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The Italian Roots Behind Undici Restaurant

An Intimate Interview with Owner Victor Rallo Jr.

Victor Rallo Jr. is the perfect mix between old school and new school tactics.

Dressed in his cuffed jeans and trendy large rimmed ray ban glasses, Vic portrays himself as a man of this century, but the look behind his eyes is purely from the old country.

Victor grew up with the restaurant business ingrained in his system. His parents owned and operated their own restaurant, Rallo’s Pizzeria, which gave Vic his first taste of what the business entailed.

Working from the ground up, Victor knows all the in’s and out’s of the restaurant business including bussing tables.

“I started out very young,” Victor said. “The business opened before I was born, but by the time I was 12 I was already working in the Pizzeria bussing tables.”

After Vic hit the age of 20 he entered into his first restaurant partnership with his father and his brother and together they opened V.R. Ralwiggle’s in Point Pleasant, which is no longer open.

However, with death comes rebirth and with the end of V.R. Ralwiggles came the birth of Vic’s two restaurants, Basil T’s and .

“I actually own Basil T’s on my own, but at Undici’s I partnered with the Diaco family and created this.” Vic said as he surveyed the restaurant.

As Vic explains his philosophy on authentic Italian cooking, you can see the dedication and sincerity in his eyes. He is not a man who cuts corners; he is a man that will settle for nothing less than the best.

“I go to Italy about 8 times a year,” Vic explains. “I’m always looking for the best new wineries, the best new restaurants, the best new vegetable, the best of Italy!”

Italy is such a large country and it is filled with over 20 different regions, all which are known for different produce or meat. Each area is so unique that you will never find the same tastes in a similar dish and that is what Vic brings home to America.

“When you go to an area they try to make everything the same,” Vic declares. “But everything isn’t the same and what happens in America is the true Italian nature gets lost under all the excess.”

At Undici’s, you’ll only find the best of the best in Italian produce, meats and cheeses. Now on occasion Vic will venture to the local farmer’s markets for his produce or fish in order to support the local scene, but most of the time you’re indulging in true Italian delights.

“Whenever we can, we try to get produce locally,” Vic replies. “But normally we import everything from Italy, including the flour. We don’t use any farm raised products sprayed with pesticides and gross things like that.”

Victor works closely with head chef Giovanni Atzori to create seasonal menus and new recipes for both restaurants.

“We try to feed the people,” Vic explains. “The best possible meal they can get. Cooking is an art with instant gratification, you don’t have to wait years for a finished painting and you can eat the result."

Now if you’re thinking Victor is all work and no play you are sorely mistaken. This guy is a true Italian family man who spends most of his free time out of his restaurants in his own kitchen. He has a daughter and twin sons who all love to spend time with daddy in the office.

“My home is between my two restaurants so I get to see my family a lot,” Vic said. “My kids love to cook, I just bought my son a new omelet pan.

Owning a restaurant can be a tiring business but Vic seems to have the right balance in his life, equally spreading his time between his loves: family and food. There is just something different about the way food tastes when it’s made with authentic ingredients and authentic love.

“I’m going to keep doing this until I ride off into the Italian sunset,” Vic states of his retirement plan.

Check out his video interview exclusive to Patch.com where he explains how to make the perfect pizza and check his video search for the best pizza in Italy here.

Also if you’re interested in learning about wine while enjoying some fine Italian meals then join Vic and chef Anthony Verdoni for their Wine Seminars held exclusively at Undici. There is still time to register for the March 7th, 28th or April 18th class!

Call Undici’s at 732.842.3880 for more details. $65.00-$100.00/individual.

louise February 08, 2011 at 01:48 PM
used to like going there until i was asked to move while eating my dinner at the bar,watching baseball, because the owners wanted to watch hockey and that was the tv that gave their table the best view!
Ryan Egan February 08, 2011 at 03:55 PM
great article, love the writer!
mike mattiace February 09, 2011 at 03:08 AM
u never know who your custermer's are?
mike mattiace February 09, 2011 at 03:09 AM
very bad move on their part
andrew February 25, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Seems to me that the operative word was "asked". You could have declined.

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