Renato (Ronnie) Sorge and his brother, Remo, came to the United States from Italy in 1936. After 15 years experience with local restaurants, Renato purchased property on 68 West Market Street, and on June 5th, 1951 Sorge’s Restaurant was born. With authentic, well-prepared meals by Renato and his wife, Loretta, Sorge’s became the area’s finest Italian restaurant.
When Sorge’s first welcomed customers it consisted of 11 booths. The restaurant expanded in 1962 when the adjacent building was purchased. In 1968, the upstairs of both buildings was converted into a dining room and banquet facility. In 1973, Renato’s two sons, Joseph and Michael, joined their father in the family business upon finishing their degrees in Restaurant Management.
On December 27, 2008, Sorge’s Restaurant sustained a devastating fire that totally destroyed the building. The landmark restaurant, in business for 57 years, was torn down, leaving only the historic front facade standing. During the months that followed, a rebuild effort was undertaken with much thought given to preserving the proud traditions and history that made the restaurant famous. Actual reconstruction of the restaurant began in October, 2009.
A major focus of the reconstruction has been to preserve and carry forward important pieces of our history, and blend them into a complete rebuild of the restaurant. These pieces of history can be seen in the tile floor in the booth area that was replicated from the “old booth area,” as well as the reproduction of the Valerio paintings that depicted Renato’s home town of Strangolagalli, Italy. The two family paintings on the west dining room wall were captured once again by a local artist, Tom Gardner, who studied under Al Valerio. A few changes were made to some faces, but still depict life in Strangolagalli. Also, the back bar wall is framed with bricks taken from the interior of the building that was saved during the demolition. Finally, recent photographs of Strangolagalli have been placed in various locations in the restaurant and also in the menu.
Once again, Sorge’s Restaurant is back to full strength, carrying on the Sorge tradition of providing the finest Italian/American cuisine, quickly and efficiently, and reasonably priced.