I remember playing hoops on the Saint Mary's Hilltoppers with Phil Colicchio, Mike's brother as well as eating In all these wonderful locations. My brother Richie used to work at Santillo's Pizzeria whose "sheets" of Sicilian are still one of a kind.
And even though It's now gone don't forget Cianfano's and their huge raviolis across the street from the Vallatese Club and nostro buon amico Mario Paternoster's house.
The farmers market,Centanni's Meats and Manolo's Cuban Spanish Restaurant (Vesuvio) were all featured In the early Sopranos shows If I remember well.
Of Spiritos I recall an Interesting talk I had with Capt.Tony Tarracino a legendary Key West fishing boat skipper and Elizabeth native who told me he was born above Spiritos restaurant back In the day, but who'd been run out of town by some local mobsters over gambling debt and was by then (early 90's) greeting folks at the door of his Captain Tony's Saloon In Key west Florida,(Hemingway's true watering hole there not the present Sloppy Joes).
Captain Tony told me he knew Hemingway very well, often hosting him both at his saloon & on his charter boats. He'd also been a Cuban & Caribbean bootlegger, gambler and gun runner .
Tarracino capped off his colorful life with a stint as Mayor of our southernmost Isle before passing away In 2008, a beloved figure In the Conch Republic but son of Elizabeth Italians.
Mike Colicchio's brother Tom Is one of America's top chefs formerly of Gramercy Tavern & now running Craft In NYC.
"Come with us on a nostalgic food tour through Elizabeth New Jersey. Hosted by Mike Colicchio, visit some of Elizabeth's most special food spots and get an insiders look into this great American town"