Meet Chef Joseph Spano
Chef Joseph Spano has been tantalizing taste buds with his flair for Italian fare since 1989. It was then that he first opened Spano's Ristorante Italiano in Jackson, NJ. It was his love of Italian cuisine, the use of only the freshest ingredients and mammoth portions that put Spano's on the map. This humble beginning blossomed from the teachings of his mom, Carmela, who could be frequently spotted sitting at a back table rolling meatballs, peeling garlic, or anything else she could do to help. Guests loved to stop by the table to visit with Carmela as she worked. Everyone in the neighborhood knew and loved Carmela's sauce and the various Italian delights that originated from her Naples, Italy heritage. Joseph's mouth watering sauce, the inaugural winner of the Boss of the Sauce contest, is based on Mom Spano's original recipe.
Of course, Joseph is also influenced by his father's Barese heritage. The people of Bari consume large portions of fresh vegetables, legumes, and pastas such as broccoli rabe, escarole and beans, eggplant and homemade pasta.
Everything that Joseph endeavored to create seemed to delight his patrons. In May of 2000, in a leap of faith, Joseph sold his 11 year old thriving business in Jackson and created a new home for his customers in Point Pleasant Beach, on Arnold Avenue, where his dad, Frank "Pop" Spano would delight guests with a warm welcome that always made you feel at home. Regulars soon learned to save a little wine for when Pop would visit their table to ask how they were, and catch up on family business. Between the fabulous food, large portions and old world Italian ambiance, Spano's Ristorante Italiano became a quick success.
In December of 2013, Joseph celebrated 12 years in Point Pleasant Beach, maintaining his popularity with the same recipes that built his business...the freshest ingredients, only the top quality meats and cheeses, generous portions, creative and delicious daily specials, and a great staff. Every day Joseph is humbled by the outpouring of people who wait an hour or more to get a table and enjoy his culinary delights. Joseph still cooks for many customers from his Jackson days, 25 years later, who travel into Point Pleasant Beach for one of his wonderful home cooked meals. Spano's never advertises; all of our advertisement is word of mouth. That means the accolades are generated not by us, but by you, our loyal customers.
Now it's time for the next part of Joseph's journey. Due to the long wait times on weekends, to get seated at Arnold Avenue, the demand for take out of his fabulous food increased. The demand increased, but the kitchen stayed small, and Joseph knew it was time to expand. He couldn't make his restaurant bigger, so he started looking for new locations. There were plenty of great opportunities, but he chose Howell, because this is the town in which he was raised. The town where his family moved to from Brooklyn. He found a great little store front to purse his dream of offering fantastic food at affordable prices to busy parents raising their kids.
In December of 2015, Joseph's niece, Heather Catanzaro purchased Spano's Italiano To Go, and continues to run the business as the next generation in the family. Heather continues to delight her customers with the family recipes that Joseph has taught her since working alongside of him since the age of twelve. Heather has managed many of the Spano ventures throughout the years. We hope you love our food, and we look forward to the next leg of this incredible journey, and the opportunity to serve you.
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