Lady Gaga is known for being ostentatious, outrageous and making the biggest entrance possible. But for a star that has made her name for shocking our senses, Mother Monster's newest venture is decidedly low-key.
After dropping several mentions in interviews over the past few months about a new restaurant she planned to launch with her father, Joseph Germanotta, Joanne Trattoria will finally open its doors on Wednesday. The modest Italian neighborhood eatery on West 68th Street in New York was described by The New York Times as having a "well-stocked bar, a cozy back patio and seating for about 70 people." The walls are covered with scenes of the Tuscan countryside, and near a fireplace at the entrance, diners will see some Germanotta family photos hanging by a front booth. The restaurant will be run by Joseph and Gaga's mother, Cynthia, and her proud pop admitted that his daughter "just generates a lot of sizzle," helping to get the word out about the venture. The chef and partner in the business is Art Smith, who met Gaga at a taping for the "Oprah Winfrey Show." Smith was Winfrey's personal chef for several years. The name was inspired by Joseph's late sister, Joanne, who died of lupus at age 19. Not only is "Joanne" Gaga's middle name, but in a number of interviews the singer has opened up about her strong connection with her late aunt.
"I thought I was gonna die," she said last year. "I wanted to be the artists I loved, like Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol -- and I thought the only way to do it was to live the lifestyle. But then I realized my father's sister Joanne, who'd died at 19, had instilled her spirit in me. She was a painter and a poet -- and I had a spiritual vision I had to finish her business."
The Times noted that Gaga is not officially a part-owner of the restaurant, which Joseph said the family could have afforded to open even if his daughter had not risen to global fame. It has long been his dream to open the eatery, he said, and visitors at Joanne will dine on "Southern Italian," given that Smith is from the South and the Germanottas are Italian.
That means they will chow down on dishes such as "Papa G's chicken," traditional offerings like osso buco inspired by Joanne and "Cynthia's salad," named for Gaga's mother.
Hoping to temper fans' expectations, Joseph said he wasn't sure if he'd post current pics of Gaga among the family photos. Maybe, he said, just an old one in which she's not as recognizable. And though he's happy to have his eldest get the word out about the family business, if fans make the trek expecting to see a trophy case with VMAs and Grammys, "It's not going to happen," he warned.