Family Style New Food Network TV a Reality Show in My Neighborhood
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Family Style New Food Network TV a Reality Show in My Neighborhood

Can't wait to review Food Network's new Family Style later this week when we eat, meet and greet the series first episode at Tommy V's Urban Kitchen

Last week I saw a "sneak peak" of a new reality show, Family Style, on The Food Network. This show flew in so far under the radar, you wouldn't  know it was on unless you landed on it by accident. That's how I got there - I surfed (as one could expect in San Diego). The show looked fun - a reality TV show about an Italian family of restaurateurs (the Maggiores), with the brother and sister (Joey and Melissa), competing to open the "best" and most successful new restaurant in San Diego. Thing is - some of these restaurants are right down the block from where I live and where I shop.  I've eaten lunch or dinner in many a Maggiore restaurant, including Tuscany, Papa Maggiore's home-base. I know these restaurants so well, I am almost an Extra. In reality, this is a show about my neighborhood.

Not only did I recognize the restaurants (including Melissa's new Tommy V's ,still under construction), but I was a frequent visitor to the defunct,original Tommy V's, a grand, upscale local eaterie). Not only was the food great there, but the atmosphere was very much 1960s Las Vegas (with Aldo Luongo's paintings on the wall), white linen tablecloths and a piano player running through old Sinatra tunes. I am guessing that this original Tommy V's was owned by Papa Maggiore, as well as another nice, local restaurant (now also closed), Zabibbo, the family was said to own. The original Tommy V's has morphed into a breakfast place, which is doing a rather brisk business, but I long for the old Vegas-style, fine dining.  Zabbibo is now some other non-descript Italian restaurant.

Another thing going for Family Style, in addition to the sibling rivalry, is that the large Italian family has an undercurrent of dysfunction, which adds some spice and zest to the reality show. Melissa and her best friend, Joey's wife, had a full-out feud over seating placement at a family birthday party. The blow-up spilled over to Joey's new restaurant grand-opening.  He wasn't available to mediate, because he was in Phoenix, helping out Papa Maggiore with a crisis at his restaurant there. But thanks to the family members' ability to work together, Joey's flagship barbecue restaurant opened on time in downtown San Diego. (One of his other restaurants is in the same general location as Tuscany.)


If this show makes it onto the regular line-up (it's not yet listed on the Food Network), it may rest on the shoulders of the Sopranos-reminiscent large Italian family and their relationships and personalities. (Joey cooks in full bling. Melissa is very pretty, and outspoken). I see the recent "sneak peak" as a sort of soft-opening (as new restaurants do) to see how the show played in Peoria.

As reality shows go, and as shows go on The Food Network, I've seen better and I've worse. Some of The Food Network hosts/hostesses are so irritating, like cheese, they end up simply grating. But because I am a Foodie, I have a few favorite shows in this Channel's line-up. The best is Chopped, where 3 cooks compete to make the best meals using surprise ingredients found in a basket. This is an interesting idea, made more interesting when the ingredients include such disparate items as venison and marshmallows. Apparently, I'm  not the only one who thinks this makes for interesting TV. I recently saw a surprise ingredients-basket on one of Bravo's food shows. (Hey, Bravo - give credit where credit is due).

My least favorite Food Network shows (I never watch) feature personality chefs (we won't go into names, here). I am sure they have many a follower, but not me. Once in a while, if I am desperate to escape my problems via TV (and House is still in re-runs), I watch Unwrapped - a medium-interesting series about how food products are made (like beer nuts, milk duds, goat cheese). It was on Unwrapped that I learned that Harry & David's cheesecakes are individually hand-decorated before they are sent out from the H&D cheese cake factory. Now, I'm even more a fan of H&D and their middle-aged, fully-employed cake decorators. Also, watching the laborious process that goes into making matzoh ball soup or dill pickles; for instance, shows just how much we take for granted when it comes to the preparation of food products we see every day on the grocery store shelves.

I hope Family Style ends up on The Food Network Channel in 2010, not only because I live just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Maggiores and their restaurants. But also, because this show is the closest I am likely to ever come to  (almost) participating in a reality TV show. And that's not even that close.

Here's an update from May 2010. The new restaurant opened last week and they've been filming there for days. Looks like we'll get to tune in in the Fall, after all.

Update #2, August, 2010. After a chat with Melissa and her new chef, several weeks ago, we decided to take in the premier showing of Family Style with champagne and a pizza on Aug. 26. Can't wait to review the show from inside out!

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Comments (30)

I also surfed into Family Stlye and absolutely loved it as did my 29 year old daughter. It was such a delight, with the fights, the large devoted family and I am hoping it will be on again. Was definately addicting and I can't wait to see another episode.

This is good news! I am hoping the Food Network brings it back. Like you, I can't wait. Cheers!

Well, Rosco - that's what makes the world go round -- maybe you had to be there - really there - to enjoy it.


