Our Heritage

For Generations the Maggio Families have servered Annapolis, MD and it’s surrounding communities.

A Brief History of La Rosa and the Maggio’s

Rosario “Sam” Maggio was born February 19, 1889 in Cefalu, Sicily.  He immigrated to America in 1910 and settled in Baltimore where he started his business selling fruit from sidewalk stands. He moved to Annapolis in 1915 and together with his cousin Antonio Maggio operated the first produce store in the Annapolis area.

In August of 1919 he returned to Cefalu, Sicily to visit his family. While sitting on the balcony of his home, he was enamored by a beautiful redhead, Rosa Bianco, walking to church with her father. The Maggio and Bianco families arranged an introduction, which led to their marriage on October 21, 1919.

From the warm and sunny Cefalu, Rosario and his bride arrived in Annapolis on Christmas Eve 1919 in the midst of a snowstorm. Rosa was astonished and bewildered by this phenomena she had never previously experienced.

They were blessed with six children. Giuseppe who died in infancy, Rose Mary, Joseph, Harry, Catherine, who died tragically at age two, and Anna. After Giuseppe died, Rosa was depressed and homesick for her family in Cefalu, Rosario sent for her family; her mother, brother and two sisters. They arrived in Annapolis September 27, 1921 eight days after Rose Mary was born.

Rosario liquidated his partnership with Antonio and subsequently operated his own produce store at 188 Main Street in Annapolis. He was one of the first produce dealers in Annapolis to hold a contract to supply the US Naval Academy.

A typical Italian entrepreneur in every sense of the word, in 1924 he purchased the property at 113 Main Street (the present location of O’brian’s restaurant) He owned and operated the first Bowling alley named The Roma Bowling Alley and grill. (My dad Joe and Uncle Harry told us that setting the bowling pins by hand was a difficult and sometimes dangerous job) In 1938 he sold his four lanes of bowling equipment and changed the name of his establishment to The Mayflower Cafe and Hotel.

Joe and Harry joined the Army and went overseas to serve our country in 1943, both of them were nearly killed in action while storming the beaches of Normandy, France. They returned and were released from service in 1945 and 1946. In 1948 Rosario and his two sons Joe and Harry together changed the name of the establishment to LaRosa Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge.

During his career, Rosario (Sam) and his sons introduced many “Firsts” to the Annapolis scene including; first bowling alley, first night club featuring dance bands and floor shows, first dinner theater offering such productions as “The Drunkard”, “Dracula” (I remember being scared to death as a little kid of the actor who played Dracula), “Arsenic and Old Lace” the musical “Show Boat” to name a few, first Italian Restaurant and of coarse the introduction of the First pizza ever sold in Annapolis. (Plain pizzas were $1.50 and they were BIG)

Sam Maggio was a well-known, respected and active Annapolitan with charter memberships in the local Italian American Club and the local Elks Lodge. His love of family, friends, employees and life is legendary, his generosity was extraordinary. Aunt Anna said he would give people in need, money and food daily and would never ask for anything in return and did it happily. He was known and loved as Mister Sam. To this day people stop me on the street and tell me stories of Mr. Sam, to many to remember. My Grandpa Sam’s Portrait hangs on the wall in my office, it is comforting to have him looking over my shoulder.

Ironically, Rosario “Sam” Maggio died on Christmas Eve 1958, the same day he brought his bride Rosa to Annapolis in 1919.

Special Thanks, To; Aunt Rose, Uncle Harry and Aunt Anna for providing information for our company history. Aunt Rose authored most of the above history for a piece run in Le Parole in March of 2000, member profile, Order Sons of Italy In America, Annapolis Lodge 2225.

Our logo and slogan “Serving Annapolis for Generations” was created by the late Mike Kumer who established and owned Annapolis Signs he used a 1958 cocktail card (Aunt Rose gave it to me) from the restaurant to tap into our family history.