NEWS FROM : GREAT LAKES  

Rocky Colavito was on the other end of the phone. I called the former Tribe star to talk about his July 5 appearance at the State Theatre in Playhouse Square during All-Star weekend in Cleveland. He will be joined by former Tribe teammates Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant and Vern Fuller. “Is the theater a nice place?” asked Colavito. “You’ll love it,” I s...

This weekend is a feast when it comes to touring comedians coming to Milwaukee. Providing the finest aged act among them, however, is Rocky LaPorte, who plays 7 and 9 p.m. shows at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino’s Northern Lights Theater Saturday, June 29.  LaPorte has been first gracing late night talk show stages 30 years ago when he performed on Pa...

There’s mozzareally good news for cheese lovers: A specialty mozzarella store and restaurant is opening in the Gold Coast. The Mozzarella Store will open July 5 at 822 N. Michigan Ave. with fresh and aged Italian cheeses created in the traditional Italian way, according to a news release. Besides cheese, it’ll serve up pizza, coffee, snacks and oth...

Scholarship presentations were the highlight of the Italian American Cultural Club’s May meeting held at Le Chateau Pier in Smithfield. The club presented $1,000 scholarships to Joelle “Joey” Tarquinio in memory of Teresa Zryini; Maia Talarico in memory of Bob Ryan; Samantha Kaczmarek in memory of Augie Avoli; Carlo Recinella in memory of Denise Ma...

The fast-casual pizza concept opened its first location in Rome in 2003 and now has three units in Italy and two in Chicago, with stores opening soon in New Orleans and Miami. It serves pizza al taglio—priced by weight, extravagantly topped and cut with shears. The crust is focaccia-like, made from a high-moisture dough that’s airy yet chewy. The c...

Legendary high school basketball coach Gene Pingatore—the winningest boys basketball coach in Illinois history—died on Wednesday night at the age of 83. St. Joseph won two state championships (1999, 2015) under Pingatore, while also capturing six sectional championships during a high point from 1982 to 1988. During his tenure, Pingatore helped prod...

Festa Italiana is offering new and exciting beverage options at this year’s festival taking place on Milwaukee’s lakefront July 19-21. The expanded beverage list will include the Aperol Spritz, the official drink, and Peroni on tap, the official beer, of Festa Italiana 2019. In addition, Festa-goers can also enjoy over 25 varieties of Italian wines...

For those of you, like me, who have wondered why the local restaurant is named “Viva Maria”? Here’s why. Viva, in Italian, means: “Hurrah!” Maria is an Italian name. Put them together and what you’ve got is an endearing salutation to restaurant owners Susan and Dominic Fricano’s daughter Maria. Maria, by the way, is a relatively well-known jazz sin...

On Thursday, June 20, 2019, Festa della Musica was celebrated for the first time in Detroit.  The event was organized by the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan and the Italian American Club of Livonia Charitable Foundation, with the collaboration of the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan and Tuesday Musicale of Detroit, under the auspices of the Cons...

When I first meet Rachael Lowe, she isn’t the “picture” of a fine-dining sommelier I had in my mind. Down-to-earth and gregarious, she doesn’t speak in esoteric or rarefied tones, even though she is brilliant in her descriptions of the style, producer and terroir of the 800 labels on Spiaggia’s wine list. For over five years, Lowe has been the beve...

Following the unification of Italian states in the latter half of the 19th century, many peasants faced financial hardships caused by years of war and political turmoil over who would rule what – and how. The process was particularly hard on the southern regions of the country, viewed by their powerful northern counterparts as corrupt and unciviliz...

Mario Ortigara was born in his parents’ home on the South Side of Chicago, where brother Benny welcomed him. A few years later, sister Mary joined the family. Anna Panozzo and Domenico Ortigara were from small towns in the Piedmont region of Italy, where they met and married. They lost their first-born son to illness before immigrating to Chicago,...