A businessman and former Chicago Cubs player has opened a pizza restaurant he remembers seeing everywhere in his home state of Michigan.
Jet’s Pizza, 936 E. Roosevelt Rd. in Wheaton opened in October as one of only a few stores in Illinois, said owner and Naperville resident, Mike Avallone.
“I’ve been in the corporate world for 30-plus years and always wanted to open up my own business,” he said. Jet’s originated in Michigan, where there are 190 stores of 270 nationwide, he said.
Before the corporate world, Avallone played for the Chicago Cubs as a pitcher in the minors program in 1977, ’78 and ’79. In recent years he has used his expertise in the sport to coach local baseball teams and support teams in fundraising efforts, he said.
Avallone decided on Jet's partly because of the fresh ingredients and competitive prices. The pizza dough and sauce are made fresh and in-house daily, he said. He added he is looking to employ local students and work with the community to familiarize people with the Jet's Pizza brand.
He said he understands the competition among pizza restaurants is strong with so many options and loyalties to other businesses.
“Basically, we’re asking for people that have notoriously purchased other products (to come to Jet’s)—there’s a lot of competition,” he said.
Jet's Pizza is the 17th largest pizza chain in the nation, according to the company website. The chain originated in Sterling Heights, MI in 1978.
To get the Jet’s name in people’s minds and involved in the community Avallone has worked with local schools, PTA groups and sports groups. He said he has donated money to schools, teams and groups and will donate a percentage of his proceeds to District 200 schools this week.
In addition to pizza, Jet’s carries salads, calzones and subs.
“(We’re) trying to get the message out (of), ‘Here we are, we want you to give us a chance,’” he said.
Jet’s Pizza is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.