CARLSBAD — As children of an Italian immigrant and restaurateur, siblings Joey and Melissa Maggiore grew up playing restaurant — setting menus, playing with saucepans and firing the staff.
Now older, wiser and with families of their own, the duo’s childhood antics have become a reality with a brand new restaurant — Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen & Bar — and a Food Network show to document every step along the way.
“Our forte is the restaurant business — we put our blood, sweat and tears into this place,” younger brother Joey said. “The plus side is that we have a reality show.”
Film crews followed the pair as they opened the newest Tommy V’s in Carlsbad’s Bressi Ranch neighborhood for the show, “Family Style.” Cameras were on hand to catch every meltdown, mishap and prank that is bound to occur when working with relatives.
“I think the show is really going to show the dynamic of working with family and the everyday stress of working in a restaurant,” Melissa said. “Customers come in but they never get to see the ins and outs of running this place.”
Locals are drawn to the family-run restaurant that offers updated version of old school Italian recipes. Menus will be routinely changed — at least six times over the course of the next year — to incorporate seasonal ingredients and new specials.
“We don’t want you to get bored,” Joey, the restaurant’s executive chef, said. “There’s nothing better than cooking in the kitchen and hearing people say ‘wow.’”
The restaurant’s urban décor and softly lit interior makes it the ideal place for a number of occasions — whether it be a girl’s night out, a bachelor party or grandma’s 90th birthday, Melissa said.
“It’s truly a family restaurant,” she said. “It offers something for everyone.”
Although the two have made the restaurant a family affair — it is named after their father’s successful restaurant in La Costa and staffed by spouses, parents and cousins — the Maggiore kids are adamant about doing things their way this time around.
“This is our brainchild,” Melissa said. “We’ve taken everything we have learned from our father and given it our own little twist; we’re targeting our demographic.”
Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen & Bar is the latest in a string of successful Maggiore family restaurants in the area. Other restaurants include Tommy V’s Italian Chophouse in Del Mar and Tuscany in Carlsbad.
While the Maggiores have made a name for themselves in Southern California, the family’s restaurant empire started back on the East Coast.
There, patriarch Tomaso opened a string of successful pizza joints in New York named after his wife, Patricia. On a whim, he moved the family to Arizona and opened nearly 40 restaurants before relocating to San Diego County.
As they follow in their father’s footsteps, Joey and Melissa hope to make their family and the local community proud with their new restaurant and TV show.
“This experience is the opportunity of a lifetime, and the fact that we get to do it as a family makes it even better,” Melissa said.
Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen & Bar is located at 2659 Gateway Road in Carlsbad. Catch “Family Style” on Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. on the Food Network.