Food & Drink

‘Skinny Joey’ Merlino’s Boca Raton restaurant closes

Crime might not pay as well as it used to.

Merlino’s, the Boca Raton Italian restaurant fronted by accused Philadelphia mob boss “Skinny JoeyJoseph Merlino, closed for good last week and is on the market for $399,000.

With a menu based on recipes from Skinny Joey’s mom, the restaurant was opened by investors in early 2015.

At 54, and with most of his adult life spent in federal pens on convictions for racketeering, Merlino couldn’t own the liquor license. So his official title was maître d’.

While the joint benefited from a positive buzz early on, the interest died down within months.

And it didn’t help that Merlino, the star attraction, went back to the slammer for four months in the wake of the grand opening because, authorities said, he violated his parole when he sat down with fellow Mafia don John “Johnny Chang” Ciancaglini at a Boca cigar bar.

“They spent at least $1 million in that place,” said listing agent Tom Prakas. “It’s a perfect place for anyone who wants to start a great restaurant. It’s probably in the best area of Boca.”

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