Jack DiCarlo is retiring after 27 years as maitre d’ at Michael’s On The Thames in London, Ontario. Photo shot on Friday, August 3, 2012. DEREK RUTTAN/ The London Free Press /QMI AGENCY
Expect Jack DiCarlo to sing again . . . & soon.
JBNBlog doesn’t know a whole lot about a new play-in-being The Tale Of London Town . . . but it sounds like a fascinating excursion (lit & fig) through downtown in May. Among the stars is Jack DiCarlo — he will be singing again. Wow.
Here’s some background . . .
This performance starts at The Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond St.
THE TALE OF LONDON TOWN
Presented by FIXT POINT
May 8-17, 2014
The Tale of London Town is a live site-specific performance that tells the tale of downtown London as remembered by you. Weaving archives and live music with oral histories collected from interviews with residents, business owners and local heroes, this multi-media theatrical adventure will bring legendary London stories to the life!
Meet at The Grand Theatre Box office and take a trip with us downtown as we remember when everything was the best…or was it?
Maybe the best is yet to come…
(Dress for the weather. No bags. No latecomers.)
Created and Produced by FIXT POINT, with support from The Downtown London Association, The Grand Theatre, The Ontario Arts Council and The Canada Council for the Arts.
Here is former LFP colleague Alex Weber’s piece on Jack’s retirement (well, his first retirement) . . .
|Source: ALEX WEBER, THE LONDON FREE PRESS
Section: News Page: A2
As the dining room of Michael’s on the Thames filled up with couples of all ages and stages of love, DiCarlo made sure their nights were filled with fine food, beautiful music and romance.
Known for serenading guests, DiCarlo’s favourite song to sing to couples on the day of love was the Dean Martin classic That’s Amore.
A few years ago he also had the responsibility of keeping five diamond engagement rings safe in his pocket and ready to go as nervous boyfriends anxiously awaited the right moment to propose.
It’s such special touches that made DiCarlo a beloved maitre d’ at Michael’s on the Thames.
It’s also why his longtime customers and co-workers are struggling to say goodbye as DiCarlo begins his retirement.
His last day at Michael’s on the Thames was July 31.
The 68-year-old’s career in the hospitality business has spanned decades.
He’s shared the company of legends such as Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Jane Fonda and Yul Brynner.
He’s worked in famous hotels such as the Savoy in London, England, the Ritz Carlton in Montreal and the Park Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland.
But his first job in London was sweeping hockey cards and chewing gum off the floor at the old O-Pee-Chee factory.
DiCarlo followed his two older brothers to London from Abruzzo, Italy, in 1963. DiCarlo, just 20 then, had studied hospitality in Italy.
Ten years later he opened his first restaurant, Savoir Faire in the old Holiday Inn on York St., where the London Convention Centre stands today.
“That’s where I started making the caesar salad I became famous for throughout the years,” DiCarlo said.
In 1975, he went to work at the Plaza, a hotel that stood where the Hilton is on King St. Next he opened the Wittington at the corner of York and Wellington, before opening another restaurant, La Riveira, at Waterloo and Horton in 1978.
“That’s where I really flourished,” DiCarlo said.
He put in 20-hour days making sure customers had all they needed, and it’s at La Riveira, where DiCarlo first began to serenade customers.
A Brazilian official visited the restaurant while in town to sign a big contract with a local manufacturer.
“He said, ‘You Italian? You got to sing for me.’ I had never sang in my life,” DiCarlo said.
He sang the traditional Italian tune Santa Lucia for the official, and serenading guests quickly became his trademark.
DiCarlo was the maitre d’ at Michael’s on the Thames since 1986 and created a deep and lasting impression in the hearts of his customers over the years.
“My clientele has followed me since I’ve been in London,” he said. He’s been there for couples’ first dates, engagements, and wedding anniversaries.
“Now I see their kids are in the same situation, just like their parents were way back when and it makes me feel so good.”
Though DiCarlo is sad to leave behind the legacy he’s created at Michael’s, he says he’s leaving the restaurant in good hands. Many of the people he works with have been with him for decades and understand his dining philosophy.
“I’m such a people person,” DiCarlo said. “I always want to create for the customer something unique — something to remember.”