Classic Buffalo Spotlight: Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant

By Emily Burns Perryman

Published on

Food, family, sports and cultural heritage: these cornerstones of our region are all found at the family-owned Italian eatery Ilio DiPaolo’s in Blasdell.

Ilio DiPaolo’s requires a stop for their delicious, hearty and heartwarming food, offering guests authentic home cooking and old world recipes that tell the story of a unique family owned business and immigrant success story. Any sports fan, Italian food lover, and those appreciative of the American dream and the bonds of family will each truly appreciate all that Ilio DiPaolo’s has to offer, from the amazing sports memorabilia on the walls and affordable and filling daily specials, to custom curated cocktails, an award winning wine list and even the restaurant’s own products including savory sauces, tasty breadcrumbs and marinades.

At the heart of this special place was the man who started it all. Born in Introdacqua (Abruzzi) Italy, patriarch Ilio DiPaolo left his home country in 1949 for Venezuela. While wrestling in South America, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, he signed a contract to wrestle in the United States. In 1951, he arrived in New York and met his soon to be wife Ethel. They married in the spring of 1952, moving on together to grow both his wrestling career and their family.

The DiPaolo family decided to make Buffalo their home and Ilio retired from his distinguished wrestling career in November 1965. He is currently enshrined in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Canadian Hall of Fame, and is a well-known and esteemed name in the sports world.

Ilio’s dedication, passion and hard work can be found within each generation of his family, as well as the way his restaurant is owned and operated today. From a small pizzeria with only four employees in 1965, to expansion over the years into the amazing local spot that visitors can enjoy today, Ilio DiPaolo’s offers good food, friendly service and an atmosphere where everyone is truly considered family.

Some of my best recommendations are the hearty homemade soups, Veloce Lunch Buffet, Caprese sandwich or any of the amazing chicken, steak and veal entrees. No matter what you choose you’ll leave with a full belly and a satisfying and heartwarming experience. Ilio once acknowledged that the people of Western New York were the best he had encountered throughout his travels worldwide. You’ll experience that same warmth when you head to Ilio DiPaolo’s for a taste of food and family.

Emily Burns Perryman headshot

Emily Burns Perryman

Emily Burns Perryman is a proud "re-patriot" having moved back to Western New York after 10 years in NYC. She resides in beautiful North Buffalo with her husband and two children and works in higher education at Trocaire College in South Buffalo. She is also the proud co-founder of Unite by Night.