Roberto Paciullo might serve 240 covers on a given Saturday night -- no reservations allowed, but customers are happy to wait long time.
Sitting down at one of the restaurant's farmhouse tables for a staff meal of dry mozzarella grilled with bacon, roasted pepper and olives, fresh tubasini with lobster, and his mother's recipe for wheat cake one weekday afternoon, he describes his childhood in Salerno (just south of Naples, on the Gulf): "See, my father, who was a chef, used to come home every day at one o'clock and cook, because we had eleven kids. And then, after he finished eating he used to put the spoon and the knife and fork on the table like this and he'd say 'Everything was good today; what we gonna eat tomorrow?
A relative newcomer, Roberto has had the restaurant off Arthur Avenue for about ten years, and has no plans to leave the neighborhood, which he likens to a small town in Italy. In the late 1960’s, when he was 17, his mother's brother brought him to the United States to live. Roberto explains how his immigration occurred in an offhand manner: "I was the black sheep of my family, right in the middle of five younger and five older siblings. My mother, she was born here in the USA and that's why I could come right over. My uncle, he used to come to eat at my house. And you know, when you have a tight with ten puppies there’s always one puppy on top of everybody else. You say, 'Oh, we'll take that one', that's what happened to me."