Family and heritage are important to Michael de Andrea, the owner / chef who opened McCulloch at Icon last month.
Both are reflected in the decoration and cuisine of the Italian restaurant.
In the early 1970s, de Andrea’s deceased parents Anthony and Josephine opened a road house restaurant in Staten Island, New York, which is still in business.
Many of the dishes in McCulloch are prepared using their own recipes and those created by other relatives of de Andrea before them.
“Italians are very superstitious,” said de Andrea. “That’s why we don’t want to change anything. We want to keep everything as we have done for 75 years ”.
Black and white photos of De Andrea’s family members hang on the walls in McCulloch’s dining room.
“I named the restaurant after my mother,” said de Andrea. “Magaluso is her first name.”
De Andrea moved to Icon from Florida last year, where the first Magaluso was founded in 1999 in Miami Beach.
It has been around for nearly 20 years and has attracted clients including singer-songwriter Billy Joel and Miami Dolphins manager Dan Shula.
De Andrea then decided to start Magaluso & Co., an Italian-American market and restaurant south of Miami.
Go to the first year in the Blue Canoe sector
It took shortly before De Andrea got tired of dealing with rentals and landowners in South Florida.
“Miami is a beautiful city, but it’s no longer ideal for my brand,” said de Andrea. “It became a very touristic city and many families left”.
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D’Andrea went online to look for a property to buy without paying attention to any particular place.
“I would have gone to the North Pole if I had seen a building that spoke to me through my intuition,” said de Andrea. “I ended up with about 14 seats to take and my mind went back to 145 York Street (SE) in Icon.”
This is the address of Linda’s Bistro, owned by Linda Rooney.
De Andrea and his girlfriend Tonia Sanchez went to visit Aiken. They met Linda and loved her so much. They also fell in love with the icon.
“It was like going to heaven,” de Andrea said. “It was so beautiful, all the greenery and the streets. People were so kind and sweet. ”
The agreement for the purchase of Linda’s bistro site was finalized last October.
De Andrea’s only regret is that Rooney died before the iconic version of Magaluso was up and running.
“She really wanted us here,” said de Andrea. “We heard that you turned down others who tried to buy the building because they liked us.”
McCulloch’s opening hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 6pm to 11pm. The kitchen closes at 10:30 every night.
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“I use the best ingredients: the best imported olive oils and the best tomatoes,” said de Andrea. “I make my meatballs and my sausages. I cook with pastos imported from de Seco. A man from Colombia makes me ravioli by hand. ”
McCulloch Marinara Sauce is homemade.
The menu includes a variety of pizzas and dishes such as Grandma Lena’s Ravioli and Peas, McCulloch’s Staten Island Baked Ricadoni with Chicken Farm, Chicken Picante with Ricadoni and Sausage and Broccoli Rabe with Imported Pasta.