What is L.A. Italian Kitchen? It is a unique eating establishment in which to experience a delicious lunch or dinner in a quick service environment distinguished by creative recipes and large portions.


L.A. Italian Kitchen founder, Joseph De Santis began his career in the restaurant-food service industry at the ripe age of nine years old. While growing up, Joe’s father would take him to work at one of the family’s pizza places, Pizza Pete’s, on the weekends. As a young man, Joe embraced the challenge and opportunity to work and learn about the restaurant business. By age sixteen, Joe was the manager of one of the larger sales volume Pizza Pete’s restaurants located in Santa Ana, California.

Joe’s grandparents, Joseph and Margaret De Santis, Italian immigrants, left New Jersey in the early 1950’s moving west to Los Angeles, California. There they started an Italian grocery market. As the family grew and more income was needed, they opened their pizza stand in Glendale. Pizza Pete’s opened in 1956, setting the course of direction for Joe and the De Santis family for many years to come.

Like his grandparents, Joe looks to the future for growth with a fresh concept, and to serve high quality, quick service Italian food. He branched out and opened the first “L.A. Italian Kitchen” restaurant in 1991 at the Galleria at Tyler in Riverside, California. Joe, being a Los Angeles native created the name L.A. Italian Kitchen as a reflection of his Italian heritage and an easy name to remember.

The initial growth of the company was slow and difficult due to the overwhelming influence of established competitors in the marketplace. To overcome these challenges, Joe drew from his background of perseverance, quality operations, as well as the support of family, friends and business associates, and most importantly, the hard work and dedication of loyal team members. Since 1998, L.A. Italian Kitchen continues to successfully manage unit growth of over 100% annually. Locations are currently found in Southern California and Nevada’s premier shopping malls and casinos.


L.A. Italian Kitchen philosophy on maintaining successful restaurants includes keeping each unit operating at 100% of its potential at all times. Each team member must do everything possible to drive sales and give greater value to customers. This includes working together to continually improve product quality, service and operations. The food must be fresh and delicious with great product. Service must be fast, friendly and courteous. The store must be attractive, clean, organized and be in good repair. Team members are trained to realize that individual actions, no matter how slight or small they think might be, will have a tremendous impact on the overall success of the organization. Above all, L.A. Italian Kitchen makes sure each and every team member works toward these ideals and goals and share in the success of the company.