What started out as a takeout pizzeria with only a few picnic tables and a deli case of meats and cheeses soon evolved into a destination Italian restaurant that remains proudly rooted in Normal Heights.
DiMille’s has become known for a lot of things in its 40-year history, starting with exceptional pizza crafted from house-made dough. Their top-selling lasagna is built with luscious layers of whole-milk ricotta and mozzarella, and the baseball-size meatballs are eye-popping mainstays customers often post on Instagram and Facebook.
Generously portioned pasta entrees like fettuccine Alfredo, spaghetti with homemade red sauce and linguine smothered in whole baby clams are other staples that scent the atmosphere with comforting, savory aromas. They confirm you’ve come to the right place for authentic Italian cuisine.
DiMille’s represents a culmination of family teamwork and a level of service that gives diners the impression they’ve stepped into somebody’s house for dinner, which is yet another reason the place has generated so much repeat business over the decades.
It is owned and operated by Mike and Jim DiAnna. The brothers, along with their third sibling, Joe, and their late parents, Maria and Dominic, started the operation in 1978. They named it after Maria’s maiden name, and with the help of a neighborhood carpenter a few years later, they cut into an adjoining storefront and turned it into a full-service restaurant.
“We installed everything by hand—the tiles, the semi-enclosed booths, the lattice work and more,” Mike recalls, adding that his mother “had a great ability in the kitchen.”
Most of DiMille’s recipes originated from Maria and remain unchanged. Many are made from scratch—the sauces, meatballs, sausage and more. In addition, outsourced ingredients such as cheese and certain meats still originate from the same top-quality purveyors the family used many years ago.
And now, customers will find prices beckoning back to that era as well.
In celebration of the restaurant’s 40th birthday, nearly two dozen dishes drop in cost from 3 to 7 p.m., every Monday through Wednesday, but only until Oct. 24.
The rollback menu includes torpedo sandwiches starting at $4.99, spaghetti (meat or vegan sauce) with bread sticks for $5.85, medium pizzas starting at $6.75, and lasagna (meat or vegan sauce) with bread sticks for $7.95.
Specialty pastas such as cheese manicotti and fettuccine Alfredo descend to $8.95, while eggplant or chicken Parmesan ring in at only $10.95 and $11.95.
The anniversary will also be celebrated with a party on the restaurant’s patio and at the bar from 6 to 9 p.m., Oct. 26. The free event is open to the public and will feature hosted appetizers and beverages as well as classic 70s tunes spun by a live DJ.
“Our commitment to customers and the consistency and quality of our food are things we were taught by our parents,” says Mike. “It’s what has kept us in business for 40 years and the reason why we’ll continue moving into the future.”
For those who haven’t visited DiMille’s in a while, Mike points out dishes that are relatively new to the menu such as three-ingredient calzones baked to order, and braised short rib pappardelle pasta.
In addition, DiMille’s is the only place in town where you’ll find Italian nachos. They’re made with an addicting combination of house potato chips, crumbled meatballs, tomatoes, Pecorino Romano cheese and pepperoncini.
Pair them with a pint of craft beer, a lemon drop martini, or DiMille’s signature “sangria Calabrese,” and you’ve discovered a contemporary introduction to classic Italian meals steeped in timeless, heartfelt tradition. Just don’t forget to cap off your visit with an assembled-to-order cannoli.
DiMille’s is located at 3492 Adams Ave., San Diego, CA 92116. For more information, call 619-283-3153 or visit, www.dimilles.com.