Jonathan Colarusso likes to describe his foray into the food biz as, “diversifying my personal interests.” But the truth of the matter is that when the economy tanked, the veteran construction worker needed a new gig. “I knew that there was an industry for what we always called ‘roach coaches’,” says the Boston native. However, Strada Cucina, the mobile Italian sandwich business he owns with his brother Brian, is no street meat dive. The culinary novices have channeled the cooking skills of their Italian grandmother, Phyllis Colarusso, into a locally sourced sammy-mobile that’s not only doling out delicious chicken parms but is also giving back to the community.
“We partnered with the YWCA, and in trade for parking in their lot on Coming Street, we train a selection of their members on how to run a small business,” explains Jonathan. Those individuals include Vermell Meaders, who completed the three-week entrepreneur program with the brothers in September. “They taught me how important it is to have good customer service,” says Meaders.
“Neither of us has any specific culinary training,” remarks Jonathan, “but we grew up watching my grandma and her sisters make their specialities and learned their techniques.” In turn, the brothers are helping local women learn how to run a restaurant, one sandwich at a time. We’re guessing their Nana would be proud.