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Do the Manzo Boys Actually Work for a Living? Little Town NJ Opens for Business in Hoboken

April 20, 2013 168 comments

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“Little Town will operate just fine without you.” – Chris Laurita to Albie and Christopher Manzo, Season 5 Episode 11

“What Caroline Manzo really wanted to talk about was her son’s new restaurant and daughter’s store: ‘It’s called Little Town and it’s opening in Hoboken at the end of April and its all the best of New Jersey and everything is farmed in New Jersey. Lauren’s working hard at her store. It’s celebrating its one-year anniversary. They’ve got me hopping’.” [NaughtyButNiceRob, April 8, 2013]

“Caroline was made an offer to return and declined — it is possible she is waiting for a bigger offer ($$) or has something up the pipelines. She had only participated in season 4 so that her children would get exposure for their business ventures. She knew it (being a Real Housewife) would one day end, so she made sure her children had established themselves in their own businesses. I don’t like to have personal feelings about cast, but I do admire her — she had a plan going into season 3, and that was to use this platform to assist in setting up her children financially.” [Former RHONJ Post Production Supervisor, September 17, 2012]

Albie and Christopher Manzo have “partnered” with New York City-based restaurateurs Michael Sinensky and Sean McGarr (who also own Little Town New York) to open a new restaurant in Hoboken called Little Town New Jersey (310 Sinatra Drive). The Manzo boys don’t actually run the restaurant — they are compensated for marketing the place using their “celebrity images.” Albie and Christopher live at 333 River Street, which is above the restaurant, so all they have to do is stop by the restaurant for occasional appearances, and their “fans” will buy them drinks for the privilege of hanging out with them.

Reality TV stars Albie and Chris Manzo — of Real Housewives of New Jersey fame — have teamed up with the Village Pourhouse owners to open a new eatery in Hoboken. Little Town NJ, at 310 Sinatra Dr., is slated to open April 9, and the Manzo brothers aim to give the new restaurant some New Jersey flair by using their mom Caroline Manzo’s recipes for the brunch buffet and Sunday Gravy on weekends. Little Town NJ, which incorporates a farmer’s market area where local farmers display their produce, is the third location of Manhattan’s Little Town NYC, owned by Michael Sinensky and Sean McGarr — who also own the Village Pourhouse on First Street in Hoboken. The much-anticipated opening had been scheduled for early November, but superstorm Sandy KO’d those plans. [NJ.com reports the grand opening is scheduled for April 9th]

SO PUMPED! RT @Hoboken411 Little Town NJ and Manzo Brothers set to open Hoboken restaurant in less than two weeks! – Albie Manzo (@AlbieManzo), April 4, 2013, Twitter

Little Town NJ and Manzo Brothers set to open Hoboken restaurant in less than two weeks! Hooray for Jersey! – Hoboken411 ‏(@Hoboken411), April 4, 2013, Twitter

@Chefrey201: Just got the infamous @CarolineManzo meatball recipe for @LittleTownNJ stop by and check em out every Sunday” – Little Town NJ ‏(@LittleTownNJ), April 6, 2013, Twitter

The Manzo boys are not owners/operators of Little Town NJ — they have nothing to do with the daily operations of the restaurant. This is the type of deal the Wakiles were hoping for — Richie explained it in season 3 episode 7 or 8 (and when they talked to Al Manzo about opening a restaurant, he laughed in their faces).

Albie and Christopher were guest bartenders for a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser at the restaurant in November 2012. Their mother Caroline has provided the recipe for her Italian-American gravy featured on the brunch buffet and “Sunday Gravy” on weekends.

Even in a write up for the opening, “lending their names” is used to describe Albie’s and Christopher’s association with the restaurant:

The Manzo brothers are not just lending their names and heritages. Don’t be surprised to see them in the kitchen, behind the bar – or even dining in! “I can’t wait for those doors to open,” says 26-year-old Albie, who recently got his bartending card. “This is the first brick and mortar spot that we have been a part of … It’s really a lot of fun to go in there, to see how far it’s come … It’s kind of the best situation for us to get into. We really can’t get yelled at if we go out because we’re at Little Town, and we’re still at work.” And when Season 5 of “Real Housewives” premieres later this year, fans all over the world will get a glimpse at the restaurant. Who knows, maybe Giudice will even flip a table there! “We’re going to feature it definitely” on the upcoming season, says Chris. “The one thing we do on ‘Housewives’ is we film our reality. Viewers are really going to get attached to it the way we have.”

The Manzo boys don’t actually work at Little Town NJ — they just make guest appearances as “celebrities” to promote the business and, of course, they can stop by any time to eat and drink for free. You have to wonder how much longer they can milk this reality TV fame.

