By Jonah Kaplan. CREATED Jun 25, 2014
RACINE -- Sometimes there's food that satisfies an appetite - and a soul.
Totero's Restaurant in Mount Pleasant seemed to do both, especially after 75 years in business. Today's Lasagna Day, however, will be Totero's last, as the owners decided to hang up the aprons and retire.
"Years in the restaurant business are counted in dog years," joked Al Totero, who inherited the restaurant from his father. "It's been a great run."
Totero's grandfather opened the restaurant at the same location -- 24th and Mead -- in 1939. Al's father and mother then ran the kitchen until their deaths. Al and his sister, Angela, currently ensure the recipes never lose their taste.
"They instilled a great work ethic and gave us the recipes and we've carried on," Totero tells TODAY'S TMJ4. "I think they'd be proud of us."
The fans seem to love the place even more - especially since more than 50 people lined up outside the restaurant today hours before the place opened at 11:30 a.m.
"My family's been coming here for three generations," said Terry Neumann, who admitted he was tailgating to save a spot for lunch. "If it was not what it is, it wouldn't have been here as long as it has been."
Totero plans to sell the property and most of its contents. He said he could sell the recipes -- if he trusts the new owner will use them in a restaurant that embodies his family's values.