Before he opened oceanfront restaurant Caffe Luna Rosa, Fran Marincola worked on the Jersey Shore selling hotdogs, jammed out with Bruce Springsteen and owned several nightclubs.
The 77-year-old Delray Beach resident can be found riding around town on his scooter, dabbling in city affairs and meeting friends for happy hour.
We asked him five questions about his life and what led him to own a successful restaurant that has been awarded a favorite by the Chamber of Commerce twice.
How did you get into the restaurant business?
Marincola opened Caffe Luna Rosa in 1993. Before that, he worked on the boardwalk in New Jersey selling cheese steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers. Later, he had a haunted mansion in Long Branch, which ultimately was burned down in a fire in 1987. When he moved to Delray, he opened Luna Rosa, but he said he didn’t know much about the restaurant business. When he received money from the fire incident, he said he used it to expand the restaurant in 1997. His favorite thing to eat isn’t on the menu. It is a dish made with potato and ricotta cheese that is spun. If he had to pick an item on the restaurant’s menu, he said he enjoys the burrata if he can find someone who will share it with him.
Who is your favorite musician?
Marincola knows his favorite musician personally, Bruce Springsteen. He met Springsteen and his band in 1988. He said Springsteen would show up to Thursday night Reggae night at Marincola’s New Jersey night club and he would sing four songs. Marincola said he has been on a double date with Springsteen’s drummer. He said he also likes Roy Orbison because he said that is who Springsteen told him was his favorite musician. He said Bob Dylan’s music is what he turned to if he had to break up with a girlfriend.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Delray Beach?
Of course his favorite restaurant is his own. Period. But Marincola said he enjoys catching a bite to eat at Brule and 32 East. His all time favorite place is Palm Beach Grill in where else but Palm Beach.
What is a day in your life like?
He said every day starts out with him having nothing to do and then winds up becoming busy. His only responsibilities he said are to walk the dogs and feed them. Then, he said he turns on his computer and responds to every single review the restaurant receives both positive and negative. He works out daily for about 35 minutes with his trainer. Two days out of the week he meets with his restaurant staff.
What do you think about how Delray has changed since you moved here?
Since he moved to Delray 36 years ago, he said the city has changed. He said some of the change he likes and some he could do without. But he said change is good for the town and if it isn’t something he likes, he just doesn’t go there. He said he enjoys the city now and he liked Delray when it was known as “dull-ray.” He remembers walking down the street holding a girlfriend’s hand after hitting up the bar and there would be no cars on the road. He said he got involved in politics after he bought the Bermuda Inn and the city refused to let him build a hotel. He served on several city advisory boards over the years. Now, he is the president of his condo association and is a member of the Beach Property Owners Association.