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"Armand's is my life;" laughs Barone, "everyone expects to see me behind the counter, and I know ninety percent of my customers by name."
Michelle Barone, general manager of Armand's Pizzeria (7650 W. North Ave), has been working at the busy Elmwood Park Italian eatery for 27 years. Established in Elmwood Park on Grand Avenue in 1956 as Armand's Victory Tap, today Armand's Pizzeria is located just slightly west of the busiest section of restaurant row on North Avenue.
"We have a lot of restaurant competition in this area which is a good thing," says Barone, "but we are located down the street from all the action and offer diners a quieter dining option."
The pizzeria is a also attached to Tiny Tap; the partnership ensures patrons have access to more than 20 craft beers and outdoor seating during warm summer months.
In addition to personalized customer service and an out-of-way location, Barone attributes Armand's long-term success to family recipes passed down through generations and the restaurant's ongoing commitment to using premium grade ingredients.
Any Armand's pizza can be served as a pan pizza or a thin crust pie. Toppings can be customized, but the restaurant offers some approved "classic" combinations like one especially devoted to the Village of Elmwood Park. The Elmwood Park combo suggests topping your pie with Italian beef, Armand's signature sausage, and gardinera.
Known for churning out signature thin crust pizzas, Armand's also offers special Pizza Nova section on their menu. This collection of eight extremely thin, especially rich, sauce-free pizzas includes Armand's signature pizza. The ten-inch round pie features smooth and creamy fontinella cheese, briny artichokes, sweet roasted red peppers and fresh basil. The Pecola Pizza, another offering on the Pizza Nova list, pays homage to Chicago with toppings of roast beef and spicy Italian peppers.
"It is always a nice feeling when people visit us from surrounding communities," says Barron, "and we've got something for everyone here!"