400th career victory. Nazareth…
Girls Bowling | Reavis wins second straight regional crown; Argo’s Sara Flynn take indie title
Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent Two years, two consecutive regional championships for Reavis’ girls bowling team. The Rams made it back-to-back titles in an impressive manner, topping the 13-team field at the Reavis Regional with a pinfall total of 4847, topping second-place Argo (4684) by 163 pins at Palos Lanes in Palos Hills Reavis…
Countryside plans summer concert series, bluegrass festival
Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It might be winter, but it’s never too soon to talk about summertime music. Such was the case Jan. 11 when the Countryside City Council’s Special Events Committee heard from promoter Katie Goggin regarding the city’s annual Summer Concert Series. The committee also heard about the second annual Bluegrass and Brews Festival…
Porfirio resigns township post to take Senate seat
Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch Mike Porfirio is now a state senator and the Township of Lyons Board of Trustees has a vacancy. Porfirio submitted his resignation as a trustee, which was accepted by the board at its Jan. 10 meeting. Porfirio was elected to the Illinois Senate in November, and was sworn in as…
Drone takes McCook crime fighting to new level
Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch The McCook Police Department has a new weapon to fight crime. A new drone equipped with an infrared camera and the ability to zoom in 200 times was at the village’s latest board meeting on Jan. 17. The village used part of a $50,000 grant from the Secretary of State’s…
Super Hero fun at Our Lady of the Snows
Spread the love Catholic Schools Week was plenty of fun this year at Our Lady of the Snows School, as students were encouraged to dress as a super hero. Parents interested in checking out the school, 4810 S. Leamington, for 2023-24 are encouraged to call (773) 735-4810. – Supplied photo
Tri-State lane closures start Monday as area ramps prepare to reopen
Spread the loveOvernight lane closures are scheduled next week to shift traffic on Interstate 55 and on the northbound Tri-State Tollway (Interstate 294) between Willow Springs Road and Plainfield Road and reopen the ramp connecting northbound I-294 to southbound I-55 and Wolf Road. On Monday, February 6, beginning at 9 p.m. and continuing until 5…
Comings & Goings: Orland Area Chamber installs new officers
Spread the loveRamzi Hassan of Edwards Realty Company was installed last week as president of the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce. The 2023 board of directors was also installed and annual membership awards were handed out during ceremonies last Thursday at the Crystal Tree Country Club. Installation duties were performed by Orland Park Mayor…