Jack Fasciano’s daughter, Gina Fasciano-Hogan, is looking to reopen her family’s business, the once popular Angelo’s, in the former Barrier’s building at Douglas and Oliver in College Hill.
Fasciano-Hogan, who grew up working in the restaurant, has partnered with friend Carrie New, and if everything works out, the restaurant could be reopened within six months, Jack Fasciano said.
The popular family-owned Italian restaurant – known for its pizza, lasagna and manicotti – closed its last location at 1930 S. Oliver in July 2006 after operating in Wichita for 46 years. Fasciano, the son of the restaurant’s founders, had run out of money and couldn’t keep the restaurant afloat. The bank froze his accounts just before he closed.
After the restaurant closed, Fasciano said, he went into a deep depression and said he didn’t leave the house for a couple of years. Then, people started asking him whether he would make his famous pizzas and manicotti, which he is doing monthly out of his home for a growing list of about 45 friends.
He started thinking he should get the business going again and was looking for a partner when his daughter approached him. She had been making cupcakes out of her home, mostly for the Blessed Sacrament community. Her children are now 9 and 13, and she told her father she was ready to revive the family business.
“I’ve wanted to do it since we closed,” said Fasciano-Hogan, who would sit on the counter in her infant seat while her parents worked. “It feels good when people compliment the food and talk about memories of the restaurant. I wanted to leave my kids something and kind of carry it on.”
Fasciano-Hogan said she and New are taking entrepreneurship seminars at Wichita State University and are talking to investors. It’s still early in the process, but they have big plans for the building. Fasciano says he would be involved, working at the restaurant and consulting.
Initially, they had looked into taking over the old Dolci and Joe’s spot at 3425 E. Douglas but were told another restaurant was moving in. But Fasciano-Hogan said she wanted to have the restaurant in the College Hill neighborhood, where she lives.
The restaurant would be called Angelo’s and would serve all the old favorites. It also would offer Italian pastries, take-and-bake pizza, pizza by the slice, and quick, prepared lunches. The restaurant would have patio dining, too.
Jack Fasciano’s parents, Angelo and Anna, got their start making pizzas out of the basement of their house in the late 1950s. Sicilian-born Angelo, who worked at Boeing, would sell the pizzas to co-workers. They became so popular that he opened a small restaurant on South Laura in 1960.
The family moved the restaurant to a building near Harry and Hillside in 1961, then moved to a location across the street in 1976.
Customers loved the distinct pizzas, the salads with the pickled eggplant and the homey pasta dishes. The restaurant grew in popularity and expanded. At one point, five Angelo’s were operating across the city. The family also had restaurants in Andover, Hutchinson and Tulsa.
Anna Fasciano died of complications from diabetes in March 2004. Angelo died a year later, in March 2005.
Jack Fasciano said when the restaurant closed that he hoped to revive it some day, preferably as a neighborhood mom-and-pop spot. He described the College Hill location as “gold.”
His daughter said she was inspired to make the move by the memory of her grandfather, whom she said she was close to.
“I’m excited and nervous,” Fasciano-Hogan said. “But I guess you’re supposed to be when you do something like this.”