Haute Secrets Boston: Joe Andruzzi

Former New England Patriot, cancer survivor, philanthropist and beloved man around town, Joe Andruzzi is not only a household name, but a familiar face here in Boston. He first made a name for himself as an offensive guard for the Patriots where he played for five seasons and earned three Super Bowl rings before leaving a heartfelt impression on us during the 2013 Marathon bombings where he was photographed carrying victims to safety.

Joe Andruzzi headshotPhoto Credit: Joe Andruzzi Foundation

Philanthropy has been near and dear to Andruzzi’s heart since meeting a young man named C.J. Buckley (who Andruzzi named his youngest son after) with an operable brain tumor in 2001. Since then, he helped launch the C.J. Buckley Brain Cancer Research Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital, received the Ed Block Courage Award and the first Ron Burton Community Service Award.

Joe AndruzziPhoto Credit: Joe Andruzzi Foundation

In 2007, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma, which he courageously fought and beat. Since then, Andruzzi has remained cancer-free, and lives with his wife Jen, their five children and two dogs. Today, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, provides financial assistance to cancer patients and families and funds much needed innovative research into the nature of pediatric brain tumors. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $8.9 million, assisted more than 4,500 families struggling with cancer and donated more than $700,000 to Dr. Mark Kieran at Boston Children’s Hospital to help fund pediatric brain cancer research.

We caught up with Andruzzi recently to find out what he loves most about Boston.

Where were you born: Brooklyn, NY (grew up in Staten Island)

How long in Boston: I’ve been in the New England area since signing with the Patriots in 2000 (with a brief stop in Cleveland from 2005-2006)

Neighborhood: Mansfield, MA

Occupation: President, Joe Andruzzi Foundation

Favorite Restaurant: Davio’s Italian Steakhouse

Best Sushi: Asian Ginger (Foxboro)

Best dessert: Honey Dew Donut’s (Up)Beat Donut

Best place for a romantic date: Luciano’s (Wrentham)

Best Sunday brunch: Rafael’s (Walpole)

Best place for a power business meeting: On the golf course

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Big & Tall

Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: ALEX AND ANI

Best Spa: Norwich Spa at Foxwoods

Favorite Charity Event: The annual Joe Andruzzi & Friends Charity Golf Tournament at Pinehills (6/27)

Favorite Cultural Event: St. Anthony’s Feast

Best Steakhouse: Fogo de Chao

Best Pizza: Regina’s North End

Best Lunch: Sorellas (Plainville, MA)

Best Gym/Athletic Facility: NRG Lab & Answer Is Fitness

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Extreme Limo & Shuttle Service

Describe Boston in three words: Tough. Hardworking. Champions.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: Plimoth Plantation

All-around favorite spot in Boston: Boylston Street

Best Aspect of Boston: Its resiliency