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Former chef realizes his dream of ownership

Lino's Ristorante Lino Carvajal owner Lino's with some his many dishes served his restaurant. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

Lino's Ristorante Lino Carvajal, owner of Lino's, with some of his many dishes served at his restaurant. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

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Lino’s Ristorante
& Pizzeria

For dine in, carryout and delivery, visit 265 Peterson Road, Libertyville, (847) 680-0600

And for carryout and delivery only, visit 860 N. Route 83, Mundelein, (847) 393-7256

Visit online at

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Updated: May 16, 2013 1:34PM

Lino Carvajal is planning to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Lino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Libertyville next year, and meanwhile is delighting in a new Italian eatery of the same namesake he recently opened in Mundelein.

For Carvajal, who came to this country from a tiny Mexican town as a teenager, being a business owner is quite the accomplishment.

“I was always thinking, dreaming to have something of my own,” said Carvajal, the principal owner of Lino’s who came here seeking opportunities and a better life. And through hard work, determination and help from family members he was able to realize his dream.

After arriving in the United States, he found work in restaurants bussing tables. Eventually he worked his way up to chef at a popular North Shore Italian eatery where he remained for a dozen years. “I was running it like it was my own business,” he said.

When the time was right to go out on his own, he found an already-established place on Libertyville’s north side where he’s been ever since.

They say the start of any new business venture is the most difficult. “I was happy, but it was hard for the first two years,” said the owner. It wasn’t long after that a regular clientele developed and things became easier.

Diners which are mostly locals, come to the place for lunch and dinner, and seafood including lobster ravioli and Cioppino (seafood stew) are popular entrees at the Libertyville location. Fish and seafood specials are offered on the weekends.

There are lunch specials throughout the week from Tuesday through Saturday starting at 11 a.m. On Sunday and Monday the place opens at 3 p.m.

Pizzas with crust types including thin, double dough, pan and stuffed are big carry-out and delivery items. Lino’s has some of the largest pizzas around with the extra-large measuring 18 inches.

The Mundelein store has carryout only, while both places offer delivery service. The dining room at the Libertyville restaurant can seat up to 75, and offers a relaxed atmosphere with oil lamps on tables, and soft Italian music playing in the background. An adjacent carryout window bustles with orders for pizza and sandwich pickup.

While the owner operates the Mundelein store, his brother Martin does much of the cooking and manages the Libertyville location. The “family operation” includes relatives and others totaling about 15 employees.

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