Where Isola began: Our history

In 1957, an Italian immigrant named John Nitti made his dream a reality by opening an Italian grocery store. It was a modest little storefront in the heart of Chicago. But from small things, great things come. As he shared a taste of Italy with his family, friends and neighbors, word spread quickly about his wonderful store and his customers clamored for more. His products enabled the whole neighborhood - and beyond - to experience uniquely authentic Italian cuisine. Gourmet products lovingly made by Italian hands. Products that had a history and a culture. This procurement of the best that Italy had to offer - this is what John Nitti’s mission became.

So John and his wife moved back to Italy, traversing its diverse regions - from Sicily to Venice and from Rome to Napoli. Fast forward thirty years and the Nitti's hard work was finally rewarded with a new import and distribution business that would bring the richness of Italy's regions to the Chicagoland area. But a new company deserved a new name and, in 1992, Isola Imports was born.

Why Isola Imports? Isola means “island" and each region of Italy has its own identity with distinctive flavors and products. Inspired by Italy's rich diversity, the Nitti's embarked on a journey of discovery to seek out artisan specialty items that would distinguish Isola - products that would become Isola's trademark.

Today, the family tradition continues with John’s three children - Jay, Lisa, and Michael - who work hard to continue the Nitti tradition of procuring only the freshest, most authentic Italian foods and bringing them to dinner tables across Chicago and beyond.

Isola Imports’ Mission

Isola Imports' goal is to bring the best tasting Italian gourmet foods to its consumers. Isola wants you to feel as good about their products as they do.

And that’s the Isola difference.

Isola seeks out the finest bakers, bread makers, pasta makers, and balsamic producers - the artisans who produce small quantities of goodness not because they have to but because they want to. What these artisans provide is fresh, original, natural, and delicious. And Isola will go to the farthest corners of Italy - Puglia and beyond - to gather treasures from decadent truffles to the most delicate of lemon ricottas or to create "My Brother’s Olive Oil" from their own family olive grove.

We do all this so families everywhere can enjoy the authentic Italian taste that is Isola Imports.