The town of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, is determined to buy out and tear down a beloved pizzeria owned by Marie Altobello for 40 years. But the 75-year-old pizzaiola feels she deserves a better deal.

Many customers of Munchies Pizza agree, according to news reports. The pizzeria, founded in 1983, doesn’t have a website or an Instagram page, and its Facebook account has been dormant for years. Yet the old-school Chicago-style pan-pizza institution has fans of all ages, including local high schoolers for whom dining there has become a cherished tradition.

Even so, the wrecking ball could smash Munchies to smithereens soon, the Daily Herald reports.

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“They’re putting us out of business, and it’s our livelihood,” Altobello, who started Munchies Pizza with recipes from her grandfather’s family, told the publication.

Elk Grove Village will close the deal on its purchase of the 57,713-square-foot commercial building—which houses Munchies and two other businesses—on April 30. Come fall, the city plans to demolish it as part of a redevelopment effort.

The village has reportedly offered to buy out Munchies Pizza’s lease for $80,000 and give Altobello five months of free rent through October 1, at which time she’ll have to close it down. 

Altobello’s attorney, Matt Wood, says her lease is valid through May 31, 2031. Village officials, on the other hand, say she signs her lease payment checks with “month to month” on the memo line. And they have questioned the validity of a lease extension option that Altobello exercised with the building’s owner.

Wood wants to either negotiate a better buyout offer with the village or get relocation assistance for Altobello so she can reopen the restaurant somewhere else. She’s paying $4,000 a month for rent at the current location, the Daily Herald reported earlier this year.

I love the community,” Altobello told the Daily Herald. “I love Elk Grove. Everything has to change, I get it. But I feel so disrespected. I want to go away holding my head up high. I don’t want it to end like this.”

Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said the village has treated Altobello fairly and that the buyout offer is “incredibly generous.” He added, “We got as high as we really could do—[we] actually probably exceeded what I should have [offered] by almost $20,000 to try to be that nice to her.”

How popular is Munchies Pizza with the locals of Elk Grove Village? Even the Elk Grove High School (EGHS) student newspaper, The Guardian, has covered the story. “My grandma and grandpa started going when it opened, so my dad went throughout his whole childhood and through high school…and now I’ve been going there my whole childhood,” Antonette Fiorito, an EGHS junior, told the school paper. Nathan Dean, a sophomore, said shutting down Munchies Pizza is “a terrible idea.”

“I mean, I love that place,” he said. “I’ve been going there ever since I can remember. It’s awesome.”

Altobello Jaglowicz, the pizzeria owner’s daughter, told the Daily Herald she loves the restaurant, too. “I just want my mother and family, who have literally busted their [butts] for 40 years, to get what they have coming [that’s] fair.”

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