Today is a VERY SPECIAL day; we remember and celebrate Gene Michelotti, he would’ve turned 100 today!
Happy 100th Birthday to one of our founders, Gene Michelotti. We feel there is no more perfect way to end such a monumental year for the G & G brand and family than by celebrating this man and his milestone birthday. It is an honor to carry on his legacy each and every day. Happy Birthday Eugenio – we miss you every day. Your story inspires us and motivates us, and we feel such pride + joy when customers come in and share memories of you, because we know that this is how you stay with us every day.
A bit about Gene…
Born in the small Tuscan town of Lucca, Italy, Gene Michelotti came to the United States at the age of 15, several years later; he married Ida Passaglia in April of 1938. Though he spoke little to no English upon his arrival, he worked numerous jobs ranging from night watchman, porter, dishwasher, and bartender, where he encountered his future business partner Alfredo “Georgetti” Federighi, who was working as a chef.
Together in 1941, they founded Gene and Georgetti. Alfredo had the kitchen, and Gene was the front man, holding down the bar. His genuine and vivacious personality made him a hit with regulars, politicians and celebrities alike. Upon Alfredo’s death in 1969, Gene became the sole proprietor of Gene & Georgetti, until his death in 1989.
Gene’s daughter Marion married Tony Durpetti in 1969. They have one daughter, Michelle. Upon the death of Gene in 1989, although a CEO of his own national radio advertising firm, Tony and Marion did not want to see the restaurant leave the family, and decided to purchase it from Marion’s mother, Ida Michelotti. Together with a staff that embodies the word family; they work to maintain the tradition that defines this classic institution and proudly bring it into the future.
We are incredibly nostalgic as we remember this incredible man; today we make an extra special toast in his honor to celebrate him and his many accomplishments.
Below is a very heartfelt and touching message about Gene from his granddaughter, Michelle:
“Today is my Nonno Gene’s birthday. He would have been 100. The incredible thing is that with the restaurant turning 75 in 2016, that would mean he was just 25 years old when Gene & Georgetti opened in 1941. His is such an incredible story of resilience, hard work and a spirit that couldn’t be broken. He was a simple man, with an accent that never faded, and a laugh that was completely contagious. He would stop at our house on his way home from work, to see me – and I loved it. Of course some of our best times were in Italy, but I am so fortunate to have had so many memories in such a short time.
I was only 9 when he passed away, but there has never been a human who left a more profound imprint on my heart. I miss him every day, still to this day. 2015 has been such a year. It is so right that at the end of this year, Gene marks this momentous of years with a 100th birthday. It just makes sense. And out of all if it, what makes me the most proud, and leaves me the most fulfilled is that every time someone says the name of our restaurants, they are speaking my grandfather’s name. I love that thought, and, like all of my memories of him, it makes me smile. His legacy is alive and well and that is a job I could not be more proud, humbled or honored to have.
Nonno, Happy 100th Birthday. Thank you for all you did, and continue to do for your family. I miss you and love you very much. ❤ Auguri Nonno. xo”