The History of DIGRADO'S
Welcome Friends, Since November 7th, 1988, when DiGrado Food Products, Inc. was started by my wife Kim and I, people all over the world have been able to taste the special Sicilian style marinara sauce that my Great Grandmother Pauline Licatesi’s family have been enjoying for generations. My Great Grandmother brought the recipes with her in the early 1900’s when she came to America from Sicily, Italy.
The Sicilian family marinara sauce has a uniquely different flavor than anything that is available in the area or perhaps anywhere (but Sicily of course). People of all ages enjoy the flavors of our authentic Sicilian family recipes. My mother said that my Grandmother, Anna Maria Licatesi DeGrado, added sugar to sweeten the sauce, but my mother liked my Great Grandmother Pauline Licatesi's sauce better without sugar so my mother learned to make my Great Grandmother's sauce. My mother, Frances DeGrado Hilsabeck, (the "I" in DeGrado was changed to an "e" when our family moved to America) gave the recipes to me when I started showing an interest in cooking and the restaurant business as a teenager. Since 1974, Kim and I have over 50 years of restaurant experience at different capacities combined. We have owned and operated MAMA DiGrado's PASTA & PIZZA for over 11 years with the help of our staff currently and others in the past. Our staff shows a sense of pride and great work ethic here, and are involved in school activities, sports, dance, music, continued education, and giving back to the community. Many of our staff stay with us from the age of 14 until they move on to college or other venues.
We donate to many events, fundraisers, organizations, schools, sports, and church groups in Marshalltown and the surrounding communities.
Kim and I started our restaurant venture together on July 12th, 2006 in a strip Mall that seated 45 people, then on February 1st, 2008 we moved to a location that had seating for 99 people and had an opportunity to move to our current location May 1st, 2011 with seating available for at least 145 people and we may open a private party room in the future.
The photos on the walls are those of family members and friends, some dating back to the early 1900'sthe photos were taken in the USA and Sicily, Italy. My mother, Frances DeGrado Hilsabeck had most of the photos stored in her cedar hope chest, and I always thought that the photos would be nice to have as décor for an authentic Italian restaurant. John Stalzer and the staff at Stalzer's Photography have done a superior job enlarging the photos and making them as clear as possible.
We feature build your own pastas since everyone enjoys different flavor combinations. We use the best spices, cheeses, sliced meats, ground beef, pasta and pizza toppings that money can buy. We make our own meatballs, dough, breadsticks, sauce and seasoning blends. We chop all of our lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers and onions fresh. We strive to offer the best service, food, prices, cleanliness, quality and value to our customers. When you order, we make everything fresh, we don't hold food over in warmers so that you can be served quicker, because we think that can compromise flavor, texture and overall quality. We believe that we apply more ingredients to your food than anywhere else. You get your moneys worth. Please allow some time for this preparation and baking time. We do our best, as you can witness by the open kitchen concept, that your food is made as quick and accurate as possible. All of the staff works very hard to make sure that your experience is a good one. Please, by all means let us know if there is ever an issue you would like to be addressed. We appreciate the many patrons that have visited from near and far. Our family welcomes you and hopes your visit is a pleasant one.
Thank You and Enjoy!