- Age: 40
- Brooklyn, New York
- Financial Services
- Restaurant Concept: Saucy Balls
Joseph Galluzzi lives in New York City with his wife and two children. He grew up in a poor, dysfunctional family, and his family is everything to him now. Currently Galluzzi is the managing director of a life insurance agency. Galluzzi loves cooking, eating, and dreams of bringing people happiness through delicious food. In the future, Galluzzi would like to open Saucy Balls, a restaurant named by his daughter. His dream would be to open a place with a laid-back environment where you can go to enjoy, music, movies and the greatest meatballs. Galluzzi is very excited to show off his food and idea to the investors, and believes his work ethic, perseverance and indomitable spirit - and of course, charming personality - make him the perfect candidate.
- Exit Interview:
What inspired your fast casual restaurant concept?
It has been my life-long dream to own and operate a restaurant and to bring the home-cooked, authentic, Italian taste to the American public at an affordable price using the freshest, best ingredients.
What was it like to make it to the Top 10 and compete on the show?
I had visualized myself as being part of the Top 10 in order to compete for the ultimate prize, but when I was confirmed as one of the Top 10, aside from my children being born, I would have to say it was one of the most exciting and happiest moments of my life. I was one huge step closer to my dream coming true!
What moment or moments on the show were most surprising to you?
For me, to be part of this show was truly a blessing as well as an opportunity of a lifetime. I was in awe and grateful for literally every moment of the show, so it is very difficult to pick out one moment.
What was the best part of your experience? Did it change you?
The best part of the experience was to actually experience going into business as a restaurateur. Many people love cooking and fantasize about having a restaurant; however these fantasies do not include all the little details involved in opening and operating a successful restaurant. This experience has given me the opportunity to go through all the steps involved in opening a restaurant, and I guess really the best part of the experience was coming away from the show knowing that I now want to do this more than ever. So perhaps the way the experience may have changed me is by confirming that owning a restaurant is what I was put on this earth to do, and rather than thinking that it would be nice to do "someday," it is now my top priority to bring my concept to life no matter what.
Did you make any lasting friendships and/or business relationships on the show? With whom?
Do you think you should have been eliminated? Did you agree with the investors' decision?
There is no question the investors know what they're doing and the winning concept will be a great success; however, given my passion and commitment to my concept, it would not come as a surprise that I feel I should not have been eliminated. I gave the investors a concept that has national appeal and can be developed on a huge scale at a low cost, allowing for higher than average profit margins in the food service industry. Unfortunately, my lack of experience in the restaurant business cost me in the end. The investors all agreed my food was awesome, so I believe they could have certainly lent their expertise and we could have all worked together to execute my concept flawlessly and successfully.
Are you going to continue to pursue your restaurant concept?
Which one of your competitors' restaurants would you eat at regularly?
I have tremendous respect for all of my competitors and enjoyed their food, but I would have to say the Wok concept would probably be most appealing to me on a regular basis.
What have you been doing since being on the show?
Since the show, I have continued to work my financial services business, but "America's Next Great Restaurant" made me realize more than ever how I must fulfill my life's passion and dream, so I have been refining my concept and have enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at Le Cordon Bleu to better educate myself in food service.
What has the experience of being on the show taught you?
Never let go of your dreams!