Grand Stand Pizza works to keep it fresh
Francesco Rayo (left) of Melrose Park and Benjamin Bentancourt of Melrose Park add toppings to pizza before baking at Grand Stand Pizza in Franklin Park. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:28PM
FRANKLIN PARK — Thirty years after his father started the business, Jon Legittino is working to make sure Grand Stand Pizza remains a local favorite.
Grand Stand, 9718 W. Grand Ave. in Franklin Park, has been owned by Legittino and Mike Roemer since 1982.
Legittino grew up in Franklin Park and attended East Leyden High School. He now lives in Bartlett and is married to wife Michelle. The pair have two kids, John and Jordan.
“My father started Grand Stand 30 years ago,” Legittino said. “He was a fireman and was always in the restaurant business. My partner and I bought the restaurant, and we’ve been going strong ever since.”
Legittino’s father got the name by putting together the stand in “pizza stand” and Grand Avenue, the restaurant’s location.
Everything sold at Grand Stand is fresh. Legittino orders his ingredients twice a week. The restaurant makes its own dough, sauces, meatballs, and soups. All of Legittino’s recipes have been passed down through his family.
“We make everything ourselves,” Legittino said.
Besides pizza, Grand Stand’s most popular dish is its lemon garlic pasta. Legittino said Grand Stand sells between 300 and 400 pizzas on a busy day.
And Grand Stand’s public has spoken. In 2005, Fox News named Grand Stand the best thin crust pizza in Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times also featured Grand Stand as the best pepper and egg sandwich during Lent.
Mark Posternack has been a customer for more than 25 years and orders from Grand Stand two to three times a week.
“The food is excellent, the food is great, and they go out of their way to please the customer,” Posternack said. “My kids even come from the city to buy their pizza.”
Besides pleasing the community, Legittino is also involved with several charities.
“I recently gave St. Gertrude gift cards and a five-gallon bucket of Italian ice for St. Gertrude Days,” he said.
Grand Stand donates to spaghetti dinners, puts flyers out for the American Legion pancake breakfasts, and supports the fire department with fundraisers.
Although Legittino admits running a business can be stressful, he believes the hard work is worth it.
“It’s a lot of hard work, dedication and being consistent with the product,” he said. “My destiny is in my own hands.”