It has been a whirl wind couple of weeks for me, out and about making multiple stops to different shows and venues. Author Alysia Stern’s Long Island networking birthday party started the streak, where cameras were rolling and connections were made—leading to my second visit to the island just a week later for her internet talk show “Rendezvous With Alysia.” In between, I was back in New York, this time Mulberry Street for “The Bill Russo Show” on Centanni Radio in Manhattan.
Then, I participated in a huge business-to-business event at The Landmark banquet hall in Jersey, where I served meatballs and again made multiple connections. That was followed by (one day later) visiting “The Carlucci Show” at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Hasbrouck Heights where I met the lovely and talented Nicole Russodivito who operates EatDrink NewJersey.com—a website for restaurants.
I haven’t done this much media and appearances since I was on Vh1 working the circuit for “My Big Friggin’ Wedding”!
Looking back on all of those experiences and reflecting on my “streak,” I am left to wonder, what’s next? Will I now take it easy for a while or piggy-back off all that and continue on? There’s no rest for entrepreneurs, I am all about constant promotion, cross-promotion and getting myself out there—in any showcase. It was great to expand my brand as I discussed last week in Long Island and Manhattan recently, but it’s always great to be on my “home turf” at The Carlucci Show and also at The Landmark.
It was really a “coming home” for me and my wife at The Landmark. Just five weeks shy of our 2 year wedding anniversary where we were married on national TV at the aforementioned Landmark, we were back there for the first time since…in their gorgeous downstairs ballroom, just an elevator ride from where we tied the knot with 495 Productions filming every move.
But we weren’t there to reminisce, it was all about business, yet we still had fun. Megin and I were back as the Bonnie & Clyde power couple duo, dishing out free samples and giving out lots of brochures to fellow food & entertainment industry professionals. This scene is a whole untapped market for us…while we made some appearances at weddings when we were at our Vh1 height, we were focused on other projects and didn’t devote much to it—which we probably should have, considering we achieved our initial fame through our own televised wedding and immersing ourselves in the wedding world would have been the natural capitalization of that. But here it is, two years later, we did our first expo in the bride and groom community, which was an enormous success.
So many people loved the idea of having Johnny Meatballs On A Roll – The World’s First Mobile Meatball Cart parked outside of catering establishments as a quick “after party” treat for exhausted and hungry guests to grab a meatball sandwich for the limo ride home. Nothing cures a night of drinking and dancing then one of my signature specialties—it’s a lot classier than a late night trip to White Castle! But besides that, we also spoke with owners of many different companies who were intrigued about what I do and had some great ideas on collaborations.
The best part was giving out my meatballs, it makes me feel so good when people enjoy them. I wish I could always just give them away for free. I love the look on people’s faces when they enjoy them and make it a point to say that they are gonna tell all their friends and counterparts in the industry how great they are. I never look at my fellow vendors as competition, there is enough out there for all of us to succeed. Now I will make it a point to mention some of the fine individuals who had tables next to mine…
First and foremost, I have to thank Billy G. Lippolis who invited me in the first place along with Erik Kent of NJWedding.com – New Jersey’s Wedding Planning Resource. These are two truly great gentlemen who are dedicated to what they do and welcomed me with open arms. Set up next to me was Jimenez Tobacco of Newark, who were great neighbors—especially since they hooked me up with some of their exquisite hand-rolled cigars. Across from me was “My Daughter’s Cakes,” the owner Denise is a beautiful person inside and out and her cakes are equally as stunning. And tasty too! She not only sent over several scrumptious chocolate bites throughout the night but she even sent me home with a huge chunk to share with my kids. “Cake It Up” was another cake artist with “couture cakes” that definitely live up to their motto of “standing out in a crowd.”
There were makeup artists, portrait studios, a photo booth, an espresso company and many DJ’s to name a few other participants. Of course I cannot forget Sopranodoubles.com and the world’s best Robert DeNiro impersonator—possibly as famous as the real Bobby D. himself!
This was a great affair and I certainly plan to attend similar functions like this in the future. In the meantime, my next scheduled event will be here before you know it. The four day St. Rocco’s Feast in Fort Lee is just 2 weeks away (August 8-12) and I will be set up at the main entrance area each night across from “Crazy Vinny” the sausage man alongside Sonja the Cupcake Cutie, among others. I am sure there will be many other things before and after—as I said, I am always on the move and doing my thing. Come the fall, I already have some major stuff lined up…I will definitely be returning to Alysia’s studio and I will be kicking off The Carlucci Show’s new season with Gregg and guests JoAnn From Bensonhurst and Giovanni from Mama’s Boys From The Bronx. That is gonna be an INSANE show. I also will be going on the “Dark After Thoughts” program with Melissa Nicholas on uberradionetwork.
Today I am taking a day off but I will be back in action soon. I have a lot in the works and you will all be the first to know. I do what I do for all my loyal fans and followers, but one thing I always say to my buddy Gregg Carlucci and my other counterparts is that we’re all in this together. No matter where I go next, I will never forget where I come from and what matters most. And that’s the fine folks you meet along the way. Whatever aspect of the food and entertainment business to which you are referring may indeed be a business, but at the end of the day, the people are what fuel it.
I have been very lucky to hook up with some real good people over the past few weeks and especially lucky for my wife and kids for standing by my side and offering such a strong support system. I am all about being good to your friends and family and when you live your life treating others with respect and always being positive, good things will come your way. That’s what I believe and I am sticking to it. I don’t believe in being cutthroat or stepping on toes and I’ve talked extensively about not burning bridges. These philosophies are ingrained in me and will not change. Doing so would make one a sell-out and that word is not in my vocabulary.
The Meatball King will continue to hustle and plug forward and explore all opportunities. That’s my game and I will keep on playing!