Amedeo “Dick” DeAngelis, whose Italian restaurant Amedeo’s serves as a Raleigh shrine to N.C. State athletics, died Wednesday. He was 85.
DeAngelis was a former all-ACC football player, starring on the Wolfpack’s first ACC Championship team in 1957.
But his legacy is the Italian restaurant bearing his name on Western Boulevard in Raleigh, which has stood as one of the city’s centers of N.C. State fandom for decades.
DeAngelis returned to Raleigh from his hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania, after his playing days and opened Amedeo’s Italian Restaurant in 1963 with his wife, Betty DeAngelis. His son-in-law, Dave Parker, who curates the restaurant’s countless pieces of Wolfpack memorabilia, said DeAngelis knew there was a need for authentic Italian-American food in Raleigh.
“I heard him say many times, ‘Before Amedeo’s, Italian food in Raleigh was ketchup on white bread,’” Parker said. “His personality was infectious; everyone loved him.”
DeAngelis’ death was announced on social media by the restaurant he co-founded with his brother.
“Our founder, Amedeo “Dick” DeAngelis peacefully passed away this morning after several years of declining health,” Amedeo’s said on Twitter. “There aren’t enough characters on Twitter to express how much he will missed.”
Amedeo’s is now owned by David Harris, Rodney Byrd and DeAngelis’ daughter and son-in-law, Jill and Dave Parker.
A Wolfpack star
DeAngelis came to N.C. State on a football scholarship in 1953, the year the Atlantic Coast Conference was founded, playing most of his years under coach Earle Edwards.
“He’d say he was a tackle both ways,” Parker said. “If they didn’t get a first down, he’d run down under the punt and then play defense.”
After coaching high school football for a few years after graduation, DeAngelis and his wife moved to Raleigh to open the restaurant.
A Wolfpack hot spot
The red and white checkered tablecloths at Amedeo’s would look at home in any Italian-American restaurant. But make no mistake, these colors are for N.C. State.
Amedeo’s was a major presence for Wolfpack athletics, former N.C. State basketball player Lou Pucillo said. It drew former athletes, current coaches, alums in town for a game and generations of Wolfpack stars to dine on plates of lasagna and Italian sandwiches.
Pucillo recalled sitting at a table once with a large group, including DeAngelis and then N.C. State basketball coach Jim Valvano in the days after Wolfpack star Derek Whittenburg had broken his ankle and looked to doom the team’s 1983 season.
“We were all crying in our beer of course,” Pucillo said. “And the schedule is hanging up in Amedeo’s, and we’re all counting likely wins and losses. I say ‘I think a 16-14 record is not too bad. Valvano said he thought they could do better than that and boy was he right.”
That “Cardiac Pack” team would win the 1983 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Lots of Wolfpack treasure
Beyond the Wolfpack personalities, Amedeo’s was filled with the relics and treasure of N.C. State triumphs.
For more than a decade, the two N.C. State basketball national championship banners hung on the ceiling, before eventually making their way back to a renovated Reynold Colliseum in 2017. There are decades of football bowl game banners hanging down from the Amedeo’s rafters, hundreds of black and white photos on the wall, framed jerseys and booths in the dining room named after Wolfpack greats, including Valvano and Pucillo.
“Amedeo’s is a staple for N.C. State fans,” said former Wolfpack Club executive director Bobby Purcell. “A lot of Wolfpackers eat dinner there, it’s kind of a museum for Wolfpack athletics.
“And the food is good. But a lot of it is being around (DeAngelis), being around him was always a lot of fun. He was a wonderful human being, always jovial, always welcoming.”