A SMILING face, familiar to hundreds of local folks, is missing from behind the counter at Pastore's. Les Rizzo, uncrowned king of the local delicatessen scene, has retired.
It's been a good life for Nello and Lucy Rizzo's son.
The Italian kid from Essex transformed the cooking artistry learned from his parents and their knowledge of their homeland's cuisine into a successful business that has become an institution in the county.
Les and his wife, Margie, a Riviera Beach native, opened the original Pastore's in September 1966 at 2905 Mountain Road. The site is now the home of Kent Island Crabs.
The first few years are always the toughest, and that was true for the Pastores. Within a short time, the business had to relocate. The Rizzos purchased the old Hillman's Corner landmark, at the corner of Mountain and Hog Neck roads, on April Fool's Day, 1967.
They moved their family and the business into the big, old green house, living upstairs and running the store downstairs.
Over the the next 20 years or so, they raised two daughters, Michella and Tina, and built up a reputation in the community for good food and service.
By the late 1980s, the business had outgrown the old green building, and the current Pastore's Plaza was born.
Cutting back, not retirement, was Les' plan. Brian and Sue Metzbower joined the crew as co-owners, and that offered some easing of Les' hectic schedule.
But he decided over the course of a few weeks to retire instead.
"I experienced the loss of several family friends recently, and I realized that life was too short not to live it a little," he said. Never seeking the limelight, Les thought that he would get out of the business fast, short-circuiting any hoopla over his departure. That was not to be, though, not after 30 years.
Pastore's employees threw a surprise party April 27 at the Riviera Beach fire hall. "I was totally surprised, I never wanted the attention, but now that I look back on it, I had a great time," Les said.
Now, almost two weeks into retirement, he's almost done with the thank-you cards. Les has played golf, traveled to Ocean City with Margie, visited the store and relaxed, something new. He doesn't miss the fast pace, just seeing his customers. Many of them are former employees, high schoolers all grown up with youngsters in tow, stopping in to pick up a quick meal and to say "hi."
Thanks for 30-plus, Les and Margie. We'll see you around the Plaza.
Children's Day Fair
This Mother's Day weekend, consider taking Mom to the annual Children's Day Fair at Sunset Elementary School. It will be held from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. tomorrow on the school grounds. Kid's games, a make-and-take craft table, face painting, a used-toy mart, food and refreshments will be featured.
At 11 a.m., a band featuring musicians from High Point, Riviera Beach and Sunset elementary schools will give a concert, with John Barzall conducting. Jean Frazier is coordinating this year's event.
Proceeds will go toward classroom and computer equipment. Information: 410-222-6478.
Mount Carmel Child Care and Preschool, at Mount Carmel United Methodist Church, will hold a "Trike-a-thon" to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at 10 a.m. Thursday and May Cindy Hart, program director, said that children in preschool and child care will ride a course on the church parking lot. Riders will seek sponsors, with the proceeds benefiting St. Jude's.
"We are aiming at making children aware of bicycle safety at an early age through the use of this program ," Hart said.
The Providence Center and the county Police Department are combining forces to promote bicycle safety through a bike rodeo for children ages 6 to 10. It starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow in front of the Helix HealthPark, 8109 Ritchie Highway.
The day will begin with a short bicycle safety class and with special appearances by the Crash Test Dummies, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the county K-9 Division and Motorcycle Unit.
Each child attending will receive free raffle tickets for drawings held throughout the day.
Children must be present to win.
The event is free and open to the public, but only a limited number of children can participate in the rodeo.
Information: Holly Scott, 410-431-7290.
The Chesterfield Homeowners Association is sponsoring a flea market from 8 a.m. to noon tomorrow at the Crystal Palace pool area.
Information: Cindy Rush, 410-255-4794.
Pub Date: 5/09/97