Society / Featured Parties

Beloved Mom of a Top Houston Restaurateur Gets a Spotlight Moment — Rosie Carrabba Makes Her Son Proud, Keeps Everyone Laughing

An Italian Moment In River Oaks

BY // 09.19.22
photography Michelle Watson

Bellissimo! What better way to describe the gathering of Italophiles and those of Italian heritage who filled the River Oaks Country Club ballroom to honor one of Houston’s great nonnas during the Italian Cultural & Community Center‘s annual fashion show and luncheon.

So much energy. So much excitement. With Italian fashions, Italian music and Mamma Mia inspiring auction items, the event earned high-five ratings.

Headlining the “Celebrating the Jewels of Italy” fundraiser was the beloved Rosie Carrabba, matriarch of the Italian restaurant clan of the same surname, who can regularly be seen welcoming guests at the Carrabba’s restaurant on Voss.

Introducing his mother, wildly successful restaurateur Johnny Carrabba found himself fighting off an overt display of emotion, the love already shown more than enough to affirm their close relationship. During his remarks, Johnny Carrabba allowed that asking his mother to stand duty at the Tanglewood/Memorial restaurant was the best business decision he ever made. The staff loves her and so do the diners.

ICCC Annual Luncheon (Photo by Michelle Watson)
Johnny Carrabba with his mother and luncheon honoree Rosie Carrabba at the Italian Cultural & Community Center Luncheon at River Oaks Country Club (Photo by Michelle Watson)

And so did the luncheon guests as Mama Carrabba launched into a series of colorful jokes that had the audience roaring with laughter. Never mind that her son had advised her, no jokes.

Luncheon chairs Sandra Porter and Gina Gusemano Leck filled the event with entertainment including a Neiman Marcus fashion presentation of Italian designers, an Italian opera aria sung by University of Houston Moores School of Music’s Bailey Bower, auction items and raffle prizes including baubles from Tenenbaum.

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