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By Gracelyn Santos
gsantos@siadvance.com

Violette’s Cellar, Peter Botros, at right, and Antonio Vasquez.

Staten Island, NY — Restauranteur Peter Botros is on a roll.  For the second year in a row, Botros was named Grand Prize “Pasta Bowl” winner, hosted by Community Resources  (CR) on February 25, 2018, at the CR headquarters in Travis.  However, this year it was Botros’ restaurant, Violette’s Cellar, that captured the coveted prize, whereas last year, it was Botros flagship restaurant, The Stone House that captured the pasta prize. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Mario Gentile, the owner of Mario’s, won Second Prize.

Meanwhile, the Second Place honors were garnered by Mario Gentile, popular proprietor of Mario’s on Richmond Road. Mario’s tied with Mona Lisa and Mario’s, which also walked away with the Chef’s Choice award, for the second year in a row. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Dana Magee, CR’s Executive Director with Leonardo
Giordano of Mona Lisa, and Mario Gentile of Mario’s second prize tie winners

CR Chefs won Third Prize!

Tyler Larsen and Rosie McGrath at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018, at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

The Pasta Bowl is Community Resources event, now in its 16th year.  Community Resources is a comprehensive service provider for Staten Islanders with an IDD or mental health diagnosis.

Meanwhile, the Second Place honors were garnered by Mario Gentile, popular proprietor of Mario’s on Richmond Road. Mario’s tied with Mona Lisa and Mario’s, which also walked away with the Chef’s Choice award, for the second year in a row. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Michael Arvanites, Trustee of the City University of New York and Executive Committee Member at Democratic Committee of Richmond County, at left, and Public Administrator Anthony Catalano, share a laugh at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

David Lehr and Fran Hogan enjoy the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Marta Gomez, at left, Luis Gomez (parents of DaNoi proprietor Eddie Gomez), Sedat Bajrmi, and Cenon Diaz at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Rosie McGrath and Tyler Larsen of the CR Chefs

Carmen Garcia, at left, Alyssa Ryan, Victoria Ryan, and Sushila Garcia serve guests at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Left to right:  Steve Kessler, Barbara Devaney, and Laura Kessler at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Xiomara Alvarez and Jennifer Golterman serve up delicious Jimmy Max pasta dishes at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Brian Kornbrekke of Taste of Honey served up pasta goodness at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Leonardo Giordano of Mona Lisa, who tied for second place with Mario Gentile of Mario’s.

Annie McHugh and Jimmy Ramovic represented A & S Caterers at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Guiseppe Balsamo and Jose Rodriguez serve up tasty pasta at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Luis DeLeon and Peter Botros, owner of The Stone House.

Tom Blancero, at left, and KC Hankins, both of the Young Democrats of Richmond County, volunteer at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Sarah Clarke, at left, Tatiana Mroczek, Miss Richmond County’s Outstanding Teen 2018, and Sheila Lewis at the Community Resources 2018 Pasta Bowl held on February 25, 2018 at its Travis headquarters. (Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos)

Dana Magee, CR’s Executive Director with Peter Botros owner of Violette’s Cellar on the far right, winner of the Pasta Bowl. Botros also owns the Stone House at Clove Lakes and soon to be open Corner House BBQ.

It was a night fit for a king!

Hundreds gathered at Staten Island’s elegant Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Avenue, as over 20 men were honored at Star Network’s annual “Kings of Staten Island” event.

The event held on Wednesday, May 10, gave attendees opportunities to network, fundraise, and acknowledge and celebrate each other’s work and accolades.

“I love to bring recognition to people who make a difference in their communities and every one of you tonight has made a difference,” Victoria Schneps, Schneps Communications/Star Network co-owner, told the honorees. “It is our honor and our pleasure to honor you and let you and the community know how much you are appreciated.”

This year’s Kings of Staten Island were Joseph Maffeo (Posthumous Community Valor Award recipient); Robert DeFalco (Owner, Robert DeFalco Realty/S.I. Mortgage Group, Inc. and Excellence in Real Estate Award recipient); Lawrence Ambrosino (Owner, Residential Home Funding); Steve Argentine (Owner, All Boro Maintenance); Anthony “AJ” Basile (Financial Specialist, National Financial Network); Peter Botros (Chef/Owner, Stone House Restaurant); Barry Crupi (Co-Owner/Barry’s Auto); Theodore Ericson (Executive Director and Founder, Crossroads Unlimited, Inc.); Robert Fanuzzi, Ph.D. (Associate Provost & Director of Civic Engagement, St. John’s University); Howard Farber (Second Vice President/Branch Manager, Richmond County Savings Bank); Bobby Giurintano (Key Account Manager, TGI Office Automation); Gurdev Singh Kang (Cultural Society, Richmond Hill); Steven J. Korkowski (President/CEO, Sweetbrook Nursery & Garden Center); Matthew Langella (AVP/Branch Manager, Investors Bank); Frank P. Lettera (Managing Director, Hanley Funeral Home); Brian Licata (Deputy Director of Workforce Development, United Activities Unlimited); Dominick Mancino (Actor, Screen Actors Guild); Brian McGowan (Director of Marketing, Casandra Properties); Frank Morano (Radio Host, AM 970 The Answer); George Joseph Passariello (Co-owner/Chief Technology Officer/The VON Agency); Nicholas Pesce (Owner, La Bella Market Place); Anthony Rapacciuolo (Partner, PRcision LLC); Michael Scarimbolo (Branch Manager, Advisors Mortgage Group LLC ); and Will Smith (President/Operating Partner, Staten Island Yankees).

