Film a reality TV show on Staten Island and New Yorkers are bound to have opinions. But the cast of CNBC’s “Staten Island Hustle” is ready for the heat.
“They’re not gonna be able to hold themselves back from watching just to see what we’re gonna say next,” says Dom “The Boss” Detore.
The series follows a group of five Italian “hustlers” — Detore, Mike Palmer, Tony DeCicco, Adolfo LaCola and Ron Montana. The guys meet weekly at Angelina’s Ristorante to share business ideas over a plate of cold cuts, giving off a “Shark Tank” meets “Mob Wives” vibe.
On a Tuesday afternoon, the cast sat roundtable at amNewYork’s office where conversations that literally began with, “I got a guy for that” unfolded.
The six-word phrase just may become synonymous with the men who talk their own lingo of one-liners (“You can fix anything with a little Formaggio”) while piecing together ideas, connections and finances to back new products.
“We’re definitely different than everybody else, but in the same breath, the hustler spirit is everywhere,” Ron “The Hustler” Montana says.
Wait, what’s a hustler?
The banter between pals adds a comical touch to the series, but to these New Yorkers, it isn’t a joke; It’s a way of life.
“Hustling’s not a negative thing,” Montana explains. “I can hustle anything. I can sell water to a whale. I can sell ice to an Eskimo. I can do this all day.”
Each has their own story about finding ways as a child to earn money in Brooklyn, where many of them grew up. At the age of eight, Detore carried groceries to cars for a dime per trip and headed to Cheap Charlie’s candy store to trade in his earnings. That’s a hustle.
“I learned early on in life that if I want things, I have to go and get them on my own,” Detore explains, adding that he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t working side gigs.
Each cast member has their own primary profession, but dedication has them up at the crack of dawn to bring in extra cash.
Today, their names are tacked to on-the-rise products like the New York WaterMaker — which claims to replicate the city’s water for baking — and Just Add Lettuce — a salad dressing that has racked in $280,000 in sales, according to CNBC. How did it happen?
“You have to have personality, you have to have determination and you can’t take no for an answer. If you want something, you gotta go for it,” Mike “The Negotiator” Palmer explains.
There’s strength in numbers
Friends for more than 20 years, the guys opted to pool their resources to start investing in opportunities with bigger dollar signs.
“Everybody had their own side hustle going on and we decided, ‘hey, if we bring it together, there’s strength in numbers,’ and that’s how it all began,” Adolfo “The Professor” LaCola says.
The self-made businessmen each have their own role: Detore brings connections; DeCicco handles finances; Palmer does the negotiating; Montana tackles big-picture thinking, and LaCola is the planner.
Detore does contract work for their go-to spot Angelina’s, so the restaurant’s private third floor quickly became the site of the group’s collaborative lunches. “It’s like home to us,” he notes.