One Family Hands Off to Another in Little Italy

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The Mesa and Santacecilica families shake hands as a restaurant changes hands

TSD friend and Wilmington real estate maven Paul Pantano recently shared some news with us about the sale of a building housing a longtime Little Italy institution, Tommy’s Ice Cream Parlor. Tommy’s was owned by the Santacecilias, a proud Italian-American family, and served generations of Wilmingtonians through the 60’s and 70’s.


The real estate has been sold to a Dominican-American Family, Orfania Maria and Andy Mesa, who dreamed of opening a restaurant in Wilmington since moving from New York in 2014. In fact, one year ago Orfania and Andy opened their Dominican-influenced Tropicalia Restaurant under a rental agreement at 4th and DuPont Streets — the former Tommy’s Ice Cream location.

Tropicalia Restaurant enjoyed quick success in its first year. With a desire to renovate and believing ownership might be a prudent business decision, the Mesas took steps to purchase the property. Pantano credits a number of businesses with helping the Mesas realize their dream, including First State Loan Corp, PNC Bank, Ward & Taylor and others. “This is an example of the American Dream in action,” said Pantano. “One great family has sold to another! Great things really are happening in Wilmington,” he said. Buenas Suerte!
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Troplicalia Restaurant in Wilmington

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