SAD FAREWELL TO PINO …
From The Phillip Island & San Remo Advertiser, July 1999.
‘The Phillip island community has been shocked and saddened this week at the sudden death of Pino Scarlato¸ the proprietor of Pino´s Trattoria in Thompson Avenue¸ Cowes¸ from a heart attack at the age of 56.´ Pino arrived on Phillip island in 1972….his dream was to build a fine restaurant and breathe life into Cowes . Twenty eight years later and much of his dream is true. His doors were always the last in Cowes to close at night…and if the street was ever quiet. Pino knew what to do. He turned the music louder.
Journey to Australia
Pino Scarlato was born in Calabria in the south of Italy in 1943, the first of five children, who worked hard from an early age to help support his younger brothers and sisters. At 16¸ he was the manager of a brick factory in Calabria . At 18¸ he joined the army and for two years served his country with great pride.
He came to Australia in 1967¸the only family member to do so¸ the others eventually settling in the USA . his was a close family¸ its members always keeping in touch. Initially¸ Pino worked in a smelting works in Clayton and then he spent time with Repco. But like most of his countrymen, he dreamed of running his own restaurant¸ and to Phillip Island he came in the early 1970’s¸ and set up the first takeaway shop to be established in Cowes . It was called Pino’s, and it was set up in style. Near enough was never good enough for Pino¸ and the best equipment was installed. He wanted the community to be proud of his efforts.
He was an excellent chef¸ although never professionally trained. He did enrol in classes once¸ but the lecturer sent him home¸ recognising that Pino knew more about cooking than he did.
For a period of time Pino joined his friend Eddie Fumagalli and the pair ran Isola Di Capri on the Esplanade corner in partnership. Pino met his wife Rosa while in America on holidays. rosa was a friend of Eddie’s wife Giovanna, and they married in Australia in March 1981.
Rosa shared Pino’s dream of building a ‘Trattoria’….that is, a family restaurant filled with happiness¸ laughter¸ eating¸ drinking¸ for spending time together… and in 1991 that dream became a reality with the opening of Pino’s Trattoria in Thompson avenue.
It was a great moment for Pino¸ but his dream was not yet complete. He also envisaged a touch of Italy in Cowes . Good food and wine¸ accompanied with music laughter and dancing. A convivial and cosmopolitan atmosphere became a new dream…and with Rosa ¸ he set about creating this. The premises were constantly expanded¸ and a warm welcome extended to literally thousands of visitors… so many whom became friends with the Scarlato family. Pino wanted people to go away happy … and come back again. His commitment was often 16 hours a day. He worked very hard, and during the Grand Prix time¸ he simply never left the restaurant.
He loved the motorcycle evens held out at the track, and was a firm favourite with many international teams that come here. The Italian teams were particularly welcomed and shown great hospitality and warmth. Each visit the friendships would be renewed, and Pino, Rosa and their three children¸ Annalisa, Romina and Luciano had wonderful times with these visitors over the Grand Prix and practice weekends. Many of these visitors have called from overseas, expressing their shock and sadness at the news of Pino’s passing.
As anyone who knew Pino will attest, he was passionate about a number of things. Above all about his family, and his wife and children of whom he was so proud; but also about the island, its community and its future. He took a strong interest in local politics, and expressed his opinions in a very firm manner. There was never any doubt about where Pino stood on local issues. but while he would argue his point ‘enthusiastically’, his hands gesturing in all directions, he would forget any difference of opinion five minutes later.
Horse racing was another of Pino’s passions. Fellow TAB patrons can attest to his zeal in this area. and He loved watching soccer. When Italy played in the World Cup in 1994, he drove around the town waving the Italian flag. Many wondered what he would have done if they won. In fact, if an Italian team was playing anywhere, Pino was loudly cheering them on.
He loved to go to Lygon Street in Melbourne , and always stayed there when visiting town Pino was a beautiful ballroom dancer. He had danced from childhood, in the Italian traditions, and loved nothing better than to dance with Rosa whenever the opportunity arose. Which was often.
There were regular family reunions, with trips across the Pacific, and weddings, christenings, parties and the like. Pino was also a proud dad. When the children played locally in their various sports, he had lots of advice to offer from the sidelines. He worked hard for his family, and his dream was also that one day that they may join him in the family business.
As the community mourns the passing of one of its most colourful characters this week, his friend Tony Cistullo paid tribute. He described a man who added to the culture of Cowes , who was always looking to create, and whose strong attachment to his Calabrian heritage remained in him always, enriching the lives of those who came into his sphere.
“He loved Phillip Island very much”, said Tony, “and always said he would never leave this place”. His wish has been fulfilled. Pino is survived by his wife Rosa, and children Annalisa, Romina and Luciano.