Ex-mobster, ‘Fat Ange’ and cafe exceed crowd-funding goal

Weighing more than 300 pounds, “Fat Ange” has tasted many things. But right now, Angelo Lutz is feasting on perhaps his most satisfying dish: vindication. The ex-mob associate-turned restaurateur (after a seven-year prison stay) encountered nothing but rejection from at least a dozen banks when he sought a $100,000 loan earlier this year to move his cramped, 11-table Kitchen Consigliere Cafe in Collingswood to roomier digs in the center of town. The banks told mob boss Joey Merlino’s former cook that they don’t lend to convicted felons, Lutz said. His 2001 conviction on racketeering, gambling, and extortion charges – food evidently wasn’t Lutz’s only weakness – also proved a turnoff to the talent scouts at ABC’s Shark Tank, the television showcase for entrepreneurs looking for funding. So Lutz turned to the public for help, hoping those with a passion for sausage and meatballs would have a soft spot for a flawed South Philadelphia bachelor who swears he’s now legit. On Aug. 13, he launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise $25,000 to help with operating expenses during the early days in the new place, the former Knight’s Bistro at Collings and Haddon Avenues. He reached his goal […]

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