Four and a half decades in business
Tami Jo Nix/The Madera Tribune Marco Santeufemia owner of DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant in Madera chats with Joel and Donna Burdine of Kerman during a late lunch.
Authentic Italian food served in a family friendly atmosphere has been the daily task of Marco Santeufemia for nearly 45 years.
DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant, 516 S. I Street, is in one of Madera’s first shopping center, Bethard Square at Olive Avenue and North I Street. The center is presently undergoing some much needed renovations, including the repair and resurfacing of the parking lot.
DiCicco’s opened in February of 1973 after remodeling the former “Happy Steak” restaurant. The building has more than a dozen small stained-glass windows and a large one depicting a colorful pair of peacocks.
Santeufemia is the grandson of Maria and Pasqual DiCicco who, with their four sons Nicola, Alberto, Frank and Roberto, were known as the “Four Sons of Italy.”
They opened their first bistro on April 12, 1956. Other restaurants in the family-owned-chain can be found in Fresno, Clovis, Oakhurst, Kingsburg, Sanger, Merced and Denver, Colorado.
“We are so thankful to Madera and all our faithful customers,” Santeufemia said.
The restaurant can seat approximately 110 patrons. The banquet room, available for private parties, seats 45, he said.
Hospitality permeates the business as Santeufemia comes out of the kitchen to personally greet many of his long-time customers.
The restaurant sells four sizes of pizza, ranging from 10 to 16 inches. They offer 18 pizza toppings, including jalapeños, anchovies and artichoke hearts, in addition to the standard fare of pepperoni, sausage and salami.
The house specialties include cannelloni, manicotti and eggplant parmigiana. Complement the meal with draft, domestic or premium beer or wine sold by the glass, the half-liter or liter.
Using fresh ingredients, the Madera store bakes 75-85 pounds of bread dough every day and uses about 50-60 pounds of pizza dough, said Santeufemia.
A batch of the restaurant’s signature marinara sauce contains 10 cans of tomato sauce, which is 654 ounces. These are made seven days a week.
The restaurant serves between 70-100 gallons of minestrone soup and 35-50 gallons of clam chowder per week. The chowder is served Monday through Friday. In the winter, the clam chowder is sometimes served in a sourdough bread bowl, check with the server for availability.
“We make our own salad dressings too,” he said.
The restaurant’s dessert menu includes cheesecake, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, vanilla and spumoni ice cream.
The restaurant employs a staff of 29 people with little turnover.
“Some of our employees have been with us for many years,” said Santeufemia. “One has been here 40 years.”
The restaurant has daily specials and offers delivery service for its entire menu. The menu features steak, veal, chicken, fish and calamari entrees served with soup, salad, pasta and the restaurant’s fresh from scratch bread. They also provide party trays. For information call 674-2435.
Open seven days a week, business hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday nights until 10 p.m.