George & Donna Burdick Business Award

MCCF

Fiorillo's Restaurant (Vince & Elaine Fiorillo) are the 2021 Recipients

2021 Austen Warburton Award winners Craig & Linda Connelly had this to say about Vince Fiorillo... "To say that he was generous is the biggest understatement there is. His wasn't a big show, that wasn't his style. He just took care of things."

Vince Fiorillo - a self-made man with a 10th grade education - and his beloved wife, Elaine were natives of Brooklyn, N.Y. who moved to Silicon Valley in 1972, first landing in Sunnyvale, and then eventually moving to Monte Sereno. They opened the V.I.P. Delicatessen in East Palo Alto more than 40 years ago, where he and Elaine worked seven days a week. But Vince loved making pizza, and soon changed the restaurant's name to V.I.P. Pizza, where customers literally snaked outside the door waiting for slices, his family said. They moved the restaurant again to Sunnyvale, naming it Fiorillo's, and soon after that relocated to Santa Clara on El Camino Real. Then, in 1999, he built his own restaurant a mile south, renaming it (slightly) to Fiorillo's Restaurant & Banquets.

The Fiorillo family has been part of Santa Clara since the restaurant on El Camino Real first opened. Mission City Community Fund board member Robin Burdick remembers that it was the place for families and friends to gather and celebrate birthdays, cast parties, anniversaries, and holidays. "Being at Fiorillo's was like being at home. Vince and Elaine were always there to greet you with open arms, wonderful meals and great conversation."

Vince's passing in 2010 was a great loss to his family, friends and to the City of Santa Clara. Son Michael Fiorillo and daughter Renee Fiorillo Kelly were moved by how many people's lives were touched over the years by their parents, evident by the many stories of their generosity shared by friends, colleagues, and complete strangers.

"Everywhere he went, people thought my dad was a celebrity," said Fiorillo's daughter, Renee Fiorillo Kelly. "It didn't matter, a plane, a restaurant in Texas. He'd talk to strangers and say, 'Hey, how you doing?' And we'd be like, 'Dad, come on, we gotta go.' He would walk into a room, and was a magnet." Aside from his animated personality, Renee said her father also was the main chef at the restaurant.

And while Fiorillo was fun-loving and gregarious about most things, he and his wife were private about their generosity to others.

Vince and Elaine Fiorillo never forgot where they came from and were there whenever there was a need to fill - local churches, youth programs like Pop Warner, PAL soccer, Little League, and Kaiser Hospital are just a few of those who benefited from the kindness of Vince and Elaine. Friends or customers would tell them about someone who was in need - funeral costs for a family who couldn't afford the expense, food for the hungry, medication or bills for an elder member of the community - all these would be covered quietly with no fanfare or expectation of recognition.

The quiet warmth and generosity of Vince, Elaine and the entire Fiorillo family has enriched the lives of those around them and made life better in Santa Clara as a whole. For these reasons, they are most certainly deserving of Mission City Community Fund's 2021 George & Donna Burdick Business Award.




George Burdick was a co-founder of the Mission City Community Fund. He also founded Burdick Painting which grew to one of the largest commercial and residential painting companies in the County. George and his beloved wife, Donna, always found time to offer his assistance to the community through clubs, church and volunteer organizations. His reputation was that of a "get it done now the right way" kind of person and was a motto he lived by. The vision and generosity of the Burdick name was a cornerstone in the success of MCCF.

Each year, MCCF now honors a local business which has demonstrated the qualities of community service, philanthropy and constructive contributions to a better way of life for our citizens. This award is presented each year at our annual Dinner Dance, which this year is held at the Santa Clara Convention Center Mission Ballroom. If you would like to nominate a business which reflects the values of service and vision of George and Donna Burdick, please download a Nomination Form.

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2008 - Richard Rossi (Master Precision Machining)
2009 - Gary Gillmor (Gillmor & Associates Realty)
2010 - Michael Blach (Blach Construction)
2011 - Dave DeLozier (Peterson's Insurance)
2012 - Tony Avelar (Santa Clara Realty)
2013 - Lou Pellegrini (Mission Trail Waste Systems)
2014 - Lou Mariani (Mariani's Inn)
2015 - Ravinder Lal
2016 - The Heintz Family (University Electric)
2017 - The Holder Family
2018 - China Stix
2019 - Applied Materials
2020 - Gary Filizetti of Devcon Construction
2021 - Vince & Elaine Fiorillo (Fiorillo's Restaurant)

 

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