How it all began
Angelo and Giacomina Passalacqua
Way back in 1939, my grandparents, Angelo and Giacomina Passalacqua, opened a small neighborhood tavern at 955 West Chestnut Street in Washington, Pa. With all the nearby glass, steel manufacturing and farmland just outside town, the place became a popular stop for area workers. The little tavern grew and my grandparents began to serve their customers real Italian spaghetti and fresh Italian bread. And fittingly, in those days Angelo’s was called The West Chestnut Spaghetti Inn. With Route 40 being a major highway at the time, travelers soon discovered the restaurant. They liked the spaghetti and the friendliness, and the West Chestnut Spaghetti Inn soon became the most popular restaurant in town.
My grandfather passed away in 1953. My grandmother continued to operate the restaurant with two of her children, my father Silvio and his sister Carmelina. Of course, my mother Patricia and my uncle Tony DeStefano, being spouses of my dad and aunt also began to work in the restaurant. In 1958, my grandmother retired and turned the business over to my dad and aunt. The name of the restaurant was changed to Angelo’s in 1958, and the place was remodeled and a full menu was added. Angelo’s flourished in the 60’s and 70’s. In 1981, my aunt retired and my dad became the sole proprietor of Angelo’s. My sister, Tonne, and I left our jobs and came home to help my parents with the family business.
My sister Tonne immediately changed the menu and started doing a lot of fresh veal and seafood. Angelo’s was beginning to strike out in a new direction. My sister left the business for other opportunities out of state. However, I enjoyed being home and in business with my mom and dad. As things progressed, I began to understand more about Italian food. I enjoyed venturing out in new culinary directions, and making Angelo’s the place for inventive, regional Italian cuisines. My mom and dad sensed my ambitions and began to allow me to put my signature on all that we do.
In 1992, after 42 years of heart and sweat, my parents retired. The tools they gave me prepared me to allow Angelo’s to move into its third generation of one family in one location. I cannot tell you what it means to me to be able to carry on the family name and history of this business.
On Easter Sunday 1997, my mother passed away. Her hand is on my shoulder guiding me to not forget my roots and how to treat people. My mom had a smile and a kind word for everyone. Many things have changed since 1939, but the important things haven’t. Our history is good food, warmth, consistency, quality, value and appreciation for every single person who walks through our doors. It’s a family tradition and an honor for me to live up to that philosophy. It is something I hold sacred, along with my family name. It’s something that I owe to you, our friends and customers, and to my family heritage. And, of course, it’s something I have to do for my mom.
In August of 2008, we moved to this new facility to carry on our mission of serving great Italian food in a warm and friendly atmosphere. We are very proud of our heritage and history and plan on continuing our legacy in this new location. My hand is firmly on the wheel and I am guided by the spirit, the ambition, the passion, and dreams of my family before me, and plan on continuing the tradition and legacy of Angelo’s Restaurant for years to come.