Ma Raffa’s on Rockdale Ave over in the South End is famous for their Italian food and thin crust pizza. But what else has made this family restaurant so popular is the name behind the restaurant, and that would be Tilo Raffa who founded the very popular restaurant in 1956. Sadly, Tilo passed away last week after his long battle with cancer.

Back in 1956, Tilo was an employee at Aerovax but wanted to “be his own boss”. He put together his mother’s Italian recipes, which of course was the inspiration for the restaurants name, Ma Raffa’s. Tilo built his business on not only home cooked Italian dishes but a warm and welcoming atmosphere that made his customers feel like they were part of the Ma Raffa family. Many will miss him as customers remember how he really enjoyed making others smile.

Ma Raffa’s in New Bedford will be celebrating 60 years in business next year. There is a second location in Somerset, which is run by his son Dominic Raffa.