Sorrento’s Norwood has been an icon in the Cincinnati community since it was founded by Enrico and Santina DeLuca in 1956. Papa Enrico emigrated from Italy and opened the little pizza restaurant adjacent to their home on Montgomery Rd, where the restaurant remains today. After working with fixtures in the restaurant business, Enrico felt comfortable enough to go into business for himself and serve up his family recipes. His goal was to deliver the best of Italy to all his guests. Though he spoke little English, Santina's food did all the talking!
The DeLuca's oldest son Willie grew up in the restaurant and soon became the "face" of the business in the 70's and into the 80's, from behind the bar where he held court in legendary fashion. Willie became the driving force behind the restaurant as it grew in popularity and expanded several times. His jovial spirit and love for the community, softball and the restaurant business made Sorrento’s a destination for all. It was common to see members of the Reds and Bengals enjoying their evenings with Willie, telling stories and sharing laughs...sometimes into the wee hours of the night. Most 'memorable' of guests were the vaunted Oakland Raiders of the 70's led by "the Snake" Ken Stabler, who made a point to bring their wild crew in the night before taking on the Bengals. If the walls could only talk.
Regardless of who you were or where you came from, every guest was treated like family and always well fed and entertained. Willie's legendary nose-balancing act was one for the ages. He had a rule; if he could pick the object up, he could balance it! From a burning bar napkin, to a 30-pound samurai sword, it would somehow stand firmly in place while planted on Willie's nose.
One of those highly-entertained guests was Bronson Trebbi, who grew up experiencing the great food and hospitality for many years, starting as a young boy coming in with his parents. George and Linda Trebbi themselves had fond memories of their date nights at Sorrento's in the 60's and passed along the tradition to their family. Whether it was a Xavier game at The Gardens, or a family pizza night after a youth basketball game...the road stopped at Sorrento’s.
Willie passed away at far too young of an age 57 in 2006, and suddenly the life of the party had left Sorrento's. His legendary "nose balancing" act would be gone forever. But as time must go on, so too do the time-tested traditions.
Bronson was able to purchase the restaurant from the remaining family members in 2017, with full intent on restoring the classic roots of its Italian flare. A full remodeling was underway and the business made ready to welcome guests back to Sorrento's in early 2019. The focus is on returning Sorrento's to an icon rooted in tradition, while introducing exciting old-world decor, and family recipes passed over generations.
Sorrento’s boasts all the "staples" that made it famous. You will find all that you loved here in its original recipes. Pizza, pasta, freshly-made salads and sandwiches are just the beginning. There is even more to love with the unveiling of classic Italian dishes, appetizers and new salads that round out this "Italian Joint" . The wine and beer options have been expanded, and some catchy cocktails added in for good measure.
The new outdoor bar and patio provide a relaxing and festive atmosphere, featuring a Bocce Ball court and a cozy fire pit.
Sorrento’s Italian Joint is a labor of love for all to experience. Our family promises you the best in food, service and atmosphere. Whether it's a carryout, lunch...or a relaxing evening to hang out with us...we will deliver a unique Italian experience for you, your family, and your friends. Saluti!! Papa Enrico would be proud.