The world of dining is as tumultuous as it is tantalizing. “On the Rocks: The Primadonna Story” by Maria C. Palmer provides a startlingly intimate account of this industry, charting the rollercoaster life of restaurateur Joseph Costanzo Jr.
The book delves into the highs and lows of Costanzo’s journey, from the dizzying heights of success as owner of the acclaimed Primadonna Restaurant, radio host, and aspiring politician, to the dark depths of an investigation and stint in federal prison. Costanzo’s story is a compelling study of a complex character, a man whose confidence and generosity are as notable as his arrogance and egotism. Readers will find themselves drawn into a narrative that is as much a lesson in the pitfalls of unchecked ambition as it is a tale of resilience and redemption.
“On the Rocks” is a product of Palmer’s quest to share a rich family history that had commercial appeal. It’s a story of determination, resilience, and unending love, beautifully penned by Palmer and her co-author, Ruthie Robbins. The book offers an intimate invite into the half-lit booth at Primadonna’s bar, sweeping readers into a captivating story of family, food, and American dreams.
The memoir paints an evocative picture of the Italian-American restaurateur culture, complete with the quirks and eccentricities of the colorful characters who frequented The Primadonna. It provides a heartwarming, heartbreaking, and often humorous journey, filled with trials, tribulations, and the raw reality of striving for success against all odds.
In its 314-page journey, “On the Rocks” serves up a dish of the vibrant Italian-American culture, the intricacies of the restaurant business, and the transformative power of resilience. It’s a book for those who crave a deep, engaging dive into the life of an unforgettable character, and a testament to the enduring power of dreams and the human spirit to overcome adversity.
“On the Rocks” reminds us that the hunger that makes us can also break us—but only if we allow it. Even in the darkest of nights, the love of a faithful partner and the resilience inherent in our dreams can light our way forward. For those with a taste for captivating narratives and rich, cultural histories, Maria C. Palmer’s “On the Rocks” is a must-read1.
A testament to Palmer’s writing skill, “On the Rocks” has garnered rave reviews from early readers, captivating them with its engaging narrative and nuanced character portrayals. As we anticipate its official release on August 8, 2023, “On the Rocks” promises to be a compelling read that will leave a lasting impact.