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Pizza restaurateur rises to occasion with community involvement

Here is my latest for the South Seattle Beacon.

Joe Fugere’s story results in public meetings with President Obama

If there is one thing Joe Fugere believes in, it is getting involved.

Fugere opened his first Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria restaurant in Columbia City in January 2004, and as owner and founder, he has made it his mission to immerse himself in not just every aspect of the business but in the business of the surrounding community as well. He views his presence in the neighborhood as being part of a family, in which getting involved is natural.

“Just be a good family member,” he said. “I look at Tutta Bella as a member of the community. The concept of giving back doesn’t mean as much as being a part of [the community].”

Since the Columbia City restaurant opened, Fugere has opened Tutta Bella restaurants on Stone Way North in Wallingford, downtown in the Westlake area and in Issaquah. And with each restaurant, he has taken his commitment to involvement seriously — from traveling to Italy to meet the farmers and vendors for their pizza ingredients to holding fund-raisers at the restaurant and getting involved in community events.

Fugere credits his commitment toward others to his upbringing, saying his mother was always doing things for others.

“I don’t think of not doing it,” he said.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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