A word from our sponsors: Luisa’s celebrates 20 years of serving Italian food to Western Kenosha County

luisas-june-2016-for-anniversaryNote: Luisa’s is a westofthei.com sponsor. — DH

Paul DeLuisa is celebrating an extra special July 4 holiday weekend in 2016.

July 1, 2016 marks 20 years since he opened Luisa’s Restaurant in Wheatland.

DeLuisa may have been only 25 when he opened the restaurant, but he started working at a Kenosha pizza restaurant when he was just 12 years old.

While he learned a lot about the business at that job, he credits his junior high school counselor with sparking the idea of opening a pizza place in Western Kenosha County. The counselor lived West of the I and when the counselor heard about Paul’s employment the counselor encouraged DeLuisa to open a place out here because there was a lack of good pizza.

Paul tried to get his employer to open a satellite location, but he wasn’t interested. So eventually DeLuisa  found the location at Highway 50 and 317th Avenue and started Luisa’s, initially living upstairs.

The restaurant had been a pizza restaurant for exactly one year before DeLuisa started his restaurant and a popular German/Polish restaurant for over 10 years before that. DeLuisa believes his restaurant is the longest tenured business in the location.

The restaurant business has changed since 1996, most significantly with technology such as computers and the new rotary oven that replaced seven flat pizza ovens, DeLuisa said.

For example, order taking is now computerized, but it used to rely on people reading handwritten paper, checking prices on a menu and ringing it all up on a cash register that just did numbers. The handwriting could especially be a problem when it was sloppy.

“Because of bad handwriting, we had a lot of mostaccioli being made instead of manicotti,” DeLuisa.

Luisa’s even has drawn some national attention. An ad for the restaurant made the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in a regular segment where Leno would poke fun at funny newspaper stories and ads. A local had sent in the ad that had a Luisa’s special of two pizzas for $19.99, with the tagline that “others are offering this for $20” (the 2 for $20 being a popular pricing promotion at the time).

Ultimately the secret to his success, DeLuisa says, comes down to the basics: Loyal customers and great employees. He is proud to say he has customers that rarely miss their regular meal at Luisa’s and that he has had employees that got their start at the restaurant but went on to careers in the trades, as firefighters, police officers, doctors, therapists and more.

“I’ve met a lot of great people over the years,” DeLuisa said. “I would like to thank all of my customers over the years and I would especially like to thank my employees for 20 years of hard work and dedication.”

Luisa’s is located at 6806 317th Ave., Wheatland (Salem), 262-537-4795.



  1. Matt says:

    Hard to believe it’s been 20 years! That went fast. Best pizza, hands down!

  2. Colleen says:

    Dale and I started coming to Lusias the week that Paul opened. Enjoyed the pizza from he first taste. We watched the restaurant grow and could not be more proud of Paul if he was our own. Dale has passed, but I will not forget Paul coming over to say good by to him. Dale so enjoyed hat visit. So, as well as making the best pizza around, Paul is one heck of a good guy!!

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