SPRING VALLEY — Five generations of “famiglia” or family has kept the doors open of Verucchi’s Ristorante in Spring Valley, which recently celebrated its 100th year in business.
Verucchi’s was founded by Batista and Elizabeth “Mama” Verucchi in 1914, who were born in Pavullo, Italy, and came to this country to settle in Spring Valley in 1904. They were married in 1905 and opened the restaurant in 1914 at its current location.
“Italian people lived in this area of Spring Valley where the restaurant is located,” said Dick Verucchi, one of 10 children of Arthur “Buzz” and Beatrice “Bea” Verucchi. “Grandma was a good cook. She had no recipes. It was just a pinch here and there.”
Batista Verucchi died in 1948, while Elizabeth “Mama” Verucchi passed away in 1975 following a fire in her apartment above the restaurant.
Following the passing of their son, Arthur “Buzz” in 1992 and his son, Jack, in 2002, the restaurant continues to be operated by Arthur’s wife, Beatrice “Bea” and their nine other children. Richard “Dick,” Barbara, Mary, Paula, Tricia, Tom, Bethie, Arthur “Buzz” Jr. and Joanie.
Several of Bea’s 33 grandchildren are still active in the restaurant’s dining room, and 38 great-grandchildren also make appearances from time to time.
The restaurant started as a grocery store and tavern in the building that used to be the Star Model brewery.
The Venetian Room was added in 1969 to give more dining space to the restaurant and to accommodate the extensive menu of Italian specialties and American dishes. Arthur “Buzz” Verucchi expanded the restaurant’s dining room, and Verucchi’s Italian Fried Chicken carryout business was added in 1978. He added the private Modena Dining Room in 1979, and Verucchi’s Distinctive Catering began in 1980.
“Dad kept taking up the backyard and swing set with the expansions,” added Dick. “He had a chicken wagon that he took all over to fairs.”
Arthur died in 1992, while his wife, Bea is the matriarch of the Verucchi family at 90 years old.
“Mom is the heart of this family, and she holds the family together,” said Dick.
The restaurant’s 100th anniversary was celebrated in July with specials in the dining room every night that week with the highlight being on July 20 when children’s games were played, bands played and of course, food was served.
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