Along with a VIP reception, cocktail hour, and ceremony, the event debuted a special award, the Joseph Maffeo Community Valor Award, sponsored by Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell Health, which was accepted by Linda and Keith Manfredi, founders of the Joseph Maffeo Foundation. Maffeo was a firefighter for Ladder 101, who lost his life on September 11, 2001.

Manfredi and her husband Keith started the foundation to improve the community and commemorate him. “My brother was a very unique and giving man,” she said. “Because of his work during his short years of life, my husband and I try to take a proactive approach in life felt it was important to keep his legacy alive.”

Linda and Keith were presented with the First Annual Joseph Maffeo Award as singer Danny Rodriguez dedicated a performance of “Proud to be an American” to them. “I’d like to thank Vicki for being such a great role model for all of us in this community,” Linda added, as she acknowledged all the other recipients for their contribution to the community. “It’s really the community at large that affords us the opportunity to build a foundation and its mission of truly making a difference and making the world a better place. I’d like to congratulate all of you. Whether you do it for children, adults, or community at large, it’s people like you who truly make a difference and allow our youth to see who they need to be and who they need to emulate in future generations.”

One hundred percent of the raffle proceeds went to the foundation.

The Kings who attended were thrilled to be a part of the evening.

“When you look around the room and see some of the past honorees, it’s definitely a humbling experience and honor to be here with these gentlemen,” said Langella. “I was born and raised here. When you live on Staten Island, you see a lot of grassroots organizations like Michael’s Cause  and Emergency Children’s Help Organization, and to be able to give back and help those organizations be successful means a lot to me and the island.”

“It’s an honor to be nominated with this group of fellows who have been in business for years and people that are at the peak of their profession,” added Licata. “For me, this is kind of a new experience. I’ve only been doing this for the last few years. Overall, it’s great that someone actually thought enough to put me in this class.”

“It’s a great honor to be a part of Star Network and receive this award,” Scarimbolo said. “You work very hard to get where you have to go in life within a business and the community. Networking is part of that, and to receive this award and be recognized for all the hard work you put in is a great honor.”

Exhibitors were also delighted.

“It’s a great event that’s honoring great people on the island,” said George Chicolo III, director of business development and partnerships for the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud to be here and be a sponsor. We are really happy for all of the honorees. They’ve all done great work for the community. Staten Island is such a small, tight-knit community and everybody treats each other like family.  A lot of these people have done great things for the community.”

“We are here to honor all the Kings and it’s a great place to get our name out as a bank,” added First Vice President of Empire State Bank Jeanne Sarno. “It’s always a great turn-out and we love to support it. We’ve been a part of these events from the beginning.”

During the award ceremony, each honoree got to walk down the red carpet to receive his trophy. NY1 News anchor Natalie Duddridge served as the event’s emcee.

This year’s sponsors were Staten Island University Hospital/Northwell Health, Investors Bank, Empire State Bank, Richmond County Savings Bank, JetBlue, Broadway Stages, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, and Med cast Plus.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- On Staten Island, Country music is on the surge, says Peter Botros of the Stone House at Clove Lakes Park. That factoid served as the impetus for the barbecue theme in a second annual fundraising event, this year held on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Merging smoked ribs, creamy cabbage slaw and the twang of live country music with Micheal's Cause to match, the evening's aim was to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The genetic disorder affects one in 3,500 boys worldwide, says the Staten Island-based organization.

"We have a themed charity-driven festival every other month," explained Botros.

"Last year we held the festival on Columbus Day in October and we had a wonderful turnout and raised thousands of dollars for the Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund. This year we decided to move the festival to August and take advantage of the warmer weather that is fitting for the Country theme," said Botros.

Raising such a large amount of money for a memorial fund like the Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund is a fantastic thing to do and will make such a difference to those who need it most. Follow the link to learn more about setting up a memorial fund.

Nine-year-old Michael Capolongo, for whom the organization was established, was on hand with his parents, Robert and Theresa Capolongo, as well as about 300 other supporters.

And there were a few other partnerships at the event as well.

Anthony Valois of The Smoke Exchange, for instance, donated his time to the charity by personally smoking and basting over 300 pounds of succulent ribs, pork butt, and brisket.

As Stone House staff sliced the brisket on the bias, revelers piled the meat high on plates alongside a Southwestern-style macaroni and cheese, smoky sauteed spinach and collard greens, pulled pork, a rich potato salad plus other distinct and fresh side dishes.

"We have a unique opportunity to use our beautiful venue to help raise awareness and money for local Staten Island charitable organizations, creating themed events that help us get a much better turnout than the usual boring fundraiser where it seems more like a chore or an obligation to attend," said Botros.

"We want these events to be spectacular so that people look forward to attending and we can raise more money. We like to support as many local charities as possible and are currently looking to link up with more organizations for future events like this one," said Botros.

Interested not-for-profits can contact the proprietor at info@thomasd112.sg-host.com.

In the meantime, as announced at the prior fundraising fete, Violette's Cellar in Grant City is underway at 2271 Hylan Blvd., a restaurant with profits eventually slated toward cancer research.  

"Violette's Cellar renovations are progressing at an amazing pace and we have had tremendous support...Since word spread that we were doing this, we have had an outpouring of support. We even have a flooring contractor, John Defrancesco of Superior Decorative Concrete, donating his time and [at cost] putting in the coolest floors I have ever seen," said Botros.