WORCESTER – Sixteen years ago, Mark Piscillo opened the city’s first cigar bar within walking distance from his childhood home on Shrewsbury Street.
Piscillo, 58, a life-long resident of Worcester grew up on “Restaurant Row” and opened Victory Bar & Cigar with business partner Dave Breazzano of Wayland.
“[Breazzano] is the man who believed in me and my concept and invested in my location,” Piscillo said. The previous occupants at 56 Shrewsbury Street were Leo’s Ristorante for 30 years before they moved in 1986 to their current location at Leo Turo Way, right around the corner.
It was Leo’s Ristorante owner Fran Turo, and Piscillo’s uncle Tony Evangelista that inspired Piscillo to open Victory Bar. According to Piscillo, Evangelista owned a corner store on Main St. in downtown Worcester and Turo was a friend of the family and mentor to Piscillo and helped him hash out a long-term lease on Shrewsbury St.
From a young age, Piscillo may have already realized what type of business he would go into.
“My mother would say to me, ‘When you were four-years-old, other kids would cry for the ice cream truck and you would cry to go hangout with the old Italian guys smoking cigars outside the Boulevard Market [now the Flying Rhino],” Piscillo said.
During the 1990s, cigar sales made a comeback. Known as the “Cigar Boom,” the rebirth gave Piscillo’s Victory location in Sudbury time to take off before relocating the bar to his hometown of Worcester. [The original Victory Cigar in Sudbury is still open under new ownership.]
“I timed it perfectly. When I opened, that’s when the major manufacturers that I buy cigars from started to open new accounts,” Piscillo said. Now, Victory stores more than 150 different varieties of cigars from locations across the globe, including Honduras, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
“It’s a great place to relax,” Piscillo said of Victory, which is also the bar’s motto: “When it’s time to relax…”
“A lot of friendships have been developed here, and networking for businesses. This bar is a lot like ‘Cheers’,” Piscillo said, adding that a lot of credit for his success is due to his “finely trained staff.”
Victory Bar & Cigar is open seven days a week: Monday thru Saturday 12 PM to 2 AM and Sundays 1 PM to 2 AM.
See below: A special Follo’s Cigar Review at Victory Bar & Cigar:
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Freiber Betancourth, a 30-year-old Worcester man, was sentenced in federal court today to 12 months and one day in prison today for drug trafficking charges.