Spadaro Vito HONOREE 2016
Vito Spadaro was born April 26, 1937 to John G. and Girolamo Spadaro. He has one sister Lena Spadaro. His parents came from Marettimo, Sicily to Monterey in 1930 where his father became a lifelong sardine fisherman. Both parents were active volunteers at the first Santa Rosalia Fisherman's festival. The festival was created to honor and bless the sardine fleet that fished in the Monterey Bay.
Vito grew up on Spaghetti Hill surrounded by close relatives and friends. Life was great until World War II and his family had to move to Salinas away from the water front. The government confiscated many of the fishing boats for protecting the coast. His family's boat, the Lina V, built in 1940 was taken. At that time Vito was only four years old. The Lina V was returned stripped and unworkable and they were never compensated for the damages. His father then built the Lina V II, an 86-foot purse seiner that was used until the sardines were fished out and disappeared from the Monterey Bay.
By the time Vito was fifteen, he was spending his summers fishing with his father who owned the well-known purse seiners The Marettimo 1938, The Lina V 1940, and the Lina VII 1944.
Vito attended the local Thomas 0 Larkin grammar school and Monterey High School. In 1955 he met and married Providence Mineo and they had four children, John "Spud", Geralynn, Marielena and Michele. They have four grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Vito fished sardines until 1963 and then was forced to quit when the sardines disappeared but continued to fish Alaska. In 1964 he started his restaurant career opening Vito's Coffee Shop on Alvarado Street. In 1970 he sold it and purchased the Driftwood Bar on Cannery Row, changed the name to The Cannery and it later became Spadaro's Restaurant. The Cannery was known for the rustic nautical ambiance with fishing traps and nets. It was famous for many things, but the late night steak sandwich became a local favorite. The Cannery grew with the times and became a mobile 4-star restaurant accommodating famous people, athletics and movie stars.
During his ownership of Spadaro's Restaurant, Vito returned to Alvarado Street opening "Tutto Buono" in 1991. It was one of the first restaurants to serve "brick oven pizza". His culinary influence helped spark Spado's Restaurant in Salinas. Spado's was the leader in creating a restaurant frenzy in downtown Salinas. Vito retired in 1999.
Vito enjoys cooking, gardening, volunteering and spending time with his family. Some of the organizations he contributes to, past and present, are Festa Italia, The Elks Club, Italian Catholic Federation, Compari Club, Monterey Pony League Baseball, Madonna del Sasso Lenten dinners (founded by his son John) and many fundraisers helping local families in need. He was Grand Marshall of Festa Italia in 2013 and is currently on the board of "The John Spadaro Youth Foundation" in memory of his son. The foundation has contributed over $250,000 back to the community.
Categories"WE JUST DON'T FISH!"
Italian Heritage Society Scholarship Application
Honorees Italian Heritage Society
Fishing - Additional Stories
Suggested Reading Italian Heritage
Italian Fishing Families of Monterey
Monterey Peninsula Herald