John Flora was born in Puglia, Italy and brought his love for regional Italian Food with him to America, where he founded Flora Fine Foods based upon sourcing and importing the highest quality, genuine Italian ingredients for authentic Italian cooking.
John Flora was born into a poor family of tailors in Bari, Italy, but followed his dreams to America, arriving on December 17, 1962, impoverished and speaking no English. He grew up in the predominately Italian neighborhood of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, New York.
John had always been fascinated with electricity, mathematics, and machines. He initially pursued an education in Electrical Engineering. John looked for part-time work to earn money. In a neighborhood where dough overflowed the streets, a pizza parlor was on every corner, and authentic Italian food was an everyday part of life, the Villa Cucci Italian Bakery was already renowned for its quality. John began working there, not realizing at the time that his career in food had already begun.
It was while vacationing in Miami Beach that John realized that while he loved the Sunshine State, he could not find an authentic pizza anywhere. His cousin told him about a piece of property at 79th and Flagler in Miami. It wasn’t long after that John purchased it, and Flora’s Drive-In pizza parlor opened in 1972.
The success of the pizza parlor fueled expansion with Flora’s Italian Restaurant in Hollywood, Florida. It was here that John met the future Mrs. Flora. Tourists and locals alike began to know their restaurant
as the place for authentic Italian food, with ingredients sourced direct from Italy. Soon the competition took note, and when other restaurants began asking about acquiring the same Italian ingredients, John began his restaurant supply business.
Starting by importing the very best genuine Italian tomatoes and supplying restaurateurs from the back of his restaurant, John found demand ramped up quickly. Soon, the problem became one of space. John’s short-term solution was draining his pool and keeping the tomatoes there—but more growth was still to come.
Today, after 40 years in business, Flora Fine Foods has our headquarters in Coral Springs, Florida, with a 60,000 square foot distribution facility servicing Supermarkets, Italian grocers and specialty food stores across the country. John and Mrs. Flora still work there every day, and John still visits Italy to source genuine Italian ingredients for authentic Italian cooking. And to this day only the best can bear the Flora name.
The future new home for Flora Fine Foods is taking shape in Coral Springs, Florida with vastly expanded warehouse & refrigerated storage space. The building will have a new training center and demo kitchen, with an Italian marketplace with breakfast & lunch cafe to come. And, coming full circle, the new Flora Fine Foods headquarters will feature a walk-up window and… a pizza oven.
John Flora was born poor in Bari, Italy. His dreams led him to arrive in America on December 17, 1962, impoverished and speaking no English. His Bensonhurst neighborhood in Brooklyn was predominately Italian, and John began his career in food at Villa Cucci Italian Bakery. Later, vacationing in Miami Beach John loved the Sunshine State, but could not find an authentic pizza anywhere. Not long after, Flora’s Drive-In pizza parlor opened at 79th and Flagler Avenue, followed by Flora’s Italian Restaurant in Hollywood, Florida. Both became famous for their authentic Italian food, and when other restaurants began asking about acquiring the same Italian ingredients, John began his restaurant supply business.
Today Flora Fine Foods has grown to import and supply national grocers, Italian and specialty supermarkets, and restaurants seeking genuine Italian ingredients for authentic Italian cooking.
And today, as it has always been, only the best can bear the Flora name.