Straight talk with NYC restaurateur Joe Germanotta

Joe Germanotta is a restaurant entrepreneur and father of pop superstar Lady Gaga (Stefani) and fashion designer Natali Germanotta.

 Top right: Joe Germanotta at his restaurant; center right: Germanotta and Lady Gaga.bottom right: The outside of Joanne Trattoria near Lincoln Center in Manhattan; top left: The author and Germanotta; bottom left: Germanotta with daughters Natali and Stefani (Lady Gaga) and his wife, Cynthia.  (photo credit: JOSEPH SCUTTS)
Top right: Joe Germanotta at his restaurant; center right: Germanotta and Lady Gaga.bottom right: The outside of Joanne Trattoria near Lincoln Center in Manhattan; top left: The author and Germanotta; bottom left: Germanotta with daughters Natali and Stefani (Lady Gaga) and his wife, Cynthia.
(photo credit: JOSEPH SCUTTS)
Jerusalem Report logo small (credit: JPOST STAFF)Jerusalem Report logo small (credit: JPOST STAFF)

New York – When you think of Manhattan, you think of the bright lights of Times Square, the famous Broadway shows, the scenic views of Central Park, the historic museums, and of course, the restaurants. But the past two years have been very challenging, for business owners in every corner of the globe and especially in the restaurant business.

Joe Germanotta is one such businessman, a restaurant entrepreneur and father of pop superstar Lady Gaga (Stefani) and fashion designer Natali Germanotta. He has owned the Italian eatery Joanne Trattoria on the Upper West Side for 11 years, says that the restrictions placed on restaurants have given people like him headaches, despite his following all the protocols.

“They are still checking vaccine cards and IDs, employees have to wear masks, and all employees need to be vaccinated, so we have to keep that in the books in case the Health Department or somebody stops by,” Germanotta said in an interview with FOX Business.

However, he is left wondering why politicians such New York City Mayor Eric Adams are cracking down on some restrictions but vague about others.

 People queue to be tested for COVID-19 in Times Square, as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in Manhattan, New York City, US, December 20, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) People queue to be tested for COVID-19 in Times Square, as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in Manhattan, New York City, US, December 20, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
What does NYC need to do to get everything back on track?

New York has to start repolishing the Big Apple. It’s the broken-window theory, which states that if the streets are dirty and the windows are broken and the stores are empty, then the tourists are not going to come. The theaters suffer, Lincoln Center suffers, and you feel the ripple effect. It’s like the butterfly in Africa that flaps its wings and then starts a hurricane.

I think that the mayor needs to really get his act together and stop making speeches and start taking action. That’s basically the answer from a crime perspective. From a messaging perspective, I think that our government, leadership and the Health Department in the city need to really tone it down. I believe that they are scaring the public and over-hyping the whole thing. Why are you asking me to enforce your mandates by barring people from coming into my restaurant and having a good time because they haven’t received their vaccine? It’s ludicrous. What they show me is a paper vaccine card that has some hand scribbling on it that may or may not have a sticker on it from the first shot. They could easily write the second shot and the third shot on the card and then just show me an ID card that has their picture on it. But I don’t know its full status as a vaccine card.

Where does your steadfast commitment come from, and how does it help you in your advocacy for fellow NYC restaurant owners?

I’ve lived here for many years, and for the first time I am thinking about getting out of here because when I think about my tax dollars and where they are going, it’s ridiculous. As a New York business owner, it’s tough. My daughter [Lady Gaga] is very supportive of the restaurant and my efforts and is very understanding, and I appreciate that from both my daughters. Quite frankly, neither one of them wanted this business. It’s a family-owned business, meaning that they don’t want to run it and be in the restaurant business. One is a fashion designer and one is an entertainer. They don’t want to be in the business so what am I doing here? I do it because of the passion of doing it. I do it for the neighborhood and to keep this place alive. ■