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It was less than six years ago, while visiting on a day trip from Miami to scout available store fronts with his cousin Michael, that Paul LaRosa decided to sell everything he owned and move back north. Six weeks later, they opened the doors of LaRosa’s Café.

LaRosa and his staff have been creating a vast array of authentic traditional and signature Italian dishes to an appreciative North Shore community who couldn’t seem to get enough. So LaRosa and his team expanded an arm of its catering services to meet the growing demand for everything from deli platters to appetizers to cannoli.

Back at the cafe, the lines for LaRosa’s fresh daily soups, sandwiches, and salads eventually began spilling out into the street. “After three years we expanded out the back of the building onto a simple patio,” recalls Paul. “It provided more opportunity for our customers to sit and enjoy sharing and eating with friends and family.”

With delicious classic sandwiches like homemade chicken or eggplant parmigiana, portabello, caprese, or the angry Sicilian—a zesty combination of mortadella, capicola, biancod’oro salami, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, hots, and balsamic vinegar, all piled high on toasted scali bread.

Fast-forward to this past spring where LaRosa’s Cafe expanded the space and service into a full-bar with dinner menu, featuring their popular 16-ounce meatball, a singular, one-pound meatball made from a secret mixture. “There’s tapas, and then there is Italian tapas,” explains Paul.

The new space has a traditional Italian black-and-white motif set against an exposed brick backdrop. The bar is capped off with a white Carrera marble. Seems appropriate for showcasing the new weekly specials that will change with what is in season.

So far, the bar expansion has been very well received. “It has been a home run for us,” exclaims LaRosa, “business has been absolutely fantastic!” With all the success, Paul says there is a possibility of expanding to another location.