The History of Steve Martorano
From working class roots to award-winning restauranteur and author, Steve Martorano’s inspirational journey is one of dreams, hard work, determination, and drive.
Growing up in South Philly, many would have thought Steve Martorano didn’t stand much of a chance for more than going into the family business. With his father making only $166 a week and his uncle in the mob, Steve knew one thing – he didn’t want either of those lives for himself. But what was he to do? School was never his strong suit, so he set out on his own journey to success, but not without a few failures along the way, which only made him stronger and more determined to show the world what he is made of.
After spinning records for a few years as a DJ in the 70s, Steve opened up his first delivery sandwich shop in his apartment. He was a one-man show with an increasingly popular business. His sandwiches became such a hit in South Philly that Martorano outgrew his space and opened a take out restaurant in a strip mall. Here Martorano made pizza, sandwiches, pasta dishes and homemade water ice. A few years later, the demand outgrew his location again, and Martorano moved to a freestanding, sit down restaurant.
In the early 90s, the US economy took a turn for the worst and Steve lost everything. He knew it was time for a change. In 1993, he moved to Ft. Lauderdale with merely $40 to his name and opened a new restaurant on Oakland Park Boulevard – Café Martorano. 18 years later, Café Martorano has become a worldwide sensation. The restaurant chain has expanded into three locations – the original one on Oakland Park Boulevard, one at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida, and one at the Rio in Las Vegas. The Martorano brand has also launched a wine label, pasta sauces, a Yo Cuz! apparel line, and more.
Steve Martorano has raised the bar for the restaurant industry. The “Godfather of Italian-American cooking” has taken the craft of cooking to new levels through a dream, persistence, and hard work. With his self-taught talent, Steve has created a venue in which as owner he is the cook, the DJ and the operator. The Martorano restaurants offer a unique atmosphere that combines exceptional food with extraordinary music and movies. This rare environment has allowed Martorano to create an ambiance that attracts clientele ranging from locals to the sexy, hip crowd to some of entertainment’s hottest celebrities, and has even been featured on television shows such as The Real Housewives of Miami and Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?. This family-run business is the only restaurant that has managed to create a modern and cool atmosphere while maintaining that welcome-to-the-family vibe.
With the launch of Martorano’s new book Yo Cuz! My Life, My Food, My Way and new web series Yo Cuz!: The Italian-American Cook along with plans to expand his restaurant chain further, Steve Martorano is continuing down the path of success. Now Martorano has a new goal: inspire others and give back to communities across America along the way.