RI mayor’s brother, an ex-con, opens sandwich shop
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A former attorney whose brother is the mayor of Providence, R.I., has gone from federal prison inmate to sandwich shop owner. The new business is called Federal Wrap.
John Cicilline (siss-ill-EE’-nee) tells The Providence Journal that he became known for making wraps while in federal prison, where he was sent in 2008 after pleading guilty to shaking down a pair of drug dealers.
He was released in February and opened the shop in April with financing from family and friends. His menu is filled with wraps named for other inmates at the Fort Devens federal prison in Massachusetts.
Cicilline is not running away from his time spent behind bars. The menu board high above the counter has wraps named after inmates he befriended at Fort Devens, the federal prison compound about 40 miles west of Boston. There’s Rex’s Wrap, Steak Joost, the Riggi Reuben, Ralphy Wrap, and Ernie’s Veggie. He also makes Deven’s Dog, which is a hot dog smothered with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions.
The mayor, through his spokeswoman, had little to say about Federal Wrap.
“As with every new business in Providence, the mayor has every hope for its success,” she wrote.
Cicilline is divorced and the oceanfront house in Narragansett is gone. He has three daughters who help him with the business. He grew teary-eyed talking about how one of them couldn’t go to Hofstra University last year because he couldn’t afford to pay the tuition.
Cicilline can’t afford his own apartment, so he lives with his parents on Broadway.
“Today, I appreciate the value of a dollar,” Cicilline said. “I didn’t appreciate it before I got in trouble. I don’t want to say I’m glad it happened, but everything happens for a reason.”