Food and Drink - Spring 2011 - (Page 220)

>r RESTAURANTS bensi restaurant group inc. Made From Scratch Bensi has earned loyal customers with its traditional Italian food. By Alan Dorich cations with bars and lounges. “In the larger, newer restaurants, [we] get more occasion dining,” Osso says. “[But] in general, we’re family friendly.” Food Focused After 27 years, Osso still enjoys the restaurant business. Originally, when he joined his brother-in-law in the venture, he operated several convenience stores and planned to be an absentee owner. However, he found he enjoyed work in foodservice and “I haven’t thought about doing anything else for a long time. A lot of people talk about the restaurant business being a difficult business. It’s what I’ve been focusing on since [1983].” One of the pleasures of the job is that it has allowed him to work alongside several members of his family. Along with his brother-in-law, his sister-inlaw, Denise, manages its office, while his sister, Dorina Bernardo, and nephew, Rick Osso, also hold positions at Bensi Restaurant Group. A graduate of NYU, Rick Osso joined the business almost 10 years ago and is a co-owner in the company who oversees its operations. Additionally, John Osso’s brother, Clemente Osso, joined the company several years ago and now is its controller. He has an MBA from Iona College and a second degree – a masters in information systems – from Stevens Technical Institute. John Osso adds that other key members of the company include Culinary Institute of America graduates Ken Hoerle and Keith Newman, as well as longtime employee Oscar Benitez. “[They] oversee menu implementation and development,” Osso says. Osso also praises The Commercial Agency Inc., which he has had a rela- >> Bensi Restaurant Group says the care it puts into its food has earned it a strong base of repeat clients. ome restaurants follow the practice of reheating prepared foods, but Bensi Restaurant Group Inc. sets itself apart by avoiding that approach, President John Osso says. “We focus on [serving] Italian food prepared from scratch,” he says. “We don’t blanch and reheat, as is the process in many places. We execute it the traditional way.” Based in Park Ridge, N.J., Bensi Restaurant Group has 23 Italian restaurant locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Osso and his brother-in-law, Mario Bernardo, started the company in 1983 with a single pizcompany profile za restaurant in Tenafly, N.J. Today, Osso says, the majority of the company’s restauBensi Restaurant Group Inc. rants are owner-operated. “In each restaurant, we have a 2009 sales: $35 million+ chef with typically a 10 percent ownership stake, and the HQ: Park Ridge, N.J. Employees: 900 manager has a 10 percent ownership stake,” he explains. Specialty: Italian restaurants “Both are capable of overseeing the entire operation.” John Osso, president: “A lot of people talk about the restaurant business Bensi Restaurant Group’s operations are in a variety of being a difficult business. It’s what I’ve locations. For instance, some are neighborhood eateries been focusing on since [1983].” in shopping centers, and it also has 6,000-square-foot lo- S 220 food and drink • spring 2011 •

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink - Spring 2011

Food and Drink - Spring 2011
Tableside Chat
Table of Contents
News a la Carte
Current Events
FAD Exclusive
A Ripening Field
History in the Making
New Wine Paradigm
Don Sebastiani & Sons/ The Other Guys
St. Julian Winery
Ste. Genevieve Winery
Herzog Wine Cellars
Meier’s Wine Cellar
Oak Ridge Winery
Producers: Keeping Trade Secrets
MaMa Rosa’s Pizza
Gel Spice Co. LLC
Vegetable Juices Inc.
Royal Caribbean Bakery/Caribbean Food Delights
Red Stripe Beer
Robertet Flavors
Annabelle Candy
Andrea Foods
Anchor Brewing
F&F Foods
Santa Sweets Inc.
Hillside Candy
Ricos Products
Sethness Greenleaf Inc.
Wunder-Bar: Automatic Bar Controls
Antigua Distillery
AMES International
Amato’s Bakery
Charlie’s Pride Meats
Citromax Group of Companies
Diamond Bakery
Grindmaster- Cecilware Corp.
Heartland Mill
Kirschenman Enterprises
Rakhra Mushroom Farm
FAME Food Management
Schneider Packaging Equipment Co. Inc.
Sea Harvest Corporation (Pty) Ltd.
Sparrer Sausage Co. Inc.
Jamaican Teas Ltd.
Westminster Cracker Co.
Distributors: Don’t Risk It
The Fricks Company
U.S. Foodservice – Milwaukee Division
Arizona Select Distribution
Fairway Packing Co.
Ingredient Innovations
J.J. Taylor Distributing Co. of Minnesota Inc.
Mastronardi Produce
Milne Fruit Products Inc.
Pellerito Foods
Albion Fisheries Ltd.
RPE Inc.
Retailers: Savoring the Moment
Roadtown Wholesale Trading Ltd.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
Quick Chek
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Sendik’s Fine Foods Inc.
Zaro’s Bakery
Balboa Brands
Restaurants: Toss Around Ideas
Sizzler USA
Dick’s Last Resort
Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd.
Liberty Entertainment Group
Roly Poly Franchise Systems
Santa Fe Cattle Co.
Winger’s USA Inc.
Bensi Restaurant Group Inc.
Leo’s Coney Island
Three Things

Food and Drink - Spring 2011