LINCOLN–(KFOR Feb. 11)–A longtime business leader that helped in the expansion of one of Lincoln’s most iconic restaurants into a statewide and regional chain has passed away.

Anthony “Tony” Messineo died Feb. 1 at the age of 83. He and his brother, Ron, bought the first Valentino’s restaurant at 35th and Holdrege in 1971, just 14 years after the pizza restaurant opened its only location in Lincoln at the time.

From there, Valentino’s would grow into dozens of locations in Lincoln, across Nebraska and reaching into South Dakota. Messineo was inducted into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame in 2023.

Valentino’s also expanded into selling slices of pizza at most Nebraska athletic contests and some local high school athletics, under Messineo’s leadership.