The foray into food service industry for the 21st Century’s “Dapper Don” was short lived, yet memorable. Alleged Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino is getting out of the restaurant business.

According to sources connected to the stylish Merlino and a gossip website, Skinny Joey’s Italian eatery, Merlino’s, located in downtown Boca Raton, Florida, is up for sale ( broke the news Wednesday night in a story you can read here). The sticker price: $400,000. Not a bad deal for a piece of property Skinny Joey’s investors are said to have poured upwards of two million bucks into since it was bought and opened less than two years ago.

Skinny Joey himself doesn’t actually own the now-shuttered restaurant, but was the face of the establishment, often present front and center greeting patrons, shaking hands and snapping photos with the public to be posted on social media. Merlino himself maintains Twitter and Instagram accounts and would often “like” the postings of photos by customers of them posing with him.

Receiving sold-to-good reviews by food critics for its cuisine filled with his mom’s recipes, Merlino’s never hurdled Skinny Joey’s reputation and secured a liquor license. It shut its’ doors late last month. The business had recently “reopened” under new management, Skinny Joey bringing in his wife Debbie to help run the place.

The 54-year old Merlino moved to South Florida in 2011 after his release from more than a decade in federal prison (racketeering conviction). The FBI thinks he’s running the Philadelphia mafia from his digs in Boca Raton, using a series of trusted intermediaries shuffling back and forth between South Philly and South Florida to rule from afar. Federal law enforcement in both the City of Brotherly Love and the Sunshine State are actively investigating Merlino’s affairs.

Skinny Joey is alleged to take bi-monthly meetings with proxies to discuss business related to the crime family he fought and won a war for as a hotshot thirtysomething wiseguy back in the 1990s. His best friend and reputed underboss Steven (Handsome Stevie) Mazzone was visiting down in Boca Raton over Memorial Day Weekend.

Related Post

Leave a Reply