Owner of Angelo’s named Pa. Restaurateur of the Year for 2009

Michael Bradwell , The Observer Reporter – November, 2009

The Pennsylvania Restaurant Association has named Michael Passalacqua of Angelo’s Restaurant in Washington as the 2009 Restaurateur of the Year.

According to a press release from the PRA, the prestigious award was presented in recognition of Passalacqua’s excellence in the culinary arts and for his generous contributions and service to the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association and the restaurant industry.

Angelo’s was founded in 1939 on West Chestnut Street by Passalacqua’s grandparents, Angelo and Giacomina Passalacqua. The family tradition was passed on to his parents, who ran the restaurant for 42 years. In 1992 Angelo’s moved into its third generation when Michael Passalacqua became sole proprietor.

The restaurant celebrated its 70th anniversary in March at its new location at 2109 North Franklin Drive in the Washington Square development adjacent to Washington Crown Center.

The new 5,600-square-foot site, which features a main dining room as well as a separate bar with additional dining space, separate kitchens for meal preparation and catering, also added three smaller dining rooms for private parties.

Passalacqua, who received the award Nov. 1 during PRA’s 72nd annual Awards and Installation Dinner in Harrisburg, said last week that he was humbled by the award, especially in a struggling economy.

“I said in my acceptance speech that right now anybody who’s got the key to the front door of a restaurant deserves to be restaurateur of the year,” he said. “We live in a part of the country where the hurt is a bit less than other parts. How would you like to be running a restaurant in Detroit or in parts of Florida where entire subdivisions have closed down?”

Passalacqua joined the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association in 1992 and has since served as a Western Chapter President and state chairman. He continues to be involved with the PRA on several levels.

In presenting the award, PRA member Ray Hottenstein noted that Passalacqua has done many things for his community over the years. He has raised more than $40,000 for muscular sclerosis in the MS150 bike ride. He has also been instrumental in raising $35,000 for the Washington Hospital Foundation, where he is an active board member. He also feeds the needy every Thanksgiving.

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