A legendary merchant in Belmont was immortalized with a street naming near the store he ran for decades.
Mario Borgatti, proprietor of Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles on East 187th Street and a fixture in Belmont’s business and philanthropic efforts for decades, was posthumously honored with a street co-naming near his iconic business on Sunday, July 16.
Borgatti, whose parents started the business in 1935 and who later ran the shop before turning over its helm to his son Christopher Borgatti, was recalled as a humble man who was helpful and generous to those around him.
Councilman Ritchie Torres said that Borgatti was a widely respected business owner and community member in Belmont.
“He worked for 80 years at Borgatti Ravioli and Egg Noodles, establishing the store as a core business in Little Italy with generations of loyal customers,” said Torres. “Mario was extraordinarily generous, with both Mount Carmel Church and with needy residents who would come to the shop for lunch.”
The southeast corner of East 187th Street and Hughes Avenue will be henceforward co-named ‘Mario Borgatti Way,’ in honor of a man who was remembered by his son as having a great deal of humility.
Christopher Borgatti said that by working with his dad for four decades he personally got to witness him giving back to the community.
Among these instances were food (eggs and ravioli) and monetary donations to Part of the Solution on Webster Avenue, the Little Sisters of the Poor at Jeanne Jugan Residence in Throggs Neck and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
One of his earliest recollections of his father’s philanthropy was a donation of 30 dozen eggs around Easter to the Little Sisters of the Poor in the early days of the two men working together.
Mario Borgatti worked at his family business until a year or two before his passing at the age of 97 on October 8, 2014, his son said.
His philosophy when it came to making pasta products by hand was easily explained.
“He would say ‘make it like nonna would make,’” said Christopher, adding that it was his grandmother’s recipe Borgatti’s used.
Borgatti said he believes that his father’s sense of humility and generosity originated in his youth during the Great Depression and his religious faith.
His son said that his mother, Erma Contento Borgatti, was behind his father’s successes.
Frank Franz, community member and part of the Belmont Business Improvement District board, said he recalls standing in line outside Borgatti’s to buy noodles as so many did during the holidays.
“He made artisanal food before it was popular and charged a fair price,” said Franz, adding that he was both concerned about his business and generous.
Franz recalled that during the effort to form the Belmont BID, Mario Borgatti was someone who could be counted on.
“He was like everyone’s Italian grandfather,” said Franz.
Borgatti served in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the USS Prentiss, and was awarded Good Conduct, Asiatic-Pacific [one-star], American Theater and Victory medals.