Decades ago, Tim Mucciante and Aaron Rogers, high school pals of Italian heritage growing up in Pekin, shared the dream of opening a pizza shop. The friendship and the dream endured throughout the years. Now family men in their 50s, Tim and Aaron are proud to invite residents to Two Paisanos Pizza and Pasta at 363 Court St. The restaurant opened Dec. 15, leasing space and sharing a dining area with Yesterday’s Bar and Grill.

Rogers, whose mother is from Italy and loves to cook, first introduced his pizza at a gaming café, Fabulous Taylor’s in Sunset Plaza in Pekin, that he owned from 2014 to 2017. When the new owners of that business changed the pizza recipe, there were complaints. That’s when Mucciante and Rogers decided it was time to start their own restaurant.

Rogers cites the unique flavor of their specially spiced mozzarella cheese, the fact that their vegetables are cut fresh every morning and the generous way they load on the toppings as reasons to visit Two Paisanos.

"We definitely give people what they pay for," Rogers said.

"There’s also the local connection," Mucciante said. "We both work hands-on alongside our employees, helping to build and bake the pizza. We’re here to stand behind our product." Mucciante’s daughter, Olivia, is also on staff.

Mucciante and Rogers believe in community.

"We will be doing the Taste of Pekin at St. Joseph School this month," Rogers said. "(It’s) a great opportunity to taste our pizza for a small cost and a great way for us to give back to our community. We are also happy to do fundraising for kids’ sports teams and school activities."

The Taste of Pekin will take place on Jan. 27 at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, 300 S. 6th St., Pekin. It is open to the public. More information about the event can be found at https://stjosephpekin.org/taste-of-pekin/.

Now that their pizza dream is a reality, the men are learning quickly.

"It’s harder than the construction work I do during the day," said  Mucciante, who also owns Mucciante Builders. "But I’m enjoying every minute of it."

Rogers also works full-time with Ameren.

The restaurant is now open for dine-in, carry-out, curbside service and delivery to the Pekin, North Pekin and Marquette Heights areas. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For supper or an evening out, diners can come in between 4 and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday’s hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Delivery is restricted to the afternoon/evening hours. 

In these first weeks, Two Paisanos serves pizza and calzones. Pasta dishes will be on the menu in the near future. Frequent specials are offered. Call 309-201-2967 for take-out. 

To keep up-to-date on Two Paisanos, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/twopaisanospizza/.