'Taste of Weehawken' gets celebrity touch Hoboken native Corrado from NBC's The Restaurant will serve as maître d' for fund-raising event
by Jim Hague Reporter staff writer
Apr 16, 2004 | 1642 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Alex Corrado signed on to serve as the maître d' for the NBC reality show The Restaurant, which takes place at a Manhattan restaurant owned and operated by Rocco DiSpirito, the Hoboken native didn't know how the show would be received.

"I honestly didn't know what to expect," said the 42-year-old Corrado, who has been an actor for the last seven years. "They literally spent hundreds of hours filming. I didn't know what was being kept in and what was taken out. I think a lot of my best work was left on the cutting-room floor."

However, the show was extremely popular with viewers, and NBC has ordered six new episodes of The Restaurant, which will air beginning on April 19.

Corrado returns as the big man at the door - the official greeter and social director.

On Thursday, April 22, Corrado will do more of the same, serving as host of the fourth annual Taste of Weehawken, which will be held at the Food Court at Lincoln Harbor from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The event is the annual fund-raiser for the Weehawken Free Public Library. This year, all monies raised will go to the library's Building Fund.

Nearly 30 local restaurants, caterers, and eateries will donate dishes to the cause. A variety of samplings will be served throughout the evening. The following prestigious restaurants are scheduled to participate: Amanda's, Puerto Spain, The Madison Bar and Grill, and The Brass Rail of Hoboken; and Paula at Rigoletto, Ruth's Chris Steak House, The Chart House, Spirito Grill, and Arthur's Landing of Weehawken.

Corrado, who has appeared in popular movies including Hannibal, Dinner Rush, and The Hebrew Hammer, will serve in whatever capacity necessary to help the cause.

"I always love to give back to the community that I love," said Corrado, who continues to pursue other acting roles when not operating his scooter business, Scooterama, in Hoboken. "Even though I travel all over the world in acting roles, I always remain a Hudson County guy at heart."

Corrado was contacted by Hudson County Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons, whose public relations firm is promoting the event on behalf of the library.

"Maurice called me and asked me if I would appear," Corrado said. "With my exposure from Rocco's and The Restaurant, it seemed natural for me to do it. I guess he thought that I had hobnobbing experience. Plus, it coincides with the first episode of the second season, so it worked perfectly for me."

Corrado said that he was aware of the Taste of Hoboken fund-raisers - similar affairs that raise money to support the Hoboken YMCA - but he didn't know about the Weehawken event.

"I'm very familiar with A Taste of Hoboken," Corrado said. "All the finest restaurants get together for a good cause, spotlighting their best dishes. I will do whatever is asked of me. I know one thing's for sure. I won't eat lunch that day, so I can have plenty of room for the variety of tasty treats."

Corrado is happy with his role on The Restaurant, which has gained him more notoriety than some of his movie roles.

"I know NBC has ordered more episodes of the show even before these six episodes are aired, so it's definitely popular," Corrado said. "I travel a lot and I'm recognized all over for it."

Corrado has become popular on the show for singing opera tunes with DiSpirito's mother.

"We're a road favorite, me and Mama," Corrado laughed. "We're going to become a lounge act, called Mama and Meatballs. We have a bit of a cult following."

Was on 'Sex'

Corrado said he also gets recognized for his performance on Sex and the City, when he encouraged the ladies to act as Lady Luck in a gambling scene.

"People don't realize how hard it is to get a part on that show," Corrado said. "There were about 150 guys auditioning. It was ridiculous. It's always tough to find a good gig."

But Corrado keeps searching. One project he's involved with is a sitcom pilot for the FX network entitled Arthur Avenue. This pilot is produced by Anthony and Joe Russo, who brought the popular comedy Arrested Development to FOX. Corrado is set to play Joe Bananas, a fruit salesman, in the pilot.

"It's all based on my friend Marco Greco's one-man show, 'Behind the Counter with Mussolini,' which is a very funny show," Corrado said. "It's about food, family, and friends, things that I can relate to."

Greco portrayed Corrado's brother in the movie Hannibal starring Anthony Hopkins - a movie in which both Corrado and Greco meet a graphic demise.

After that pilot is shot, Corrado will head to Montreal in June to begin filming Crank, an adventure movie starring Seann William Scott of American Pie fame.

"It's a movie about a hit man who has 24 hours to live," Corrado said. "I play an older hit man."

Corrado also keeps busy with his scooter business. "But, of course, I'm waiting for my Oscar-winning role," Corrado said. "And the day I get to hostSaturday Night Live."

For now, he'll have to settle for hosting A Taste of Weehawken.

The fourth annual Taste of Weehawken will be held Thursday, April 22, at the Food Court at Lincoln Harbor, 1200 Harbor Blvd., in Weehawken, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $50. For $25, guests may attend the 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. session. For $50, guests also have access to an extra hour, a cooking demonstration, and a chance to win a four-night stay in Aruba. There will also be plenty of door prizes. Advance tickets are available at the Weehawken Free Public Library, but tickets are also available at the door. For further information, contact the library at (201) 863-7823.
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