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The DiCenso Family – Rino’s Place in East Boston

In East Boston, masked by tripledeckers and tucked away on residential streets, you will find two primetime restaurants run by the DiCenso family.

“It takes a strong-hearted family to run any type of business” says Anna DiCenso, Chef Tony’s wife and business partner. They are the second generation to run Rino’s Place and have turned this local institution into an international sensation.

Photos (L to R) by Matthew West, Michael U., and Patrick Whiteside


Photos (L to R) by Matthew West, Michael U., and Patrick Whiteside

Cheryl, a 17-year veteran server at Rino’s, says that guests from all over the world have been coming in after seeing Rino’s Place and Chef Tony on “Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives.” “They have books, they plan their vacation around coming here!”

Long before the media attention, lines down the block and opening of a second restaurant, Rino’s Place served as a community restaurant offering fresh, handmade pastas and traditional favorites like chicken Parmigiana. This is where the love and dedication to the best products and best atmosphere possible came from.

Rino and Anna DiCenso opened Rino’s place in the early 1980s. They ran the restaurant together as husband and wife, treating their staff like family and every guest like their best friend. The environment is electric and you immediately feel like you’re at home sharing a meal with people you love.

Their success is based on this couple and their principles. Staying true to the brand, consistently serving the best food made with the best ingredients and always putting their customers and neighborhood first. That is the Rino’s Place philosophy and what keeps them invested in their community and patrons banging down their door for more.

Anna is rightfully proud of her husband and the hard work they put in every day because, “there is no room for mistakes, misleading or false advertisement.” You get the real deal, every time.

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At the heart of their food is a family, and a family that has grown. The next generation of DiCensos are just as passionate about the restaurants as their grandparents were. Sadie (13) and Nico (10) love to go to the restaurant and see their dad in his natural habitat. Nico especially is excited to join his dad in the kitchen and be the third generation bringing customers in night after night using tried-and-true family recipes.

Their brand expanded recently with the launch of Prima e Dopo, affectionately referred to as the best place to be before and after you eat. Just as cozy as Rino’s, Prima offers appetizers, flatbread pizzas, desserts and most importantly a place to wait the three hours for your table. Prima is one of my favorite places in East Boston and is quickly becoming the go-to young professional hotspot.

The restaurants aren’t slowing down and neither is this family. A pillar of the Italian-American community in Boston, they know how to run an unstoppable business and give back while doing because they know what is truly important. “At the end of the day, as long as we have each other, and our two children that’s the true meaning of family!”

Visit Rino’s Place online and make a reservation today!

About Brittany McDonough

One comment

  1. I want to be kind here — especially since I have lived in East Boston all my life; but I cannot fathom why Rino’s gets such high accolades. Due to glowing reviews such as this I thougth something was wrong with me or perhaps I went on an off night promptimg me to try Rino’s Place on several occasions with the same bewildering outcome. It’s doggie-bag heaven (starting with appetizers) where quantity trumps quality. Their complicated recipes deviate from true Italian simplicity of Italian cooking. A melanzane with pesto was a horrible spectacle with a huge mush of green plopped on top of soggy eggplant. Aiutami! There is little finesse in both preparation and presentation — even making allowances for Italian-American cuisine (this hyphen takes you far from Italy). The restaurant is loud, the wait staff can be disengaged or not very hospitable and waiting outside in the wet or cold weather is so NOT worth it. Reservations are only taken for big parties. I am happy for the DiCenso family’s commercial success; but “international sensation” they are not. If this newsletter piece were a paid advertisement, I wouldn’t have bothered making comment here. However, there will be many discriminating Bostoniano readers who will be very disappointed after taking in your lofty review. I for one will take all such future reviews in your publication with a dose of skepticism. Risky stuff for a new publication that is trying to take promote all things Italian.