Chicago Restaurateurs’ Ina Pinkney and Marc Malnati Continue Unique Tradition

Share Article

Famous Chicago brand Lou Malnati's Pizzeria opens 39th location in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood taking the place of Ina Pinkney's famous diner which closed last year. In what has become a tradition among former owners, Malnati served Ina the first meal.

Lou Malnati's new West Loop Store displays three banners to honor former owners.

From left: Marc Malnati, Ina Pinkney, John Panagakos.

We want to honor the role this building has played in the community for over 70 years, as a restaurant and gathering place for families in the heart of the West Loop.

On Monday, October 20th Lou Malnati’s celebrated the opening of its 39th pizzeria by continuing what has become a unique and special tradition for the building. Opening in the former Ina’s space located at 1235 W. Randolph, Marc Malnati served the first slice of his famous deep dish pizza to the former owner, Ina Pinkney, and unveiled three banners honoring the building’s history.

Pinkney’s diner occupied the space from December 2000 until January of 2014. In what she calls an important passing of the torch, she symbolically served Marc Malnati her final meal in December of last year . Prior to Ina’s, it was a restaurant run by the Panagakos family for 44 years. She received their last meal and served them her first, which is where the tradition started. John Panagakos currently resides in Wisconsin and was on hand for the celebratory first meal as well.

“It’s a beautiful transition, and I couldn’t be happier to be passing the torch to Marc,” said Pinkney. In a sincere and touching moment, she presented Malnati with a framed picture of a torch and a hand written note with her best wishes.

When Ina’s closed, the West Loop lost a popular destination and gathering place for residents. However, Pinkney was determined to sell to someone who would fit into the community and Malnati is dedicated to continuing the legacy of the building as the heart of the West Loop neighborhood. He commissioned three banners to hang on the exterior of the building to recognize the restaurants and owners that once occupied the space.

“We want to honor the role this building has played in the community for over 70 years, as a restaurant and gathering place for families in the heart of the West Loop,” said owner, Marc Malnati. “This place has been the heart of this ruddy, yet artsy area. Our architect, Mark Knauer, has sensitively preserved that great history, while creating a bright, exciting new family hot spot.”

The uniquely designed restaurant has 178 seats available for dine-in along with offering carryout, delivery, and catering services. The menu features Lou Malnati's famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza and a variety of other items. For store information such as the menu, delivery zone, and contact information please visit the Lou Malnati’s website.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is a family-owned company with 39 Chicagoland locations. The company has continued to grow through stressing consistency in quality, service, and food which is offered in a unique environment by a staff that is committed to one another, our customer, and our community.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Meggie Lindberg
Visit website