Restaurant Report Card: Still fighting for the Panino’s family after 46 years

Restaurant Report Card

In this week’s Restaurant Report Card, from one downtown Colorado Springs location, to now three in the city, and several more across the U.S., the Frasca family has been perfecting the famous panino sandwich for 46 years.

Like many restaurants, 2020 took its toll on Panino’s business, but FOX21 quickly learned the Frascas won’t go down without a fight.

“Our grandparents started Paninos in 1974 at our downtown location, which is still there, and then in the early 80s, my dad started this location,” said owner and operator of Panino’s east side and west side locations, AJ Frasca.

Christina Frasca, owner and GM of Panino’s downtown, said, “My parents bought the downtown location before I was born.”

The Panino’s legacy is now three generations in the making.

AJ said, “Then I opened a location on the east side about five years ago on Powers.”

For cousins, AJ and Christina, Panino’s means everything.

“It’s all I’ve known my whole life,” voiced Christina.

“Paninos means so much to us, our family, and our community. I don’t even know how to put into words how much it means, and I speak for all of us. This is our life, and we want to gather together and serve people food and give them high fives and hugs and tell them, ‘come back next week if we don’t see ya we’re going to come find ya,'” said AJ.

But, 2020 turned 46 years of business upside down.

Christina added, “There’s nothing like this year and I’m just constantly reminded of how weird it is.”

Through lockdowns, layoffs, and leaning on the community, they’ve stayed strong.

“Over the course of time, we’ve kind of learned that Panino’s is about family and our family, your family, anybody that’s an employee, or a customer, it becomes part of like the Paninos family,” said AJ.

And to the Frasca’s, family is worth fighting for.

Christina says, “Who knows what 2021 will bring but hopefully it can’t get any worse, so I just think it’s important to wake up every day and be positive and do what you can and never stop fighting.”

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