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OUR STORY

Old black and white picture of the founder's dad

A GiBBiLiNi FAMiLY TRADiTiON

My father was born on the north side of Chicago during the Great Depression.

My grandmother taught him the secrets of making her pizza, pasta and many other established family recipes. Dad, on the other hand, liked to experiment (to the horror of his mother), and used fresh vegetables to create unique flavors, long before it was in vogue. 

Back in the 50s my parents loved to entertain. On weekends, they would use every chair in the apartment, throw a large red and white checkered tablecloth over the dining room table and invite friends, family and acquaintances over for dinner. To an enthusiastic crowd, dad would serve his variations of time-honored family dishes as well as recipes he was developing, most of which received outstanding reviews. Dad’s pasta dishes were fabulous, but his pizzas were the crowning achievement! Over the years we always had family and friends coming by, eating, drinking, talking, and listening to the sounds of Frank Sinatra and swingin’ Big Band records.

My dad truly practiced his simple philosophy about life: the key to happiness is friends, good food and music.

In his golden years dad would still cut a rug with mom and reminisce about the good ol’ days of joyfully serving friends and family. They have since passed away, but their passion lives on in our hearts. They were well loved, thought of highly, and lived life with a zest most people can only envy. We miss them greatly.

Years later, I cleaned out their garage and found close to a thousand assorted plates, wine glasses, and silverware (none of which matched) that made me think he’d been collecting them for years in hopes of opening his own restaurant.  I wish I had known. 

He would be so proud of the many people who have become part of our Oregano’s family and who share his belief in good food and service. We are all truly honored to have you here today! And just so you know, the antiques and Big Band music are a tribute to our wonderful life growing up in the 50s. A life we honor with a photo of my parents that adorns the front of every Oregano’s restaurant. 

 On behalf of the Oregano’s family – PLEASE enjoy yourself! 

Oregano's Founder Mark S. Russell Signature

Mark S. Russell

“THE KEY TO HAPPiNESS iS FRiENDS, GOOD FOOD AND MUSiC”