Just ask for Mario...

November 12, 2009 10:53:41 AM PST
Mario's Italian Lemonade uses a family recipe that combines sugar, fresh fruit, water -- and Marios. Lots of them.The tiny stand on Taylor Street is nothing new. It's been here since 1954 operated by the DiPaolo family. And on every hot summer day it's the sweet, fresh fruit, icy center of Chicago's Little Italy.

"It's great. It's just like when I was kid," said one customer.

"Delicious. I've been coming here for over thirty years," said another.

Mario DiPaolo owns the place now. He started working there when he was in kindergarten. Then, there was only one flavor- lemonade.

"Lemonade was two cents and it took about three hours to turn a batch of lemonade. With a hand crank and rock salt and ice," said Mario DiPaolo, owner of Mario's Italian Lemonade.

Mario's mom and dad started the business 55 years ago and their sweet concoctions were summertime magic to Chicagoans. They've added new flavors-- 18 in all. But it's still all fresh fruit and handmade ... just like his dad's

"They're not secret recipes. They're just sugar, lemons and water," said DiPaolo. "Yes, yes. And a lot of hard work and a lot of love."

DiPaolo is named after his father, Mario DiPaolo. His son? Mario. Three times over.

There's Mario Julio, Mario Divina and Mario Marco Angelo. How do they tell each other apart?

"We look different," said Mario Julio.

This way, DiPaolo explains, the name of the stand will never have to change.


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