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Woman takes grandpa’s pizza recipes on the road in food truck

Woman takes grandpa's pizza recipes on the road in food truck

Filippa Alfano essentially grew up with pizza sauce running through her veins.

Her grandfather, Leo Vitale, opened Leo’s Pizza in Jacksonville in 1978. It was the origin of several family-owned pizzerias of the same name throughout central Illinois. Today, Vitale’s kids run the Jacksonville pizzeria—the family’s only remaining location—where Alfano regularly serves her grandfather’s signature pies.

So when COVID-19 prevented Alfano — who just graduated with a degree in interpretive sign language — from getting certified in her field, she turned to what she knew.

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Leo’s Pizza on Wheels was born a year ago when Alfano took her grandfather’s recipes with her.

To convert the repurposed school bus, the seats had to be removed to make way for the large rear oven and a galley kitchen running the length of the vehicle. Alfano’s company logo: “Our own roles. While we are rolling.”

The menu is similar to its physical inspiration: pizza by the slice or pie, meatballs served on a bun or solo, a pasta of the day, hot wings, and Bosco sticks — those melty, mozzarella-filled breadsticks.

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The food truck’s heavy private bookings have kept Alfano from making a regular public schedule, but the rehabilitated school bus can be found in Springfield during the Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series on Thursday and the upcoming Abe Fest on July 8 and 9. And Alfano posts weekly schedules on the company’s Facebook page that recently ranged from a lunch break at the Midwest Technical Institute in Springfield to the Spring Fling Carnival in Jacksonville.

The business phone is 217-883-1035 or text 217-320-3136 to book a private event.

Natalie Morris can be reached at 737-7254 or by email at [email protected]