Cafe Dip celebrates half a century in Little Italy
From World Cup parties to street closures, this local landmark has done it all
Italian mainstay Café Diplomatico was first opened in 1968 by Rocco Mastrangelo Sr. Today, Rocco Jr. has taken over the family-run restaurant, with his wife Connie. She shares their story in honour of the resto’s 50th anniversary.
What’s the secret to the café’s longevity?
We know a lot of our customers by name and we know what they’re having. Which, you know, you don’t get so much anymore.
Tell us one of your fondest memories of the Dip.
When Italy won the World Cup in 2006, people were standing on tables, running out into the streets. We made quite a bit of a noise in the city that year, so everybody knows us as soccer central. We’ve always celebrated the final cup game, and it doesn’t matter whose made it, we still run a full house and put on the big party with the street closure and video wall, so you can actually watch the game outside.
Which celebs have dined at the Dip?
We’ve had quite a few over the years. Harrison Ford’s been there, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Nelly Furtado, Shawn Desman, Sofia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni. Atom Egoyan is one of our really good customers. They shot Chloe out of the restaurant. He comes by a lot.
How are you planning to celebrate the big 5-0?
On Aug. 10 and 11, we’re going to do a street closure. We’ll extend our patio all the way to the street, to accommodate about 400 people, and we’ll put up a bandstand. To commemorate the different decades, we’re going to have music for each decade throughout the day. We’re also working on a wall of fame to commemorate the 50th, to share different moments from the Diplomatico. We’re asking patrons to submit their favourite memory of the restaurant for the chance to win our grand prize (594 College St., 416-534-4637).
Rocco Jr. and Connie Mastrangelo