Meet the owners


Paisano in Italian, means a fellow countryman, a comrade, a pal. Where we grew up, it meant friend.

Like you, we LOVED 2nd Street Pizza!

Whitefish has been home for us since 2012. We have a long history in the food industry. We have a passion for Italian food — especially pizza. And… we have a passion for bringing friends together. 

Dave’s father, Luigi, and his Uncle Luigi, started a restaurant called, what else, Luigi’s, in Chicago in 1948. It is still in operation as a very successful Italian restaurant.

Dave and his family continued in the restaurant business in 1976 with a fine dining restaurant. 

In 1980 Dave spun off that business and started a  trendy casual dining restaurant with entertainment. This grew into one of the largest entertainment nightclubs in the Chicago area, featuring many well-known national recording artists.

Barbara was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up in a large Italian family. Her mom was a professional cook and her parents had an Italian Imported Food Store with lots of homemade Italian food and catering. She married into an Italian Restaurant and Pizza business and worked and managed that for many years. 

You’ll recognize some familiar items on the menu, and we hope that you’ll love what we’ve done. Take a peek at our updated kitchen and shiny new pizza ovens!

Be sure to say hi if you see us in the restaurant. We’d love to get to know you. 

— Barb and Dave DeFazio