Compiled by Deb Mandel, 2022
41 Pearl St. (1946-1949)
21 Brookline St. (1949-1976)
Simeone’s, whose motto was, “choice foods skillfully prepared served promptly and courteously,” opened on February 24, 1949 on Brookline street in Central Square, after moving from its original 60-seat 41 Pearl St. location. Its menu included pizza, popular homestyle Italian dishes, steaks, chops, chicken and fried clams honed from Pappa Salvatore’s recipes. The restaurant was owned by four Simeone brothers: Stanley V., president; Joseph (Joe) S., treasurer; Anthony (Tony) J., secretary; and Victor F., vice president. Tony and Joe served as executive chefs.
In 1951 one could get a full course meal there for under a dollar. In 1953, New England Frozen Foods Co. of Watertown, Massachusetts became the distributor for Simeone’s tomato and meat sauces. Very popular with Cambridge business and college students, Simeone’s served high quality food at low prices. In 1955, the restaurant underwent a $100,000 expansion and renovation, to increase its seating capacity to 385 patrons, and “provide one of the largest and newest kitchens in New England.” In 1960 the brothers purchased the White Spot Restaurant, long located at the Four Corners in Woburn, and renamed it Simeone’s White Spot. It served the same menu as the Cambridge restaurant. The White Spot closed in 1970 due to sewage problems, which drained money from the Cambridge restaurant.
In April 1964, Simeone inaugurated its Wednesday Italian Buffet Night and invited luminaries, such as Boston Patriots kicking star Gino Cappelletti, a veteran of the American Football League team, Cambridge Mayor Edward Crane, and members of the City Council and their wives. Famous visitors through the years included actor Tony Curtis and the entire cast of the “Boston Strangler” movie.
On March 28, 1976 a tragic three-alarm fire of “undetermined origin” ravaged Simeone’s. In 1977, Joe Simeone began a new career in the Cambridge Public Schools, supervising the cooking, food service, and catering operations of Enterprise Coop where high school drop-outs or potential drop-outs prepared, served food at the Teachers’ Cafeteria in the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and ran a sub shop. In 1981, Victor Simeone died of a heart attack at age 63 in Houston, Texas. Joe died in May 1988 at Mt. Auburn Hospital.
Archives and Memorabilia:
Cambridge Public Library. Cambridge Room Collection. Simeone’s Italian American Restaurant Memorabilia Collection, 1964. (with link to Finding Aid) Includes a short publication by Anthony Simeone, Recipes from Papa: Food, Family & Memories of Growing Up Italian American, that includes autobiographical musings alongside family recipes.
“Big Expansion Is Underway at Simeone‘s.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 3 March 1955, p.2.
“DEATHS.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 5 May 1988, p.17.
“Fire Sweeps Cambridge Restaurant.” Boston Herald American’s Cambridge Rambler, 29 March 1976, p.13.
“More obituaries.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 17 December 1981, p.10.
“Silver Anniversary Today For Simeone’s Restaurant.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 18 February 1971, p.6.
“Simeones Buy The White Spot.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 23 June 1960, p.13.
“Simeone’s Holds ‘Buffet Night’ Each Wednesday.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 9 April 1964, p.20.
“Simeone’s Names a Distributor for its Tomato, Meat Sauces.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 12 November 1953, p.20.
“Simeone’s New Restaurant Will Open Here Today.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 24 February 1949, p.11.
Spalding, Eliot. “Simeone’s Second Sareer is Helping City Students.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 27 May 1982, p.4. (includes photo of Joseph Simeone)
Spalding, Eliot B. “Simeone’s Swan Song Sung? or is Joe Mincing Words?” The Cambridge Chronicle, 2 December 1976, p.4.
“They Built Business On Father’s Recipes Four Brothers Pool Talents; Make Simeone’s A Success.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 19 February 1959, p.1
“Tony’ and ‘Joe’ Plan New Cafe on Pearl Street.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 14 February 1946, p.9.