Issue #13b

Rosario Procino

'O Napulitane

Born (2/7/1972) and raised in Napoli. He holds a Master in Computer Science Engineering. He moved to NY in December 1998 to stay closer to Patricia, his wife and the mother of their two boys. He started a career in NY with Telecom Italia as Sales Engineer. A few years later he decided to drastically change career path, he joined Barilla to run east cost sales for Academia Barilla, a newly born company devoted to promoting authentic Italian cuisine. He worked for Barilla until 2008 when he opened his first restaurant. Currently, he’s the partner in Ribalta, Cucina Napoletana Restaurant.

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What do you do in your life (work and fun)?

I consider myself lucky enough to have fun at work. Running a restaurant is very hard and time consuming, but if you can do it and have fun at the same time it’s like winning the lottery … I have two great passions, pizza and soccer. How can you go wrong when you run one of the most respected pizza restaurants in NYC, which also hosts the fan club of your favorite soccer team? In my free time I try to spend as much time as I can with my family.

What made you leave Italy and chose NYC?

Love. In 1996 I first met my wife in Italy and two years later I decided to reach her in NYC. Falling in love with NYC was only a formality for me. I’m born and raised in Napoli and you have no idea how similar these two cities are…

Please share your best memory in the City.

March 29, 2009, the opening day of my first restaurant in NYC. I was new to the business and completely unknown to critics and the public. I personally worked very hard with the press to get some coverage for the opening. We did get a few articles on our imminent opening, but it was my first time and all very uncertain. I’ll never forget it. I decided to open on a Sunday evening to start with a slower night. It was one hour before opening. I was talking to a friend inside the restaurant and as I turned toward the entrance I realized there was a line at the door. We did 400 covers that first night in a restaurant with 46 seats…it was a dream come true, all the tension of long months disappeared in a minute.

What made you choose this specific location and outfit?
Your thought about this project, ITALIANY.US

It’s a great project and I’m honored to be part of it. Italians genetically speaking are individualist. Different from many other cultures that stick together and help each other, Italians are often one against the other and looking at ways to obstruct, not understanding that by working together for a common goal they could have achieved better results. Seeing someone that decides to put together Italians and put on the spotlight on their achievements in their respective fields is a great feeling. It lets you feel like one big family.

How would you describe being an ambassador of the italian style/culture abroad?

It’s a great feeling. All Italians living abroad are ambassadors of Italy and Italian culture especially when you live in a country that loves Italy so much. In my particular case I believe I went from being an “Italian ambassador” to being a “Neapolitan ambassador” in NYC. If Italy is mostly seen positively by Americans, Napoli has always been mistreated and considered a city to avoid. I took the matter in my own hands and with both my business and in my personal life I run my own battle to put my city in a better light and show Americans what really Napoli is about.

  • Shots

    93

  • Time

    120 mins

  • City

    New York

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A visual celebration of Italians working, living and loving in NY and in the US