Cafe Dip cel­e­brates half a cen­tury in Lit­tle Italy

From World Cup par­ties to street clo­sures, this lo­cal land­mark has done it all

Annex Post - - NEWS -

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

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