Perhaps Johnston resident George Lazzareschi Jr., the popular president of the Italo-American Club of Rhode Island, said it best about the Providence-based group’s annual clambake and cookout.
“It’s nice to know countless dignitaries always attend many of our functions,” Lazzareschi offered. “We recognize them as honorary members.”
Which explains why Gov. Daniel McKee as well as Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos headed the list of visitors — and guests — last Friday night for the Italo-American Club’s annual super special social.
“Governor McKee is a strong supporter of our Italian heritage,” Lazzereschi, who is also known as “Big Dog” for his powerlifting championships and serves as Superintendent of Police and Fire Public Safety in Providence wanted it known. “We appreciate the interest he has shown in our events and club.”
The Italo-American Club of Rhode Island — which once the well-known Berarducci Funeral Home — was founded in 1896 and as Lazzereschi boasted, “We are the oldest organization of its kind in the country.”
That also explains why last Friday night’s event attracted a gathering estimated at 150 people and was held outside in the Italo-American Club’s parking lot at 477 Broadway in Providence.
One reason in particular the fun and fantastic food fest was held outdoors is because there were so many people that it could not have been hosted inside at Maria’s Cucina, the club’s award-winning restaurant, was closed for its annual summer vacation.
So, as Lazzereschi offered: “As we have done for our past club cookouts and clambakes, we brought in Mickey’s Clamshack of Cumberland that served an extremely generous all-you-can-eat menu consisting of red or white chowder, clam cakes, chicken tenders, hamburgers or cheeseburgers and hot dogs.”
“Everyone loved the dessert,” Lazzareschi said with his usual special smile on his face. “Who doesn’t like freshly made strawberry shortcake with whipped cream?”
Likewise, the night was also highlighted by the Italo-American Club’s always awesome hospitality from its outstanding officers, many of whom are Johnston residents such as Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian, Peter Montaquila Jr., Stephen “Sheik” Mallane, Donna Folcarelli and Lazzareschi.
Moreover, many Johnston residents who are also club members enjoyed conversation, camaraderie and cooking like Richard J. DelFino III, former Town Councilman who is Director of Constituent Affairs for Gov. McKee. DelFino said: “The strawberry shortcake was delicious.”
His father Richard J. DelFino Jr., who like his son is a frequent visitor to the club and attends monthly and social gatherings (he also serves as President of the RI City and Town Democratic Chairs Association), emphasized: “What a great night; good food, good friends, Dan and Sabina who relate well with working families and are both well-respected by Italian communities throughout the state.”
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