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The Faces of Fort Lauderdale


Talerico Family, Piazza Italia

Frank Talerico, along with his sisters Rita and Sara, were born in Calabria, Italy. Together with James Tomecsek they own and operate the new Piazza Italia on Las Olas and Casa Calabria located in the Ocean Manor Resort in Fort Lauderdale.

Looking to provide his family with a better life, father Papolo moved to the U.S. in 1973. While living in Michigan, Talerico opened his first restaurant at age 20. Three years later, he sold it and moved to Fort Lauderdale where he opened a number of pizzerias. Always thinking ahead, he decided to get into real estate, eventually becoming a developer. In 2004 he purchased Ocean Manor Hotel, renovating it from a one to a three-and-a-half-star hotel. Armed with authentic recipes from his home town, he flew his two aunts in from Italy to oversee the kitchen and ensure their dishes were prepared perfectly. From the success of Casa Calabria, they opened Piazza Italia on Las Olas.

Surrounded by stone walls, arches and a fountain crowning the dining room, you feel like you’re in Italy as you walk in. Then, the authentic Italian dishes bring you to his native Calabria.

Perhaps it was something about the Venice of the Americas that landed Talerico in Fort Lauderdale. Whatever it was, he brought a true slice of Italy with him.