Victory Italian is the collaboration of Chef Joe Farina and restaurant and real estate developer Tony Gambino. Joe and Tony grew up in Melrose Park together and would meet occasionally over the years to discuss doing a project together.
Farina was the culinary director of Rosebud restaurants for years and Gambino was in the Mexican restaurant business with Taco Fresco and Fuego Loco. Finally in 2016 they were able to do a joint restaurant in South Loop called Victory Tap.
Growing up in Melrose Park, a location in the Oak Park, River Forest area was familiar and something both were enthusiastic about. When the pair found the location at South Blvd. and Marion Street, they both loved it and could see that the overall space would work well for a Victory Italian restaurant.
The entrepreneurs enlarged the bar and changed the floor plan of the former wine and cheese market into a traditional looking Italian restaurant.
The look is not trendy, instead they chose an old school approach to the room with darker wood, copper and white marble to give the room an upscale but warm and comfortable feel. The food too is traditional Italian. They like to say it is Chicago Style Italian food. Homemade pastas, Chicken Parmesan, Brick Chicken and Farina’s famous meatballs are featured on the menu. Victory also always has a few strong steak, chop and seafood entrees on the menu as well. Those include the popular Chilean Seabass, Lamb Chops Oreganata and the New York Strip Steak Gambino style.
Gambino, formerly a resident of Oak Park who lived on South Blvd., only blocks away from the restaurant, loves the area and the town. Victory is now in its third year and its owners believe they have brought something to Oak Park that will become part of the neighborhood and the community.
Victory is open daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is open for lunch on Friday and Saturday.
Victory also has a great catering menu with family meals and for the holiday’s items like seafood salad, baked or raw clams, calamari. … to help anyone attempting the seven fishes.