The Veteran's Cafe Founders— Supporting Veterans, Honoring All
by Melissa LaScaleia
Introduce me to your family.
It’s my wife Rhonda and I, and we have a little wiener dog, a dachshund named Macie. I have a daughter, Michelle; and her husband, John; and their son, Elijah, and they live in Pennsylvania. John is U.S. Army retired. Rhonda has a daughter, Sonni, and her husband is Don, and they have three boys, C.J., Brendan, and Andrew.
Where are all the places you came from? Where do you live now?
Rhonda and I are originally from Downingtown, Pennsylvania, thirty miles west of Philadelphia. We moved here in 1990. Now we live in downtown Myrtle Beach.
Why did you move to Myrtle Beach?
I used to come down and play golf with friends, and I fell in love with the place. I brought Rhonda down here on a vacation and she fell in love with the place. And the next thing I knew, I was leaving the steel industry and moving to Myrtle Beach.
Do you have a favorite place in Myrtle Beach?
Pretty much wherever I’m at. The golf courses, and we like Angelo’s Restaurant, and Damon’s on Ocean Drive.
What are your favorite things to do here?
Go out to eat. Go spend time with friends, have a party at someone’s home.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Myrtle Beach?
I’m partial to the weather. It’s not really cold in the winter. Basically it’s the laid-back life. I remember when we moved here, we opened a Philadelphia-style deli, and I was waiting on an equipment delivery.
I was getting into my typical Philadelphia mentality, getting upset waiting. And someone saw me and said to me, “Son, you’re in the South now. If we can get to it tomorrow, we will. And if you understand this, it will take ten years off your life.”
Can you share one quirky thing with us about yourself?
I’m known to everyone as Mash.
Have you done anything new since moving down here?
I’m a U.S. Army veteran, and we opened The Veteran’s Cafe on Veteran’s Day in 2009. We started out as a mom-and-pop restaurant and posted in our menu that we were looking for photographs of people who served in the military. We ended up with a museum.
To this day, people are still bringing in things for us to hang on our walls. We honor all branches of the military and all the veterans who served. We have things from World War I up to the present day. The cafe is a meeting house for veterans, a place to come and tell their stories. Here they can let it all out.