PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
The HOSPITALITY PROFESSOR
BY RACHEL CUCCURULLO
42 Port St. Lucie Magazine
Dr. Peter Bordi Jr. lives in Port St. Lucie part of the year while working as a new product consultant. He is an associate professor at Penn State.
Peter Bordi Jr., who grew up in a working-class family
in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, said he and his two older
sisters clearly remember that mom reigned over the
kitchen at home while dad’s domain was in the kitchen at
Pete Bordi’s, his family’s bar-restaurant in nearby Scranton.
The two never crossed that line and that kept for a longlasting
“Every day my dad would give me a kiss on the cheek and
ask me, ‘What are you gonna be?’” Bordi said. “And I would
reply, ‘a good person.’”
And Bordi has been living by these words his entire life. He
feels it is part of his mission to always help others who may
be less fortunate.
“My dad was an old-school Italian and he always made
sure my sisters and I remained humble,” Bordi said. “We
were taught that we were not better than anyone else.”
Bordi reminisced that his father would set up dinners every
holiday for the homeless in their community. There was one
caveat though; the Bordi family would cook the meal and
then leave. Bordi said his father would not allow them to
serve the people. He felt that it was creating a social construct
of them being less than.
“They were very thankful, would always serve themselves
and clean up the entire restaurant afterward,” Bordi said.
“That is something I will always remember.”
From a young age, Bordi helped out around the restaurant,
but he leaned toward business while at Penn State. When he
asked his dad to sell him the restaurant, he flat-out refused
“Dad would not sell it to me and when I asked him why, he
said, ‘you can do better,’” Bordi said. “He was always pushing
me to do better and be better.”
Bordi went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in food service
and housing administration and an associate degree in culinary
arts from the Culinary Institute of America.
“A former professor of mine, Leo Renaghan, whom I became
very close with, called me up after graduating in 1976,”
Bordi said. “He convinced me to get back to school and complete
Bordi earned the advanced degree and then went on to
earn a doctorate. He accepted a position as an instructor in
1978 at Penn State and worked his way up the ladder.
“When I first got started in teaching, I was watching my
peers coming back from the Vietnam War,” Bordi said. “It