GOING STRONG: Jimmy Petroccitto with his wife Lynette and son Giuseppe .
GOING STRONG: Jimmy Petroccitto with his wife Lynette and son Giuseppe . Jared Vethaak

Restaurant king just keeps going and growing at 62

THE next time you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, think of Jimmy Petroccitto.

This 62-year-old runs a mini-restaurant empire in Brisbane that requires him to rise at 3.30 every morning.

"Yes, I'd like to stay in bed, but the minute my feet hit the ground, I'm off,” he said.

With his wife Lynette and son Giuseppe, Jimmy owns and operates Santa Monica, Cafe & Bar Pacino, Bellezza Espresso Bar, Metropole Bar Eatery, Punch Espresso Bar, Chocolate Soldier, Espresso Veloce, Espresso Emporium and the newly opened Short Street Espresso.

Not bad for the son of an immigrant from Sicily who arrived in Australia in 1948 with nothing but high hopes.

"My father's name was Giuseppe,” Jimmy said. "If he was alive today I'd give my right arm for him to see what we've achieved.”

Raised in Stanthorpe and Sydney, Jimmy was involved in the family bakery, Petro's Cake Shop, delivering bread and "doing whatever had to be done” since he was a young boy.

A family relocation to Brisbane 27 years ago meant Jimmy continued the family operation with Petro's Cake Shop in Brisbane.

It was a time when Brisbane's coffee palate was just stirring and fortunately Jimmy had the vision to jump on board.

"I decided I wanted to get into the coffee scene in about 1999 or 2000,” he said.

There followed extraordinary growth with bar, cafe and restaurant openings continuing up until last month, with no sign of stopping.

"When I had one (business) I thought, 'maybe another one' and it just kept going,” Jimmy laughed. "I don't go chasing stuff, but when an opportunity comes up I love the challenge.”

That energy is matched by Jimmy's wife Lynette, one year younger than him, who does all the baking for all the outlets.

"She makes everything, from the extravagant cakes down to the cream buns ... and she brags about her cannoli,” Jimmy said.

Jimmy's son Giuseppe is also a major player in the business.

He keeps up with his father's passions and with him runs the business, which employs 85 staff.

There is no thought of retirement for Jimmy and his wife Lynette.

"You are never too old for anything,” he said.


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