Donato Frattaroli is a member of a North End restaurant dynasty that dates back decades. His father, Arturo, a miller, moved from Sulmona, Abruzzo, to East Boston in 1969; wife Lucia and their four children followed a couple of years later. Frattaroli’s two brothers had attended culinary school in Italy, so in 1974, the family scraped together the money to purchase a small Italian restaurant in Eastie. Then in 1977, they opened Lucia Ristorante on Hanover Street. During the next four decades, Lucia begat North End restaurants Filippo, Artu, Ducali, Ward 8 and seafood-focused newcomer Il Molo, which Frattaroli just opened with his own son, Donato Jr.
“Back then, there weren’t even a dozen restaurants [in the North End], and now, probably in less than a mile and a half, you have about 150 licenses,” says Frattaroli, a founder of the Taste of the North End benefit. “Back in the ’70s, the food was more Italo-American, more comfort food—dishes that people would ordinarily cook in their houses every day. Today, it’s more sophisticated. In the North End, people are trying to outdo each other and kick it up a notch with true Italian food. It’s a great place to eat.”
Il Molo, 326 Commercial St., Boston (857-277-1895) ilmoloboston.com