Italians aren’t really known for baking pies. When it comes to sweets, things like cannoli or biscotti are what usually come out of an Italian kitchen. But Peter Fasano’s family must be doing something right. Fasano Pies has been in business in the Chicago area for four generations.
Our story begins in 1927, when Italian immigrant Joseph Fasano Sr. started loading trucks for Wagner Pie Co. As a dedicated employee, he worked his way up to driving and selling pies on a route he started from scratch.
“Why pies? My grandfather just loved, loved, loved the pie business,” says Peter Fasano, current owner of Fasano Pies.
Joseph Sr. then took a job Sunkist Pie Co, working his way up to president. Because he was so dedicated to the business, he wanted to bring his son Joseph Jr. into the company. The idea was quickly shot down by the owner, who said no family members could work there.
After nearly 20 years in the industry, starting at the bottom and working his way up to management, Joe Fasano opened his own bakery so that he could share his love of the pie business with his family.
“My grandfather was a very hard worker,” Peter explains. ” He leveraged everything in the world he had to get the bakery.”
In 1946, near the intersection of North and Austin in Chicago, Fasano Pies was born.
“Every pie my grandfather made was by hand,” adds Peter. “He used the best ingredients from the crust to the fruits in the fillings.”
Fasano Pies enjoyed healthy growth, and ultimately led to Joe Jr. taking over. “Joe Pies,” as he was called, transformed Fasano Pies into nationally known brand and one of the largest pie manufacturers in the country. But, as Peter describes, internal problems led to the company’s collapse from within. In 1985, Fasano Pies closed its doors.
Peter cherished fond memories of working at Fasano Pies when he was young, and those memories stuck with him throughout his career at the Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange.
In 2009, Peter began researching the idea of re-opening Fasano Pies. After all, he still was in possession of 50 recipes from his grandfather and father. “I figured, if I wasn’t going to do this, no one would,” Peter explains.
In a move reminiscent of his grandfather’s in 1946, Peter partnered with a small bakery and re-launched Fasano Pies last November. The first pie he sold was to Ralph Steinbarth, owner of La Preferida foods, one of Joe Pie’s oldest friends.
In less than a year, Peter Fasano outgrew the small bakery he had partnered with, and now makes pies from a much larger facility on the Northwest Side of Chicago. Fasano currently produces 2,500 pies a week, selling to eateries like Connie’s Family Restaurant in Berwyn and William Tell Restaurant in Countryside.
Fasano Pies can also be bought at the Hinsdale & Western Springs Fruit Store; Hyde Park Produce; Casey’s Foods in Naperville; and Brookhaven Market in Mokena, Burr Ridge and Darien, or by placing a personal order for pick up. Keeping the family tradition going, his son Peter now works for Fasano Pies.
With the company’s rapid expansion, you can tell that Chicagoans are happy that Fasano Pies are back. And according Peter Fasano, they’re here to stay.
For more information, visit www.piesbyfasano.com or call 630-400-5600.