By SHERIDAN ROY
Successful restaurateur Barry DePaolo, who has traveled around the world cooking and opening popular restaurants, has joined both of his parents on the Southington High School Wall of Honor.
DePaolo spent the early years of his career traveling from place to place to work as a chef or assist in opening various businesses, including Hard Rock Café in Boston and the original Planet Hollywood in New York City. He went on to open All-Star Cafes in New York City and Las Vegas; Fashion Cafes in London, New Orleans, Barcelona, Jakurta; and Mezzaluna restaurants in South Beach, Miami and Atlanta.
He also opened Border Café restaurants in Boston, New York and Denver. Many of the restaurants he opened were multi-million dollar businesses.
Ultimately, DePaolo found his way back to his hometown of Southington to pour his efforts into Anthony Jacks Restaurant on Center Street.
“I don’t know if I ever thought I would move back to Southington,” said DePaolo, “but at a certain point I just kind of decided it was time to do something on my own, and I thought my hometown of Southington was the perfect town to do that. There was a perfect opportunity to bring me back and be with my family and friends.”
Growing up in Southington, DePaolo spent much of his spare time in his father’s restaurant, Hitchcock Station.
“My father loved the restaurant business. My mother was a fantastic cook,” he said. “They were ‘foodies.’ That’s how it stuck.”
When Anthony Jacks opened in 2001, it served as a pioneer of the downtown “Renaissance project,” and shortly after received a beautification award. Not long after that, DePaolo opened Bonterra Italian Bistro (now closed) and then Tavern 42 in downtown Plantsville.
“On behalf of my family, we are very proud of Barry’s accomplishments since he graduated high school,” said Val DePaolo, Barry’s sister. “He did a lot when he went off to New York when they first opened Planet Hollywood. That was very exciting for him, and from there, he just kept on going.”
Val commented it was nice to have Barry return to Southington. Since his return, he has heavily invested in the town and its many civic organizations.
DePaolo donates soup for the Apple Harvest Road Race, turkeys for Bread for Life for thanksgiving, gift cards to local organizations, wine and beer dinners as auction items at local charities, caters at low cost for charity and local organizations and allows fundraisers in his restaurants.
As an officer of the DePaolo Family Foundation, he assists in donating to Relay for Life, Southington Community Services, Bread for Life, the United Way of Southington, Southington Education Foundation, high school scholarships, Leading Ladies, Margaret Griffin Center, the local YMCA, Christmas in the Village, the Italian Festival and Southington Cultural Community Arts.
DePaolo was inducted during a ceremony at the high school on April 19. Officials are already accepting nominations for the class of 2020.
To be honored, nominees would have to fulfill certain criteria, such as being a recipient of a lifetime achievement award, performing considerable humanitarian work or community service, or having received other significant awards for achievement.
To receive an application, contact Bob Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 621-0416. For more information, visit www.southingtonschools.org/schools/high-school/southington-high/shs-celebrations/wall-of-honor.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.