Oct 5, 2010 7:32 PM by Carolyn Cerda
Family, friends and customers are mourning the loss of a Lafayette pizza pioneer. Mariano "Mike" Alesi passed away Monday night at the age of 90. He leaves behind a long legacy of Italian cuisine, as the owner and founder of Alesi's Pizza House.
"I'm not just saying this because I'm an Alesi, but it really is the best pizza around," said Mariano Alesi, III. He says his grandfather was a bit scared to open the first Italian restaurant in Lafayette. "In fact nobody around here knew what pizza was when he first opened." But, Alesi says the business soon became a hit.
It opened in 1957 at the corner of Cameron and Bertrand. Just 5 years later, it moved to Johnston and Brentwood where it's neon sign has become a Lafayette landmark. The business has been family owned and operated since it's inception. It's something Alesi proudly says is his grandfather's legacy.
"He passed on a fantastic restaurant, a great business. He's taught us all the value of family and the importance of loving one another."
Alesi says employees and customers were saddened to hear the news of his grandfather's passing.
"My grandfather was a pillar in the community. He was friends with all his customers. We're all very, very sad to see him go."
As of Tuesday evening, funeral arrangements were not finalized.