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Albie and Chris explain it best in the following interview from NJ.com.

The Manzo brothers are following in the footsteps of their parents, Albert and Caroline Manzo, who own the Brownstone in Paterson.

“We will see,” Albie, 26, said when asked about the new restaurant getting air time this season. “The cameras follow our life, and this is a big part of our life, so we will see what ends up making the show.

“We are really excited. If it is portrayed on the show it will be a lot of fun to watch, because you will see this thing coming along. You will see what it was like when Sandy hit and what it is today. ”

Little Town NJ was expected to open in November, but superstorm Sandy put a hold on those plans when Hoboken suffered extensive damage.

The Hoboken restaurant is owned jointly by the Manzo brothers and the owners of two Manhattan’s Little Town NYC eateries, Michael Sinensky and Sean McGarr, who also own the Village Pourhouse on First Street in Hoboken.

No restaurant owned by Manzos would be complete without something from the Brownstone menu. Family matriarch Caroline Manzo has provided the recipe for her “authentic hard-core” Italian-American Sunday gravy.

“We had that smell every Sunday and we could pig out on home-cooked Italian meals. I am sure we are not the only one missing that,” Chris said. “We are lucky that we can go home in a second and we are bringing that to everyone else.”

The partnership with Sinensky and McGarr grew out of a friendship that dates back to when the brothers flew the coop in Franklin Lakes to experience living on their own in Hoboken in November 2010.

The brothers started to hang out out at The Village Pourhouse and the four became friends “doing karaoke,” business partner Sinensky recalled.

“I noticed because they’re on TV, a lot of people try to buy them shots, so sometimes I get a free round when they’re tipsy,” Sinensky said.

After opening two Little Town restaurants in New York, McGarr and Sinensky were looking to open a restaurant across the Hudson with a focus on “all things New Jersey.”

“We mentioned the idea on LTNJ and they were ecstatic about it,” Sinensky said. “We couldn’t ask for better partners than Chris and Al for LTNJ. Their shared passion for supporting local mom-and-pop (shops) is what has made this such a great relationship.”

When McGarr and Sinensky leased the commercial space at the former Quays Restaurant & Bar — the ground floor of the building in which the Manzo brothers live — the deal was sealed.

“When they told us they found this space the stars couldn’t have been more aligned,” Chris said. “When I found out I could use my own bathroom I said ‘I’m in’.”

Despite their hectic schedules with the “blk” water venture they launched in June 2011, and filming for RHONJ, the brothers say they will be spending a good deal of time at the restaurant.

“I love what we are doing with blk water and I love Little Town,” Albie said. “I never feel personally as though I am working. It’s the type of place we are going to want to be whether it’s behind the bar, having dinner or sweeping the floor. It’s the type of place we are going to want to spend all of our time.”

Having grown up in restaurants, Chris says he is even more enthusiastic about the new restaurant than his other project.

“For me, doing blk, I love it. We all have a great time there, but it is work at the end of the day. You are dealing with a lot of corporate people you are making a lot of phone calls,” Chris said. “I look forward to the restaurant craziness.

“It is almost relaxing to me in some kind of twisted way,” he added. “It brings you back to your childhood. This is what we did when we were 16. If there was a problem at bar at the Brownstone I would get a call and I am there. When I was 18 we were out to dinner with five friends. There was a problem with all the valets at once and there were 200 cars. My dad said ‘I know you are not a valet, but get over here.’ We had to figure it out. It kind of brings us back to how we were raised. It’s going to be really fun for me.”

And the fact that the siblings spend every waking minute with each other does not worry them.

“We are with each other every minute,” Albie said. “We are really at this point morphing into the same person. It is not that we are putting up with each other’s stuff. We know what makes each other tick. We get along great. It is just an extension of yourself at this point.”

Once the restaurant opens, it’s almost a guarantee that their parents will drop in unannounced. Now empty-nesters at their home in Franklin Lakes, Albert and Caroline Manzo have a new place in uptown Hoboken, where they stay two or three days a week trying out life in the city.

“I think they kind of like it,” Chris said. “They don’t even tell us when they are town though.”

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The official grand opening of Little Town NJ, with the formal ribbon-cutting and VIP guests, was on April 18, 2013.

If you attend, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting founder Micheal Sinensky and Sean McGarr, along with their celebrity partners Manzo brothers Albie & Chris.

Flashback: Hoboken411 and the owners took a three day tour of New Jersey back in 2012 to find the best!

Read all the recaps here: Day OneDay TwoDay Three.

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