Caroline Manzo can be considered the De facto matriarch of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” This season, she has a done a good job of keeping her hands clean of Danielle Staub drama.
We can’t say the same for her sister, Dina Manzo, who ended up leaving the show after a very heated argument with Danielle – one Caroline warned her not to go on.
“The insanity of it all,” Caroline tells Zap2it. “I don’t know what to say. I would have preferred that she didn’t do it. Nothing good could have come out of it, well, with the exception of great TV I suppose.”
We chatted with Caroline about some of the misconceptions about her family and their business, and how she kept her cool when her son crossed with the likes of Danielle and Kim G.
Why do people connect your family with the mafia?
That’s the million-dollar question. I don’t know if it’s a ‘Sopranos’ thing, I don’t know if it’s an Italian thing from Jersey, I don’t know what it is. But it is something that for years and years people always have said. I guess when you run a restaurant business, same with a builder, you get that stigma attached to you. Absolutely ridiculous. It is insulting. It is insulting because they have worked so, so hard to build the business and I find it offensive to disrespect all of the work they have put in to this place and to just so cavalierly throw that at us. But you know what? Again, you take it from where it comes and you say okay, great, have fun.
]]>You mentioned on the show that people have called your family’s
business, The Brownstone, an overnight success. Why would they say that?
yeah, people will say, “It’s great that you are on the show, because
now The Brownstone will get busier” and I’m like, gee, you would have
to add another day to the week and another floor to The Brownstone.
Thank goodness it has been a very successful business for many years.
It certainly wasn’t like that when they first bought it. It has been
thirty years that my husband’s there, but it has grown, oh my God, in
leaps and bounds over thirty years with additions and everything.
And, your kids, have they received preferential treatment, because dad’s the owner?
of them did everything. Somebody vomited on the floor? We’d say,
‘Albie, go clean up the vomit.’ And he’d say, ‘OK.’ What’s great about
it is all the employees at The Brownstone, from the dishwashers to the
valets to the bartenders, they all worked in every aspect in every
department. So they all know these kids and they know that they put in
the hours and they know that they worked and they know that they are
good kids. It is a wonderful thing when you are going there and you see
them interacting with everybody. We have almost 300 employees and they
interact with everybody and they know everybody’s name and everything.
That to me is tremendous.
Danielle Staub is one thing, but what is Kim G.’s deal?
Kim and I only know each other because I know that she’s [my son,
Christopher’s friend] John’s mom and she knows that I am Christopher’s
mom. There was never so much as an invitation for a cup of coffee on
her part to me in the past ten years. And to be fair I never reached
out to her either. So I just thought that the timing was a
little…bizarre. I thought the invitation was a little strange, and this
is why I stepped away from that. As far as her friendship goes, I don’t
know the woman well enough to say she is not clear about things, or she
is being fooled, or is Danielle her type of person or is Danielle not
her type of person? I don’t know the answer to those questions. Because
I don’t know her.
You seem pretty forgiving – even after she twisted Chris’ words when
he said that they were “in for a surprise” and added fuel to Danielle’s
I was able to let go. Certainly it was disappointing. No doubt. It was
uncomfortable for me to watch without question. But again, it is not
like we had a relationship and she turned on me. It is not like we had
a relationship and she was like two-faced. We didn’t have a
relationship. So is that’s what she wants to do, than great. However,
I’m not going to let her actions impact me enough to affect the boys’
So, you’re OK with Kim G. even after Danny, Danielle’s ex-felon friend, called Chris a gay slur?
We have so much crap going on in this world, you think I am going to
let that bother me? You take it from where it comes. It was certainly
disappointing. I would like to think that she would have behaved
better. But guess what? My son wasn’t hurt, thank God. Thank God my son
didn’t hear that comment. Because I don’t know what he would have done
to you know, that, whoever the hell he is. I feel like we dodged a
bullet. I am grateful he didn’t hear it. And I am grateful he did not
hear the comments from Kim or Danny. And his safety is my primary
concern. We dodged a bullet that night and that’s all I have to say
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