Franklin J. Spina spent his long career in the grocery business, mostly at Sorrento Cheese Co., where he worked for some 35 years. But he was best known for his dynamic, gregarious personality and dedication to organizations that helped children, especially the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Women and Children's Hospital. Mr. Spina, of Hamburg,...

If you’re in the mood for top notch Italian food, the new Vaticano Restaurant in Fort Erie will most definitely scratch that itch. But be warned: this Italian restaurant is extremely Italian, like, to an almost comical degree. While having dinner with my wife there recently, we heard Dean Martin’s ode to pizza pies, That’s Amore, not once, not twic...

In a few weeks, the Galbani Italian Heritage Festival will return to Buffalo's Outer Harbor. This will be the second year the festival will be in its new location after several decades on Hertel Avenue. Organizers took some lessons from last year and are implementing changes to the festival. Parking was one area of concern for some visitors to the...

In search of Italian-American cuisine worth celebrating, I have encountered miles of pallid pasta and oceans of weak tomato sauce. There have been bright spots, certainly, places with plenty of dishes to recommend. But of the 20-something red sauce purveyors whose Southern Italian dishes I've had the privilege to evaluate, none ran the table. Then...

The first time Ciro Rocco came to the U.S., he was a prisoner of war. A truck driver in the Italian Army in North Africa during World War II, he was captured by the British during the Siege of Tobruk, Libya, in 1941. He was among the Italian soldiers who were turned over to American forces and brought to the U.S. for the duration of the war. “He sa...

The Italian-American Police Association will sponsor two scholarships for prospective college students. The Erie County Deputy Sheriff Robert S. Insalaco Financial Scholarship Award and the Buffalo Police Patrolman David J. Scime Financial Scholarship Award are given in memory of two deceased members of the association who were killed in the line o...

Sinatra's, the classic Italian-American restaurant on Kenmore Avenue, will move to its new building across the street following a charity auction on March 19. The new Sinatra's at 945 Kenmore Ave., Tonawanda, can hold twice as many people for dinner, said manager David Ortolano. New features will include gluten-free pasta, a broader selection of It...

This year's St. Joseph's Day Anthony M. Castiglia achievement award is going to three brothers. Paul, Michael and Anthony Billoni will receive the recognition from the Italian American Leadership Council at 6 p.m. Monday at Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant, 3785 South Park Ave., Blasdell. All have been involved in many local causes for years. Paul Billoni...

The people behind Rachel's Mediterranean, relocated to 235 S. Elmwood Ave., are opening a quick-serve Italian spot in the former Rachel's spot at Chippewa and Delaware. The space, at 235 Delaware Ave., will be called Bruno Italian Grill. The restaurant's setup echoes Rachel's, with an Italian accent. Customers choose pasta, wrap or salad, then cust...

It didn’t take long for the Rachel’s Mediterranean location to fill up at the corner of Delaware and Chippewa. Bruno Italian Grill was apparently waiting in the wings, to swoop in and grab the vacant storefront. The Italian eatery will join numerous other restaurants on “The Chip Strip”, as the district continues to transition from night life party...