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Patricia’s of Holmdel started Monmouth County NJ restaurant empire

  • Frank Brusco bought what would become Patricia’s of Holmdel after discovering the previous owner wanted out.
  • Since then he started Gabriella’s Italian Steakhouse in Middletown and the Over Easy Kitchen chain.
  • Brusco has plans to open a supper club in Old Bridge by the end of this year.

HOLMDEL — Though he didn’t grow up in the restaurant business, Brooklyn and Staten Island native Frank Brusco knew a thing or two about top-quality food and the importance of great service.

And he combined those skills into his 2015 launch of Patricia’s of Holmdel, a classic Italian restaurant that he bought on the spot from the former owner after having a less-than-satisfying experience there.

“Both of my parents were born in Italy, and as a kid, I was always around food and fresh produce,” said Brusco, 49, a Holmdel resident. “My family grew tomatoes, string beans, lettuce, peaches, eggplant, squash, zucchini flowers and more right in our backyard and eating was always a treat.”

While studying business management at St. John’s University in Staten Island, “I worked for a family-owned commercial printing business in Manhattan and got a lot of experience dining with customers in New York City,” Brusco said.

Frank Brusco, owner of Patricia's of Holmdel, a restaurant that has been serving Italian classic and specialty dishes since 2015, talks about the business in Holmdel, NJ Monday May 1, 2023.

After graduating and becoming a salesman for the company (which eventually moved from New York City to North Jersey), “I spent a lot of time entertaining customers in restaurants and saw how restaurants worked and the things my customers complained about, such as poor service, loudness and lack of cleanliness.”