Antonio Folliero (left) in an undated photo | Courtesy Folliero family

By JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ

Highland Park  — Pricey new bistros have opened. Young crowds flock to new bars and coffee houses. But amid all these newcomers on Figueroa Street stands Folliero’s Italian Food and Pizza, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

While the owners are contemplating some changes, Folliero’s long-standing presence in the neighborhood has set it apart. The pizzeria’s longevity even earned it a proclamation from Councilmember Gil Cedillo earlier this year

Folliero’s long-history and strong community ties make it “a true landmark in Highland Park,” said Teresa Folliero, the manager and daughter of pizzeria founders Antonio and Marta Folliero. “Through all of the years, many special friendships have been built at Folliero’s.

Her parents emigrated from Italy to Canada and then made their home in California, opening their restaurant in 1968. They weren’t unfamiliar with the food business; both of their fathers were artisan bakers.

“One of my fondest memories was asking my dad to twirl the pizza dough up in the air, and he would do it perfectly,” Folliero added.

Photo by Jacqueline Fernandez

Pizza remains Folliero’s  signature dish, followed by the lasagna. “The house sauce is an old family recipe, as is the pizza,” said Teresa. She said the family-operated restaurant strives to keep its offerings consistent and the prices fair, which could be the secret to its longevity.

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Now, five decades after her parents opened the business, Folliero is planning changes.

She wants to get a bigger location. But don’t fret, Folliero’s Italian Food and Pizza has no intention of leaving Highland Park, she said.

Folliero’s Italian Food and Pizza is at 5566 Figueroa St. at Avenue 56

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