The restaurant was successful from the very beginning, with eager diners sometimes waiting hours for an opportunity to dine family-style. The portions of Italian–American cuisine were large, reminiscent of a Sunday night visit to their grandmother’s house, or as they say in Italy, nonna’s casa! The recipes were simple, authentic classics, many of them coaxed out of Italian grandmothers, mothers, and aunts whose ideas of a recipe were a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that. With some trial and error, the chefs celebrated the birth of many of Maggiano’s signature dishes.
With a successful opening at the Clark and Grand location, a second restaurant was opened in Oak Brook, Illinois and two years later in Skokie, Illinois. The decision to open a restaurant outside of Illinois was made, and in 1994 Maggiano’s Little Italy opened in McLean, Virginia at Tyson’s Corner Galleria II. As Tyson’s Corner took off, it became obvious that Maggiano’s had great potential to succeed nationally. With that in mind, Brinker International purchased Maggiano’s Little Italy from Rich Melman of Lettuce Entertain you in 1995. Since then, Brinker has grown Maggiano’s from four locations in Illinois to numerous locations across the country.