In 1956, John Ballato opened a restaurant in what is now the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan. After more than 60 years, his originally modest dreams have been blown out of the water, as Ballato’s has become one of Manhattan’s heavy hitters in the world of Italian American comfort food. Now owned and operated by the Vitolo family, Ballato’s has been likened to the incredibly exclusive “Rao’s, but you can get in,” says New York Times writer Jeff Gordinier.
Mario Vitolo, son of owner Emilio, credits their success to their commitment to “always using the finest ingredients and never compromising.” Ballato’s has been described by many as embodying the “Sunday dinner with Grandma” environment. This is all accredited to the Executive Chef Anthony Vitolo getting the finest ingredients and creating wholesome meals to all walks of life who drops by, including their regular cast of devoted celebrities, musicians, and politicians, including a few former presidents!
Having spent his entire life cooking, owner Emilio Vitolo seeks to bring a taste of his native Naples to Manhattan. Today, he can be found at his usual table at the front of the restaurant greeting all of his loyal fans and first time customers.