John Mosca

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John Mosca (pronounced "Mohsca") (May 6, 1925 Chicago Heights, Illinois – July 13, 2011, Harahan, Louisiana) was an American restaurateur and owner (and co-founder) of the famed Mosca's, a Louisiana Creole and Italian restaurant in Avondale, Louisiana, near New Orleans.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Mosca was born, raised and attended Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois.[1][3] He worked for his parents, Provino and Lisa Mosca, at their local restaurant, which was also named Mosca's.[3]

Mosca enlisted in the United States Army during World War II and served in the European Theater as an infantryman.[1] He was wounded in action by shrapnel during battle in Italy.[3] Mosca was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his service.[2] He was transferred to the British military forces, who assigned him as a waiter for officers and visiting dignitaries due to his restaurant experience prior to the war.[1][3] He served British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and future Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito in 1944, when they ate together at the Villa Rivalta in Naples, Italy.[3]

Mosca's parents and brother, Nick, moved to New Orleans during World War II because their daughter, Mary Mosca, had married a New Orleans resident named Vincent Marconi.[3] John Mosca also moved to New Orleans following the end of the war and his honorable discharge from the United States Army.[3]

Restaurant[edit]

In 1946, Mosca and his parents opened a new restaurant, called Mosca's, in a Waggaman, Louisiana, building that was once a tavern.[1][3] Mosca decided to offer a menu similar to his parents' former restaurant in Illinois, specializing in family-style platters.[1][3] However, they decided to include local Louisiana ingredients and cuisine, including seafood, such as oysters and crabs.[3] Among the newer entrees added by Mosca were marinated crab salad, barbecued shrimp and baked oysters.[3] The menu has remained virtually unchanged since the restaurant's founding, as of 2011.[3] Mosca's was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but rebuilt and reopened just ten months later.[1]

Mosca would wake up at 5 a.m. to shop for ingredients and make the pasta and sausage by hand.[3] He worked at Mosca's consistently until approximately a month before his death in 2011.[1]

John Mosca died from prostate cancer at his home in Harahan, Louisiana, on July 13, 2011, at the age 86.[1][3] He was survived by his wife, Mary Jo Angellotti Mosca, and daughter, Lisa Mosca.[1] His wife and daughter still run Mosca's.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "John Mosca dies at 86; ran popular restaurant near New Orleans". Los Angeles Times. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  2. ^ a b Severson, Kim (2011-07-19). "John Mosca, a Restaurant's Patriarch, Dies at 86". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Pope, John (2011-07-14). "John Mosca, owner of the landmark restaurant bearing his name, dies at 86". The Times Picayune. Retrieved 2011-07-28.