LOMBARD – For Dominic Capone, co-owner of Capone’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in Lombard, reality is all about loyalty and family.
“[Loyalty] is an unspoken code,” Capone said. “You can’t teach loyalty. It’s something that you’re born with.”
Capone, 38, the descendant of iconic gangster Alphonse “Al” Capone, is the star of a new reality show, “The Capones,” which will premiere Jan. 28 on REELZ TV. The show will follow the daily lives of Capone and his family members, including his mother, Dawn, his girlfriend, Staci Richter (the princess), and his best friend, Bartolomeo Tumbarello.
The show also features Dominic Capone’s uncle, Lou Fratto (Uncle Lou), his childhood friend, Madeline Santarelli (Cherry Lips), and his other buddies, Jeff Vercillo (Sausage) and Carmine Perrelli (Meatball).
“We didn’t have to fabricate anything [on the show], because we’re all generally friends,” said Tumbarello, who has known Dominic Capone since the men were children in Cicero. “There’s history there and people will see the chemistry on camera.”
According to the network, the show is about a “drama-filled, lasagna-loving dysfunctional family who are living a true mash-up of the American Dream.” The show is produced by Asylum Entertainment.
Capone, who carries the nickname, The Boss, because of his reputation as a decision maker among his friends, said there is more to his family than the perceived stereotypes. Other than the bloodline, the family has no mob ties, he added.
“We respect the fact that we’re Italian,” said Capone, a great-nephew of Al Capone. “We’re all educated and most of us own our own businesses.”
The initial idea for the show began about two years ago.
Capone, who has dabbled in show business for almost two decades, including a portrayal of Al Capone in the 2001 movie “The Real Untouchables,” said he was sitting with friends and managers when they decided it would be funny to join the realm of reality television.
The show idea was pitched and bought, and taping began.
Roughly 30 percent of footage will take place in the Lombard restaurant, 30 percent will take place in the family home in Barrington and the remaining 40 percent was shot in other locations, including Chicago and Cicero, Tumbarello said.
The show, characterized by Capone as a comedy/drama and by Tumbarello as a cross between “The Sopranos,” “The Office” and “Entourage,” has many plotlines, including the often dicey relationship between Dawn and Staci.
“Sometimes they like each other, [but] they’re still fighting,” Capone said. “My mom doesn’t live with us so she only sees the bad side.”
Another common theme will be the relationship between Capone and Tumbarello, who “go back to Little League.”
“You could put Bart and I on an island with aliens, and we’ll have friends and girlfriends in an hour,” Capone said with a laugh.
Reality television aside, the experience has brought his family and friends closer, Capone said.
“For the most part, it was a good experience because it gave us all the opportunity to be in the same room together,” he said.
The series should also benefit the restaurant, Capone believes.
“I’m excited, I think it’ll help business,” he said. “We’re getting new customers every day there. I think it’s a great thing.”