Vito Orlando Impastato – aka Vito Impastato, Joe Orlando, and Vito Impasitato – was born on June 26, 1904, in the town of Cinisi, Sicily (Trapani Province.)
As a child, he immigrated to the United States with his father Faro, mother Katrina, and younger brother. The Impastato family headed to the midwestern City of Springfield, Illinois where they set down roots.
He had two brothers, one named Giacomo (Jack), who came to America with Vito and lived in Springfield; his other brother, Pietro, remained in their hometown of Cinisi.
As a young adult, Vito was drawn to a life of criminality and eventually joined the local Italian underworld. In time, Vito would become the top killer and righthand man of Francesco (Frank) Zito, the acknowledged Mafia boss of Springfield.
FBI # 100248, Springfield-PD # 4493
Vito was very slimly built at only 140 pounds and 5-feet 9-inches tall. He had a full head of wavy, jet-black hair that turned “salt and pepper” by his middle-fifties, and dark brown “wolf-like” eyes.
Despite his demure stature and build, appearances can sometimes be very deceiving. No truer words could have ever been said regarding Vito.
During his lifetime as a member of Cosa Nostra, he was a prime suspect in numerous homicides.
On September 11, 1945, he was naturalized at Springfield as a citizen of the United States. By his early thirties, he had gotten married to a local Italian girl named Edith Jannazzo.
The couple soon had two children, a son they named Faro Vito, after his grandfather and father, and a daughter they named Lena Kathryn, after Vito’s mother.
Vito eventually bought a very nice home for his wife and kids at 1940 Wiggins Avenue in Springfield. He and Edith would live there for the rest of their lives.
By the early 1950s, he had also taken a mistress as many mafiosi are known to do. She was a young woman named Margaret Henry who Vito put up in a nearby apartment that he paid for.
Vito Impastato – Restauranteur
For many years, Impastato owned and operated a popular restaurant and nightclub located at 2641 South 6th Street that he named The Supper Club which soon became known as a hangout for racketeers and mafiosi.
The FBI said that his club was a known rendezvous for both local and out-of-state racketeers.
He first started in the restaurant business back in the 1930s when he opened up the Club Holiday, located at MacArthur Boulevard and North Grand Avenue.
He later opened up the Orchid Lounge, and eventually started the aforementioned Supper Club which he ran for several decades.
Over the years, Vito’s brother Jack worked right alongside him in these businesses.
As the years passed, besides developing a fearsome reputation as a dangerous mafioso, Vito also garnered a well-deserved reputation as a top restauranteur who knew his way around the kitchen very well. By all accounts, the Italian food he served in his restaurants was delicious.
His criminal record dated back to 1926 when Vito was only twenty-two years old. Through the Prohibition years, and for years afterward, he racked up arrests on such serious charges as kidnapping, bank robbery, Prohibition Law Violations, and murder.
But despite these arrests, during his lifetime, Impastato was never convicted of a serious crime or served any significant jail time.
Both the Springfield Police Department and the FBI viewed Impastato as a very powerful figure within the hierarchy of the Frank Zito Family.
Authorities say he was eventually elevated to the rank of “capo di decina” within the borgata. It was a lofty position Frank Zito gave him because of all the strong-arm work and killings Vito was suspected of having performed at Zito’s request during the 1930s and 1940s.
By the 1970s, the aging Impastato had retreated a bit from the daily grind of a racketeer and mafioso.
He concentrated more on his legitimate businesses, including his newest venture, a namesake restaurant and bar he opened at the corner of Second and Jefferson Streets in Springfield that he named Impastato’s.
Mafioso Vito Impastato passed away in 1988. He died at the respectable old age of 84 years old.
Until next time…”The Other Guy”