The year was 1976 when Randy and Nancy Bianchi decided to move from Rochester, New York to Tucson, Arizona to escape from the cold and find dry weather for Randy’s severe Asthma. They packed all their belongings and four children into their mustard colored Buick Sylark and made the four day trek from the East Coast.
With only limited success in their first business venture and with Nancy waitressing to make ends meet, the Bianchi’s decided they needed something different. Their first idea was to sell T-shirts at fairs throughout the west, but that idea was soon put to rest (thank goodness), because traveling with four young children would be too difficult. Randy and Nancy then decided on purchasing and existing pizza place located on Oracle road where the Tucson Mall now stands. Owning a restaurant had always intrigued Randy and in 1977, Bianchi’s Pizza was born. With no formal restaurant training, Randy and Nancy built the business up through hard work, dedication, long hours, and most importantly “Old World Flavor” recipes that had been past down through the generations. With a sign that still hangs today that reads “Good Pizza Takes Time To Make, Be Patient And You Will Get The Best”, and the whole family pitching in, Bianchi’s slowly gained a reputation as a place to get generous portions of delicious Italian food at a great price.
After a few years on Oracle road, Randy and Nancy spotted an empty “El Taco” building for sale on the dusty corner of Speedway and Silverbell. In 1980, with the knowledge that the four prior restaurants had failed in that location, Randy and Nancy made the best and most important business decision in their lives. They moved and opened Bianchi’s Pizza at 1110 N. Silverbell Road. The rest is history. And the rumor that Randy actually parked his car for 2 days in the lot and counted the cars that passed – is really true.
A great deal has changed since then and in 1985 with the Westside growing, the city widened Silverbell. To compensate for the growing population, Randy and Nancy rebuilt the building into the beautiful adobe look it now has. And over the last fifteen years their menu has more than doubled.
In 2002 Randy and Nancy turned the business over to their son Vincent. In 2004, Vincent changed the name from Bianchi’s Pizza to Bianchi’s Italian (giving full credit to his wife Denise) to better reflect the expanding menu. What HAS NOT changed is Bianchi’s delicious “Down-Home” Italian food. Down home because the Bianchi’s always thought of their restaurant as their home and everyone was invited. In addition, the family’s philosophy of combining great customer service with delicious Italian food to give their customers a unique dining experience has not changed. With the help of a dedicated staff and a great management team, Bianchi’s plans to keep fulfilling that promise.
When Randy and Nancy opened Bianchi’s in 1977, they had many goals besides just having a successful restaurant. Equally important to them was their involvement in the community. As the westside grew, so did their help and support through youth sports and local elementary schools. The Bianchi’s have been very active in supporting many youth teams from Western Little League, El Rio Baja Softball, Tucson Aztec Soccer Club, and the Tucson Mountain Little League. The Bianchi’s also promoted education by sponsoring students from local schools that do well in their classes. In addition, Bianchi’s now supports numerous teams at Pima Community College like soccer, baseball, wrestling and the National Champion softball team. There is also the many charities and organizations that the Bianchi’s have donated gift certificates or food to. The Bianchi family takes a lot of pride in being actively involved in the community and will continue their support into the future.
Randy Michael Bianchi passed away on July 14, 2010. However, the many memories that he helped create with his “family” of customers and his spirit will live on forever.