Pasquale ‘Pat’ Pec­ora

For­mer bar­ber turned restau­ra­teur owned and op­er­ated a land­mark Tow­son res­tau­rant for decades

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen fras­mussen@balt­

Pasquale “Pat” Pec­ora, who for decades presided over Pec­ora’s, a well-known Ital­ian res­tau­rant in Tow­son, died Fri­day of res­pi­ra­tory fail­ure at Levin­dale He­brew Ge­ri­atric Cen­ter & Hospi­tal. The long­time Parkville res­i­dent was 76. The son of Gio­vanni Pec­ora, a restau­ra­teur, and Anna Pec­ora, a home­maker, Pasquale Pec­ora was born and raised in Cosenza, Italy.

Mr. Pec­ora was 17 when he moved to Bal­ti­more with his mother and younger brother and joined his fa­ther, who had ar­rived in the city in 1954. His fa­ther had worked as a chef at Il­lona’s Res­tau­rant in East Bal­ti­more, then opened Pec­ora’s in 1959 on St. He­lena Av­enue in Dun­dalk.

Rather than go into the res­tau­rant busi­ness with his fam­ily, Mr. Pec­ora en­rolled at the Bal­ti­more Academy of Hair­dressers and be­came a li­censed bar­ber.

He opened a bar­ber­shop in 1961 in East Bal­ti­more. Sev­eral years later, he left bar­ber­ing and went into the fam­ily busi­ness, go­ing to work in 1963 at Pec­ora’s on Green­mount Av­enue near 33rd Street in Waverly.

“They made fresh-dough pizza,” said a brother, Al­bert E. Pec­ora of Parkville. “They made piz­zas in the win­dow of the res­tau­rant, which was quite un­usual then. Plus, many of our reg­u­lar cus­tomers were the Ori­oles and Colts.”

In 1966, a sec­ond Pec­ora’s opened at York Road and Ch­e­sa­peake Av­enue in Tow­son. A third res­tau­rant opened at Bel Air and Moun­tain roads in Fall­ston, which later added Pec­ora’s Colum­bus Room in 1975.

Fa­mous en­ter­tain­ers such as Ray Charles, Al Martino, Frankie Avalon, Enzo Stu­arti, Brenda Lee and B.J. Thomas per­formed in the Colum­bus Room, fam­ily mem­bers said.

Mr. Pec­ora worked both the front and back of the house at Pec­ora’s in Tow­son, his brother said. The es­tab­lish­ment was known for its lively bar scene and was a pop­u­lar place to have a few beers and a pizza.

“A dim bar with a few booths, it was en­livened by some­one play­ing an elec­tric or­gan — a species of in­stru­ment which some peo­ple, to my great amaze­ment, pro­fess to en­joy,” John Dorsey, The Bal­ti­more Sun’s res­tau­rant critic, wrote in 1973.

“But Pec­ora’s is more than that. Be­side and be­hind the bar room are two din­ing rooms, qui­eter and a lit­tle more brightly lighted, where they serve fair to oc­ca­sion­ally good, if not ex­cit­ing Ital­ian fare — at least judg­ing by our din­ner,” he wrote.

“Pec­ora’s has ex­actly what you’d ex­pect an Ital­ian res­tau­rant to have on its menu,” wrote Sun res­tau­rant critic Eliz­a­beth Large in 1978. “There are no sur­prises, but 90 per­cent of the cus­tomers in an Ital­ian res­tau­rant must order an­tipasto or mine­strone or veal scal­lop­ine or spaghetti any­way.”

“I pri­mar­ily went to the Tow­son res­tau­rant,” re­called Al Massa of Parkville, a friend for 42 years.

“Pat was a good cook and his sauces — some call them gravy, but I call them sauces — were spec­tac­u­lar when they were put on pasta. They were so good that you thought you were in heaven,” Mr. Massa said. “He liked to ex­per­i­ment and add his own twist, which made them ex­tra spe­cial.

“Pat was a great guy who loved telling jokes and mak­ing peo­ple laugh, and when he told a joke in an Ital­ian ac­cent, he made it ex­tra spe­cial,” Mr. Massa said. “He brought laugh­ter into your life, and he en­joyed do­ing it.” . The Tow­son build­ing suf­fered a fire in 1980, but the res­tau­rant was re­built and re­opened.

In the mid-1980s, Mr. Pec­ora left the busi­ness briefly when he en­tered into a part­ner­ship with Emilio Alecci in con­struc­tion.

But his heart re­mained in the res­tau­rant busi­ness, and in the late 1980s Mr. Pec­ora opened an Ital­ian res­tau­rant in Pasadena, which he sold in the early 1990s. Then in 1996, he es­tab­lished a 20-ta­ble res­tau­rant — Pec­ora’s — at 1012 Eastern Ave. in Lit­tle Italy.

“That mari­nara sauce also raised cheesy lasagna and sides of spaghet­tini a step above the or­di­nary,” wrote critic Kathryn Higham in a 1997 re­view. “It was per­fect — not too sweet, not too acidic. Thick, but not chunky.”

“That mari­nara sauce won an award that praised it as be­ing the best mari­nara sauce in Mary­land,” his brother said.

“His fa­vorite dish was veal piz­zaiola,” he said.

Mr. Pec­ora sold the busi­ness in 2004 and re­tired.

Mr. Pec­ora was one of the 12 founders of La Dolce Vita, an Ital­ian-Amer­i­can so­cial club whose mem­bers raised funds for a num­ber of char­i­ties.

“He loved so­cial­iz­ing with peo­ple. He was al­ways the life of the party,” his brother said.

The Raven Ridge Road res­i­dent en­joyed hunt­ing and, in his younger years, play­ing golf.

Mr. Pec­ora was a com­mu­ni­cant of St. Isaac Jogues Ro­man Catholic Church, 9215 Old Har­ford Road in Parkville, where a funeral Mass will be cel­e­brated at 10 a.m. Wed­nes­day.

In ad­di­tion to his brother, Mr. Pec­ora is sur­vived by his wife of 28 years, the for­mer Deb­bie Jones; two sons, John Pec­ora and Ser­gio Pec­ora, both of Parkville; four daugh­ters, Lena Ho­gan and Pa­tri­cia Pec­ora, both of Mid­dle River, Natalie Kurtz of El­li­cott City and Kate­lyn Pec­ora of Parkville; an­other brother, Michel Pec­ora of North Port, Fla.; nine grand­chil­dren; and four great-grand­chil­dren. An ear­lier mar­riage ended in di­vorce. Pasquale Pec­ora was a found­ing mem­ber of La Dolce Vita, an Ital­ian-Amer­i­can so­cial club.

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