• Black and white photos of owners in their youth
  • Old photo od owners

Bertolone's Classic Italian Restaurant

About us

Our History

My father often shared the story of his first encounter with the woman who would become his beloved life partner, my mother, Elvira. With a mischievous gleam in his eyes, he recounted that unforgettable moment when love at first sight struck him.

At first, radiant and captivating Elvira hesitated about my father's advances. However, their situation shifted when a close family friend of my mother, who also happened to be a friend of my father, vouched for his honorable character and esteemed family background. With these assurances and growing affection, their love deepened, and they married in 1968.

Several years later, in early 1977, our family, consisting of my parents, my brother Michael, and I, embarked on a life-altering journey across the oceans to establish our new home in California. Our destination was the picturesque town of Gilroy, situated just south of San Jose, well before the Silicon Valley's boom.

Gilroy, renowned as the "Garlic Capital of the World," proved to be an ideal setting for our Italian family, deeply rooted in the traditions and cuisine of our native land. A year later, a new chapter in our family's story unfolded with the arrival of my sister, Mary.

By 1981, the original Joe's Italian opened its doors, marking the commencement of our culinary journey. We quickly gained a devoted local following and earned recognition in the Library of Congress' prestigious traveling exhibit, "Italian-Americans in the West." Our culinary adventures expanded to include live cooking competitions hosted by the Food Network during the renowned Garlic Festival.

In 2007, my parents retired from the food industry. They bid farewell to their cherished restaurant and relocated to Alabama to be closer to my youngest sibling, Mary. However, retirement didn't quite agree with my mother, who soon found herself cooking for the neighbors.

Meanwhile, my father, missing the social interactions he had enjoyed at the restaurant, grew restless at home. After numerous intense discussions at the family dinner table, we collectively decided it was time to return to work. This decision led to the opening of the Alabama rendition of our original Joe's Italian, located in Weatherly.

Tragically, we said our final goodbyes to my father in March 2013. With profound respect and heartfelt gratitude for the legacy passed down by my parents, and with unwavering love and support from both our family and dedicated staff, Bertolone’s was born. Our primary mission is to honor and preserve our culinary heritage through an unyielding commitment to excellence. We welcome each guest as an extension of our family, inviting you to savor the delightful flavors of our cuisine and partake in the enduring love and dedication that have been the bedrock of our extraordinary journey. In every dish we lovingly prepare and serve, you will encounter the lasting echoes of my father's culinary passion, ensuring his memory remains vibrant and alive

-Sonia Bertolone