Larry Bongiovanni, founder of Salvatore Scallopini restaurants, dead at 82

May 10, 2019 529

BY: Mark Kurlyandchik

His given name was Lawrence Joseph Bongiovanni, but to the wider community he will always be remembered as Salvatore Scallopini. Bongiovanni, a longtime area restaurateur and founder of the popular local Italian restaurant chain, died Sunday at age 82. The official cause of death was respiratory failure, his son Joe Bongiovanni said, adding that his father had a troubled heart and a number of procedures over the years.

"He was really passionate about our business," Joe said. "He loved being a restaurant guy. Everything he did, all his life, he woke up thinking about it and went from spot to spot thinking about it." The son of Sicilian immigrants, Larry Bongiovanni grew up on Detroit's east side and began his restaurant career as a cook at J.L. Hudson's in downtown Detroit after returning in 1956 from a two-year stint in the U.S. Army.

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