Meet the Family
A family tradition of making you feel at home.
Nildo “Mona” Arthur Bernardi founded Mona’s Italian Restaurant as a bustling beer parlor in Toluca, Illinois in 1933. Many Italians had immigrated to Toluca to work the coal mines that were prevalent during this time in Central Illinois.
The name Mona was derived from the orchestra called Mona’s Harmony Kings. Mr. Bernardi formed this orchestra in the late 20’s and early 30’s. When Mona’s Restaurant opened, the Pabst Brewing Company donated a neon sign with the name Mona below it, and the rest is history.
One of Mona’s three sons, Jerry, joined his business in 1948 and managed it from the mid-70’s until the mid-90’s. Mona’s northern Italian heritage introduced their famous tortellini and spaghetti in 1933 and it continues to be their trademark pasta. Mona’s has grown from the tiny beer parlor to seat over 260 people and is still managed by family members.
Mona Bernardi then purchased Capponi’s restaurant in 1965 from long-time friend and competitor, Leno Capponi. His son Michael took over Capponi’s in 1966 and it has grown to seat over 220 people. Although the same family heritage continues through both restaurants, each features their own distinctive Italian specialties.
For over 80 years people from all over the state would converge in this small town for great food, resulting in Bernardi’s Restaurants famous reputation!
Mike Bernardi’s son and daughter have joined the family business, Tony in 1988 and Stephanie in 1996, bringing it to the third generation. After working the family business, they had thought it was time to expand out their great service and quality foods. Bernardi’s opened in Washington, IL in 2001, Bernardi’s II in Pontiac, IL in 2005, and the latest location is Bernardi’s North, opened in 2008 at Lake of the Woods Plaza in Dunlap, IL. We are sure your dining experience at any of our locations will bring you back.