Another day, another Real Housewives business venture.
Gorga’s Homemade Pasta & Pizza, owned and operated by RHONJ‘s Joe Gorga with help from his wife, Melissa Gorga, and sister, Teresa Giudice, is officially opening its doors to the public in East Hanover, New Jersey on Friday. The project is a tribute to Joe and Teresa’s mother, Antonia, who passed away in March.
“My mother loved to cook; it was like her drug,” Joe told PEOPLE at the private opening party on Thursday night. “I always told her I was gonna open up a restaurant for her. Then I got busy. While I signed a contract on this place we lost her. So this is for her.”
“We wanted to share her recipes with the world,” Teresa added. “I always would say, ‘Mom, everyone has to try your food!’ because that’s how I learned to cook.”
The menu is made up of standard Italian staples—many of which came from Teresa’s cookbook, Fabulicious—and a variety of specialty dishes named after themselves and their children, like Audriana’s Rock Shrimp Arrabiata, Milania’s Pesce del Giorno and Antonia’s Chicken Francese. The walls of the small space are lined with black-and-white family portraits.
Though the trio went through a phase of explosive family drama and estrangement, they have since buried the hatchet following Teresa’s 11-month stint in jail—and this business has only made them closer.
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“I think any time you’re working with family, you spend so much more time together—sometimes that can be good or bad, but thank God we’re doing good,” Melissa says. Adds Joe: “My sister and I were at each other’s throats for a while, but we’re back together, and now we’re gonna stay together.”
In addition to the restaurant, they are also selling jars of pasta sauce, which come in three flavors: marinara, vodka, and garlic oil, and are available for order online.