Serving authentic southern Italian cuisine for the past 25 years, the three Ali brothers remain faithful to their customers at Michelangelo Ristorante Italiano.
Parents Damiano Ali and his wife, Assunta, first presented their Italian-made food to Tucson back in the ’70s. Giuseppe Ali, the youngest son and co-owner of Michelangelo, remembers being a part of the business at a very young age. Every day after school and on the weekends, he and his brothers were found helping out their parents at the restaurant.
By 1989, the Ali family expanded to the northwest side where they opened up Michelangelo on 420 W. Magee Road, which is its current location. Damiano passed away in 1994, leaving the restaurant to his three sons: Vincenzo, Franco and Giuseppe Ali.
Each of the three brothers has a specific role in running Michelangelo. The eldest, Vincenzo, is the head chef, middle brother, Franco, is the pastry chef and Giuseppe is the accountant. Even though larger chain restaurants have come into the northwest area, Michelangelo has remained dedicated to serving authentic food and in doing so has kept a steady flow of customers.
The restaurant business also extends to other family members. One of their cousins is a partner in Choice Greens while another is the owner of Trattoria Pina, which is located on 5541 N. Swan Road.
Michelangelo primarily offers southern Italian food, which includes a lot of spicier, red sauces. On occasion, they make northern Italian food, which includes more alfredo-type dishes. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner to their guests. Dishes range from chicken, veal, fish, and meat to the smaller and lighter dishes of salads and soups. Though the food attracts people to Michelangelo, Giuseppe also believes that their friendly service does as well.
“Getting to know the customers and having regulars – they become like family,” said Giuseppe. “A lot of our employees have been here forever so they get to know the customers too.”
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Michelangelo will have live music from May 9 to the end of the month and a giveaway for two to Las Vegas. Live music will be on May 17, 23 and 30. The giveaway for two to Las Vegas will include airfare, two night accommodations, breakfast and an Italian Festival. Michelangelo will also have a professor from the University of Arizona come and teach an Italian class on May 24.