In 1936, a 16 year old boy named Angelo Paliani came to America from Patrica, Italy, with huge dreams. Angelo married Mary and served in the U.S. army during World War II. Upon returning home, Angelo decided to open a barber shop on Industrial Ave, on Flint's north side. After 20 years in the barber shop business, Angelo wanted to try his hand at something else. So in 1965 he asked his oldest son, Don, if he would help him open an italian restaurant. While Don was still in high school he went to work with his father building their on restaurant on Lapeer Rd in Bunton. Paliani's restaurant still stands there today.
Don was looking to open a restaurant in Holly and went to Sorrento's restaurant then located on Flushing Rd near Ballenger to purchase equipment that was for sale. Instead of just buying the equipment, he bought the whole restaurant! When Don opened the doors that first day, he was the only cook and had just 2 employees. He was open from 4pm-4am 7 days a week! With twin sisters as waitresses, it looked like the same girl worked all day. That first day Sorrento's made $50.00, a success as far as Don was concerned. At that time with little money for advertising, Don relied on word of mouth and the surrounding neighborhoods for his clientele.
Don remodeled and in addition to people coming in for lunch, Sorrento's started getting people coming in on Friday nights after the local football games and business began to flourish.
Don and his daughter Tanya stopped in Paliani's Imported Foods on Pierson Rd in Flushing for lunch, that his cousin Angelo owned. Angelo asked Don if he wanted to buy the business. After 17 years on Flushing Rd and busting at the seams, this was the perfect opportunity to expand. So instead of just buying lunch that day, Don ended up buying the whole business.
After 26 years:
In the same location Sorrento's Food and Spirits is still growing. In 2006, Don took another chance and remodeled with great success. 43 years later and with 41 loyal employees, Sorrento's Food and Spirits proves it is here to stay!