Sunday, April 9, 2017
Boardwalk at 4th Street
James Joseph Sapia
James was born, Giacomo Giuseppe, the Son of Salvatore and Genoveffa. Along with his eight brothers and sisters he worked, in the family restaurant “The Neapolitan” located in Baltimore’s Little Italy; and like so many immigrant families they lived above their business – simply said James was at home near a kitchen.
Following in his brother Tony and sister Josie’s lead, both having opened businesses in Ocean City, “Tony and Thelma’s” on 2nd street and “Josie and Marie’s” on Caroline Street as well as “J&M Cafeteria” on 17th street, in 1972, James and Betty chose to realize several of their dreams first spending more time at the shore and second owning their own business. They leased the Monticello Hotel and Dinner Bell Restaurant from Gordon Harrington and along with their three sons headed to the beach for a new adventure.
In 1973 they purchased the Monticello Hotel and restaurant that they operated until 1982. In 1983 they purchased and operated the House of Pasta on the Boardwalk. In 1987 the Sapias opened DaVinci’s Restaurant and later The Ocean View Grill. At that point they made Ocean City their permanent home and never looked back. Betty and her son Vince, along with his family continue to operate the businesses today.
James and Betty were always supportive of the community and especially The Ocean City Downtown Association. James loved the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk and recognized the need to preserve and market this Eastern Shore Gem. As Ralph and Vince became more involved in various organizations and would share the problems of raising funds, James said, “At St. Leo’s Church we would make a fortune with a spaghetti dinner.” His long time friend Richard Thomas, past president of the Downtown Association, held him to it and the suggestion became James and Betty’s small contribution to the community.
Following James’ death in 2000, the Downtown Association named the annual dinner in his honor
Click here for photos of previous years.