The first to come were the Pierantonis, in 1912. Alceo, newly a widower with a son, Enea, found work in a hotel restaurant in New York City, later moving to a similar position in St. Louis. After several years, he and Enea came to Cleveland. There, in the 1930s he became the manager/owner of Pierre’s restaurant, which was located in the Hanna Building, directly across from the Palace Theater. Pierre’s was well known and frequented by many an actor, as they came to perform in Cleveland in those vibrant days. Enea then joined his father Alceo when he finished school, but was away serving in the US Army near the end of WWII, when Alceo passed away, so Pierre’s had to be sold.
Upon his return home, Enea was offered the opportunity to join other restaurateurs in a new venture they called Caminati’s. This was an Italian restaurant located on Shaker Square, and was a popular dining venue throughout the 1950 -60s. In his later years of “retirement” Enea served as consultant/manager of the Lion and the Lamb in Beachwood, then the prestigious University Club – full circle back to downtown Cleveland.
Just about this same time, in 1972, young Felice Maiorca arrived in New York from Calabria excited to be in America! Staying first in New York with relatives, he later moved to Elyria, Ohio, where relatives lived, and started Gina’s in 1977, a take-out pizza and Italian food business. In only a few years, his sister Grace and her husband joined him from New York, and each of them ran one of the four Gina’s Pizza shops, located on Broad Street and Cleveland Street and Lake Avenue in Elyria and on East Erie in Lorain. Following his knowledge and enthusiasm for cars, Felice then spent a few years as a top salesman for Spitzer Automobiles, but when a restaurant became available near LCCC, he was drawn back to his love of cooking. And that’s when he began the Sorrento’s Ristorante that so many know and love.
Eventually, the space next door was available, allowing seating for more satisfied guests! Felice, his family and a core group of dedicated staff have all contributed over the years in making Sorrento’s the family friendly place that it has become. For over 25 years, Sorrento’s has seen families come – some every week, some even more often – and grow up, then bring the next generation to enjoy Felice’s authentic Italian cuisine. In the providence of God, the two families were finally joined together when Felice Maiorca and Ron Pierre (of the Pierantoni family) met one another in 2008, and became good friends. With so much in common already, it was almost an eventuality that they would become partners in the new, improved Sorrento Ristorante & Pizzeria where you now sit! They both hope that you will enjoy your time here, returning again and again.