Home / Author Archives: Michele McPhee

Author Archives: Michele McPhee

Michele McPhee is a best-selling author, emmy-nominated investigative journalist and award-winning columnist. To share stories about local Italian-American family businesses, e-mail McPhee@bostoniano.info. To find out more about Michele, visit www.michelemcphee.com.

Armando Petruzziello: An Italian immigrant Story of Success

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Italian-American Armando Petruzziello founded three successful ventures since immigrating to the US in 1971. He shares his story below. “I came in the USA on Saturday March 13, 1971 at the young age of 24,” explains Armando. “The first thing that made an impression on me was the big 18-wheeler trucks. I loved them so much that I told my wife I wanted to be a truck driver. While working in construction job supporting my family of 5, I went to school to get my truck driving license. Upon obtaining my Class 1 Driving permit, I applied for a job ...

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JoPino Scarcella, A Man of All Trades

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No one can say to JoPino Scarcella, “You could have been a contender.” Because the North End native – whose parents are from Calabria – was a contender. Or as they say in Boston, “a contendahh.” Quite literally. In 2004, Scarcella, who is built squat and strong like a bullet and is just as fast with his fists, was featured in Season One of the NBC reality show “The Contender” under the tutelage of Sylvester Stallone. He had the sultry good looks for the burgeoning reality show world and he had the boxing prowess as a New England Golden Glove ...

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Ristorante Limoncello owner Maurizio Badolato

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When I was a teen into my early 20s I, debatably, made the best espresso in Boston behind the counter at the long-defunct Café Roma in the North End. I learned how to use just enough coffee to create the creamy top; the difference between lungo and corto, and I can still fashion a fantastic tiramisù because of my years on Hanover Street. Café Roma is long gone, now part of the structure that is the fabulous Bricco. But my favorite customers then are among those who have stayed and kept the Italian spirit in the North End alive. One ...

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Cooking Vacations founder Lauren Birmingham Piscitelli

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It came as no surprise to Lauren Birmingham Piscitelli that public relations executives were among the most stressed out people in the country. A mover and shaker in the cutthroat world of Boston PR, she felt it in her shoulders and in the pit of her stomach. That stress led her to seek solace in Sorrento, Italy, in 2001. That stress also helped her start her wildly successful Cooking Vacations business. And that business helped her meet her anima gemella, her soul mate who became her husband. Piscitelli grew up in Massachusetts, her house filled with Italian song and the ...

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A song of the streets of Boston

Nick Argiro Buying his Daily Fruit on Salem Street (North End of Boston), 1982

There is a reason that reality show producers from all over the country make Boston their first choice to mine new talent. Our city has a scruffy vitality, a vibrant underside, rambunctious characters who speak with salty language in an accent that is virtually impossible to master. There is no place like Boston to take in a kaleidoscopic look into real people: the shabby, the chic and everything in between. And Boston Italians are truly certainly among the most colorful. Listening to Italians debate, about who makes the best espresso (Some say Wy, the Chinese American who has worked behind ...

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