How Brioso Ristorante And Its Partner Brothers Have Succeeded For 20 Years In A Tough Italian Food Market Place
by Jessica Jones-Gorman
“We created a Manhattan style restaurant right here,” said DiMaggio, who attended culinary school in Italy before coming to the United States in 1979. After he arrived, he worked in popular New York City eateries like Elio’s before taking a position at Petaluma, where he was executive chef for 10 years. The recipes and cooking style he brought to Marlboro made Brioso an immediate success.
“We opened a second restaurant in Staten Island in 1998, and expanded to a larger location in New Jersey three years ago,” DiMaggio said. “We kept everything the same in the kitchen, but now have a wonderful bar area and a large party room in which we can entertain guests.”
The DiMaggio brothers completely renovated the space, redecorating the dining room to give it a Tuscan feel. Although the menu remained largely intact, they hired chef Francesco Angelucci to inject new life into the kitchen.
“Francesco is from Italy, and he brought a few more dishes to our menu,” DiMaggio said. “Customers love his homemade pasta, which he serves tableside in a wheel of Parmesan cheese.”
Brioso is still a family operation. While Brother Charlie and chef Angelucci handle the kitchen, Peter and Raffaele greet guests, alongside Raffaele’s son, Giuseppe.
“Giuseppe has worked for me for many years on the floor as a busboy, waiter, and now manager,” DiMaggio said. “It’s important for us to be out here on the floor, greeting customers and making sure they have everything they need.”
Specials rotate daily and seasonally, though appetizers like zucchini flowers are always a crowd favorite. All pasta is made by hand on the premises, the fresh mozzarella is prepared tableside, and the fish is cleaned and presented in front of the customers. “We have three or four different kinds of fish each day,” DiMaggio said. “Our aged steaks are also a big seller tomahawk, T bone, and filet mignon are always a big part of our menu.”
Recently on offer at the bar are barrel aged Negronis, alongside an extensive wine list. The restaurant also features a party room that seats 80 guests. DiMaggio now regularly uses that space to offer cooking classes.
“We just started hosting these classes, teaching guests to make homemade gnocchi and their own fresh mozzarella,” he said. “They’ve been very successful, so we plan on continuing them into the New Year.”
DiMaggio has plenty of plans, including developing an outdoor cafe so that guests can dine al fresco during the warm weather months.
“We listen to our customers,” he concluded. “If they suggest a dish, we make it. If they want a class, we host it. That’s exactly what Brioso is about a traditional gathering place where you find friends and all of your favorite food.”
448 Route 9 North, Marlboro / 732.617.1300