Gerald A. Ranalli
A Chicago original, Gerald Alan Ranalli, restaurateur and founder of Ranalli's on Lincoln and numerous other establishments, died at the age of 83 after a long battle with cancer on April 15, 2021. Forty years before breweries gained popularity, Ranalli offered over 100 beers from around the globe. Libations aside, Ranalli's was known for pizza and the "Panzerotti" a deep fried calzone-inspired specialty which translates to "belly buster" in Italian. Roger Ebert was so enamored of the dish he wrote a glowing review in his column. Today many Chicago eateries feature outdoor patios, but Jerry was granted the first outdoor permit for alfresco dining in the city. Summer months at Ranalli's on Lincoln saw a lively café scene of families, softball teams, and revelers enjoying a favorite neighborhood spot. Jerry Ranalli's consummate front-of-the -house personality and innovative spirit didn't stop there. Many people credit him for being the originator of the sports bar concept. A few years after Ranalli's success, he opened The Ultimate Sports Bar and Grill. People waited in line outside for a chance to dance in the boxing ring, shoot hoops, watch a favorite local team on tv, and of course enjoy some great food and drink. Jerry also delighted in giving back to the community by hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the elderly and people down on their luck. Donning Dickensian garb to these holiday feasts, he shared joy and laughter with his guests. He was a gifted cook and storyteller, and those attributes created many memorable meals for friends, family, and patrons of his restaurants. He is lovingly remembered and survived by his children Gerald Alan Rannali, Jr (Joan Knox), Suzanne Evans (Jonathan), grandchildren Henry, Grace and Nina, and nephews Mark and Matthew Ranalli. A memorial is being planned for June. Arrangements by Cremation Society of Illinois, 773-281-5058 or

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Published by Chicago Tribune on Apr. 18, 2021.
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10 Entries
Four Corners and Ranalli's
April 27, 2021
My deepest sympathies. to all the Family. Jerry was a wonderful man and a great friend of mine. He wil be missed by so many people.
Alejo Poveda
April 22, 2021
Jerry made everyone around him better ,first Class player.
April 22, 2021
Wow! Was not lucky enough to meet this GREAT man but from what I just read he was an amazing person and now I know where his son Jerry gets all his great qualities from What a legacy he leaves behind Story´s that will never be forgotten I am sure Jerry you must share some Keep you and your family in my prayers Jojo
Joanne Koutsis
April 20, 2021
Jerry, A dear friend whose charm and personality brought a smile and laugh every time we were together, and so many memories could fill a book. Jerry you really were a "One of a Kind" original and proud Italian entrepreneur Rest in Peace. Love, Frank (Chico) & Ruth Roti
Frank & Ruth Roti
April 20, 2021
My condolences to you on your father´s passing and the grief that a family goes through in helping a cancer patient. Just wanted to thank you - as a former customer, for developing and sustaining Ranalli´s on Lincoln. I was originally introduced to Ranalli´s as a kid visiting Lincoln Park Zoo in the 70´s. It was always my "go-to" restaurant to meet friends when I was a young "Lincoln Parker" in the 80s & 90´s. Thank You Ranalli Family for running such a great Chicago Dining institution. Thank You for posting your Fathers´s obituary. Heartfelt Regards.
Cathy Knight
April 19, 2021
Dear Jerry, May you rest in eternal peace. You were one of my dearest friends since 1966 when your first bar, "Next Door" was next to my first office at 1 East Huron. We shared many good times together. I will miss you my good friend, and will also miss the musical memories we had. Thanks for being my friend for all the years. Dick Reynolds
Dick Reynolds
April 18, 2021
Dear Ranalli family, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
The Brothers of Alpha Kappa Psi (Zeta Theta)
April 18, 2021
Sending our sympathies to Jerry's family.
Gene and Barb Comparin
April 18, 2021
Jerry will be forever in our hearts as a great person of the neighborhood and a funny man with so many great stories Rest In Peace
Janet Tatje
April 17, 2021