Michelle Martuscelli was born and raised in Walla Walla right around the corner from Cugini’s! Her grandparents were Italian immigrants who came over from Southern Italy in the early 1900s. Michelle’s grandpa, Dominichi, was a truck farmer and raised various crops on his property. Her grandma, Josephine, and all of Michelle’s aunts were wonderful cooks. Everything was homemade, authentic, traditional, and family oriented. The entire family, including cousins and extended family would get together for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Father’s Day. There would be a huge BBQ and they’d all play wiffle ball (not very Italian, but VERY fun!).
Both of Michelle’s parents were born and raised in the Walla Walla Valley, and her father spent his adult life helping her grandpa with his small produce farm, supplying the local stores with seasonal produce. Growing
up there were 9 people in Michelle’s family, and every one of them worked topping onions for Virgil Criscola at one point or another!
Michelle married her Danish husband Chad in 1995, and the two chose to live in Walla Walla to be near family. Together they are raising four amazing teenage children. When the opportunity arose to take over Cugini’s their family and friends encouraged them to take the leap. Fortunately they did, and the two haven’t looked back. Michelle’s genuine warm spirit and passion for cooking shines from the Cugini kitchen as she welcomes guests to the store and restaurant. It’s abundantly clear that she enjoys creating delicious food and watching others enjoy the experience of eating authentic Italian cuisine.