All In The Family

Franceschini surrounded by community supporters Johnny Fuentes (left) of Mineola, Peter Wain (third from left) of Williston Park, and Robert’s son, James (right)

Restaurateur Robert Franceschini makes community contributions through legacy of late wife

It was 1985 when prominent Long Island restaurateur Robert Franceschini, who had earned an outstanding reputation as a talented young New York City chef, launched Piccolo’s where his wife, Debra Ann worked side-by-side with him to establish their genuine family Italian restaurant. Between Franceschini’s culinary skills and Debra Ann’s warm hospitality, many Long Islanders discovered Piccolo’s.

Franceschini and Debra Ann’s two sons, Robert Jr., and Jim began working in the restaurant to make Piccolo’s a true family affair.

Unfortunately, Debra Ann passed away at age 59 in 2006. Together with his children and family members, Franceschini has seen to it that his wife lives on through a series of community fundraisers.

The Debra Ann Franceschini Golf Classic was held on Aug. 6 at Hempstead Country Club to benefit a 50-year-old Garden City-based nonprofit organization, Life’s WORC/The Family Center for Autism. About $30,000 was raised at the event.

Life’s WORC/The Family Center for Autism provides a variety of services to some 2,000 people in the developmental disabilities community, and about 200 people with autism. In September, The Family Center For Autism, located at 1517 Franklin Ave.) will be recognizing Debra Ann Franceschini. Chef Robert will be preparing a spectacular lunch with Italian delicacies for people with autism and their family members.

“Through this fundraising and community outreach, this is the spirit of Debra Ann,” said Franceschini. “She always loved getting involved, participating and helping out.”

For more information, visit and www.thefamily

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