I am sad to report that Arthur O. Castraberti passed away on June 28, 2011. Arthur was basically the person responsible for owning and operating the Prince Pizzeria, a longtime roadside landmark located on U.S. Route 1 in Saugus, Mass. since 1961. It was originally part of a chain of restaurants started by the Prince Spaghetti Company of Lowell, Mass in the 1950’s, I believe. Other outlets of the chain were located in Somerville, Quincy and Hyannis, Mass. I have even seen an old photo of one in an existing building somewhere in downtown Boston. The outlets (other than Boston), including Saugus were notable for their “Leaning Tower of Pizza”, a painted metal sheathed structure attached to the buildings near the entrance, resembling the “Leaning Tower of Pisa (in Italy). The restaurants were known by the name “Prince Spaghetti House” when operated by Prince. The Saugus location is now the only one left!
As related by the current restaurant’s website, Castraberti was employed by Prince in 1961 and was approached by the President of the company to help turn the 12 seat drive-in restaurant into a possible money-maker. Thinking about the offer made him realize he did not want to put all his efforts into just running the restaurant for the company, so Arthur and Prince made a deal. No money down, no interest. Arthur had to make good on the failed business’ debts in 10 years and the place was his. Well as time has told, the business has become a huge success and the building has grown considerably in the intervening years. Prince Restaurant currently offers seating for about 700 people. It is also home to the 177 seat Giggles Comedy Club (formerly the Princess Room). Check out the full history at the restaurant’s website…. http://www.princerestaurant.com/Story.cfm
In 2005, Arthur’s son, Steven, took over ownership of Prince Pizzeria and runs it with his wife, Trisha, who oversees finance, marketing and recently redesigned the Comedy Club and function Rooms. I personally spoke with Steve last Friday when I stopped in on the way home from work to grab a Pizza. I want to extend my condolences to Steve and the rest of the family on his fathers passing.