I find it so weird that people like Rosco try to dictate the TV shows different networks broadcast. If I don't like a show on a network, I don't watch the show. I don't cast aspersions on the network for trying something new. I loved Family Style. I hope FN puts it on the air right away.

Well, Morris, I agree completely. Like I mentioned, some of FN's shows are not my cup of tea, so I just don't watch them. But I am entranced by all the new shows and personalities FN tries out - Family Style just being one of them. Another thing that pleases me is that this "reality" show features real people, real restaurants, real family dynamics. You go, FN and Family Style! Thanks so much for your comment.


Soo nice to read that most people agree that Family Style IS a good show-hopefully we will be seeing more of it, and soon. I agree with Sy,: real family dynamics, real restaurants and REAL people! Great!

Thanks, Cheri. I bet the FN would be surprised to know how many of us liked Family Style! I'm glad to see the "feed-back"! I hope it comes back - Cheers to you and thanks for your comment.


family style- finaly a great show that keeps you at the edge of your seat we loved it ....absolutly loved joeys jewlery and personality he will be a next star on that channel for sure ...glad everyone agrees good show fn

well, keep that remote handy - hope the FN folks are following this thread....Happy New Year!


Thought the show was great. Everyone seemed natural. I too, am local in N. San Diego County, and know the Maggiores. They're a great family and I hope their show gets picked up and is a success. There's no question their restaurants will thrive.

Over 15 years ago, they helped me out when I was starting my graphic design and printing business by letting me wait on table at their restaurants. They also gave me graphics and printing work and referred customers to me. Now, I have a growing business, with thousands of customers across the U.S., and still keep in touch and do work for the Maggiores. All the best to them!

That is a great story -- perhaps one day we will run into one another at Tommy V's or Joey's. I think having 2 great neighborhood restaurants is lucky for us - and for the Maggiores.


I enjoyed watching the show and I hope Food Network decides to add it to their line-up.

well, I hope so, too! I think it was fun - and educational. Most people have no clue how hard it is to open and run a restaurant. This series should educate us.

katie235307101 peace out

my friend is on that show and she is awesome they need to make many new episodes tht show is so awesome

I see the new restaurant is coming along - maybe they are waiting for it to open?


it is coming back. Should air in September I believe. Can't wait!

Jamie, you are so right! The new restaurant opened 10 days ago and they're already filming-- can't wait, either!


Glad to hear about the opening and that the show will be back. I think it has good potential and I'm definitely interested in watching it!

Me too - and I can't wait to try the new restaurant. I'll report here when I do -

the restaurant is really sleek and nice; when I drove by, I saw a big family portrait oil painting - the serving staff and the camera men on the patio -- it will be great!


Just ate at Tommy V's yesterday for my coworkers birthday and they are almost finished filming. I think they said the show airs July 17th. Should be fun to watch, but I have to say only one person in our party of 5 liked the food. And the service was horrible. Where were the film crews then?!? I would not eat there again by choice. And 6 quarter sized gnocchi and two short ribs at lunch for $14, really?!?

Ah - sad to hear that. We went over for Happy Hour a few weeks ago -had to send the mussles back, but the calamari was fab! We had good service, cuz they were filming and it was only 4:30 p.m. and when they finally do open, you can certainly Yelp them - that might get their attention. Still, a new place needs to get the kinks out - so maybe worth another look, but I agree, pricey!


Ate dinner at TommyV's 5 times now. Great every time. Portions rather large too. Filet special was one of the best I've ever had. And they substituted gnocci for the mashed potatoes as I requested (delicious). Waiter was professional with fine dining background. Not sure about what happened with Tanya's party during lunch. They are new and still weeding out the help. Give them another try.

Wow - lucky you! 5 times for dinner. I can't wait for that experience - the decor is charming and I agree the waiter (our waiter was a cousin of the family) was super-duper. I will try the filet on your rec. i am looking forward to the FN show - I am sure the restaurant will be packed after that, so I better hurry in. TY for your comment!

Just saw the first TV preview of "Family Style" - it showed a brief clip of Melissa & Joey, the dueling brother & sister. Airing Aug. 26 at either 10 or 10:30 p.m. - no wonder there's a buzz in the air!

Diane Smith

4 chefs compete on Chopped, not 3!

how right you are; I guess I pay better attention when it's down to 3. My bad, N/A


Just watched this show. Awful awful awful. They need to leave tripe like this to TLC. Way below FoodTv's normally high standards. I hope they cancel this crap soon.


I really liked the show ,so far ive seen 3 shows, r there anymore ?? i think its refreshing to watch a reality show thats fun an funny,good job FN.There's alot of cooking shows on but this one shows joey cookin out of his comfort zone.I liked chopped too,another great show.i follow

Thanks for your comment, Tambra. I've been looking for the rest of the series - haven't been able to find it. Maybe it is being revised. I have to be satisfied with old Chopped programs (I learn from all of them - new and old) but I do not want to see any variations on the Iron Chef theme (over-done in my opinion). Cheers!