Eggs Benedict and Pulled Pork/Egg and Ham Wrap with Bloody Mary – Great Bruch at Giuseppe’s Ristorante
Tag Archives: Memory Layne
Giuseppe’s Ristorante: Food, Music and a Wedding ~ Memory Layne & Joe Thomas to Tie the Knot this Weekend
by Chris Langathianos with Joe Wilkins
Joe Thomas plays his 90-year-old family piano, handed down to him by his Uncle Barney, with a wide-eyed grin – his head swaying with each note. Then a sweet voice creeps in singing the melody to Tom Waits’ “Ol’ 55”.
“Well my time went so quickly, I went lickety-splitly out to my old ‘55 As I drove away slowly, feeling so holy, God knows, I was feeling alive.”
Thomas looks to his right with a look of pride and adoration as Memory Layne effortlessly glides through the classic song. This is not an uncommon scene at Giuseppe’s Ristorante, which has in the course of its 3 years, become a dining and live music staple on the Gloucester night life scene. Serendipitously, this is how the story begins – 5 summers ago at a piano not far from here.
Joe Thomas and Memory Layne met while Joe was hosting a piano bar at the former Studio Restaurant on Rocky Neck. One evening, she called out from the back of the restaurant requesting a favorite song, All I Want From You, and Joe, looking up from the piano, replied, “Can you sing it?”
They have been accompanying each other ever since that night, only the stage has changed. After meeting that summer, the two lived an idyllic, seaside relationship – filled with walks on the beach, great food, music and cocktails – but the season’s end inevitably rolled around. Thomas had to pack his bags and begin his annual winter pilgrimage to warmer climates, where he could be found playing piano and singing familiar songs for vacationers escaping the New England cold.
“I wish I could stay longer ‘cause this feeling’s getting stronger.”
For Joe and Memory, this was a crossroads of sorts and the already romantically involved pair knew what they had to do. They wanted to share their music year-round, and that’s when they decided to create their own special piano bar on Cape Ann where guests could enjoy the same great food, music and company that originally brought the two of them together. They had come full circle.
Fast forward to Giuseppe’s 3-year anniversary. Roughly 100 friends and family members gather at Giuseppe’s to celebrate the occasion. As the piano plays in the background, various guests get up and accompany Joe on vocals, from piano bar regular “Wild Bill” Shepherd to local musicians Bradley Royds and Brian King. The steady stream of guests seem to revel in the fact that they are a part of the 3 year celebration. Joe and Memory’s vision has been truly realized. Over the course of the last several years, the restaurant has become a live music staple in the arts-rich, Cape Ann community. Guests will find live music 5 nights a week – from piano bar on Fridays and Saturdays to acoustic performances on Wednesdays and Sundays. The popular Thursday night Singer-Songwriter Shufﬂe, allows guests to catch 20 minute sets from 7 of the area’s best songwriters, including the likes of Chelsea Berry, Allen Estes, Joe Wilkins, and AnnMarie Shiminoski, to name a few. Giuseppe’s commitment to the arts however, extends beyond the local music scene. Glancing past the piano, one can’t help but notice the giant canvas prints – the work of local photographer, Brendan Pike. Each print highlights something of significance at Giuseppe’s – pizza, cannolis, the piano, a microphone. Elsewhere on the brick walls, watercolors by Memory Layne add a splash of seaside color to the restaurant’s interior.
By design, the space has a uniquely handcrafted, almost home-like feel. When asked about the Giuseppe’s experience, Memory says, “we do everything we can to make people feel as if they are a guest in our home – from the moment they walk in the door until they leave.”
And indeed, this welcoming philosophy is evident each time a guest walks through the door. The hospitable staff, while working hard to keep partiers happy, are also greeting familiar guests and regulars with warm hugs and familiar conversation. This has been just one part of Giuseppe’s formula for success – getting to know people.
Restaurant regulars Steve O’Connell and Amy Sweeney gushed about how the restaurant is a “warm and welcoming place where old friends meet new friends. It has wonderful food and an eclectic mix of music and artists. Best of all, Joe and Memory make you feel like you’re not in a restaurant, but in their home.”
Giuseppe’s holds a unique place in Gloucester’s rich culinary landscape. While the restaurant celebrates its 3-year anniversary in the old Blackburn Building, the concept is rooted in a 25-year family tradition. Joe’s sister, Julie, opened the first Giuseppe’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Meredith, NH in 1989 and Joe has spent a lot of time playing piano on their stage. That was the inspiration for Giuseppe’s Gloucester – authentic Italian pizza and cuisine in a warm environment, surrounded by good music. Asked what she would tell a first-time guest to order, Memory pauses and says, “I generally ask what they’re in the mood for – pizza, pasta, chicken, or seafood? I’lI often recommend our pizza because that’s what Giuseppe’s was built on and it’s part of our 25 plus years of history. If they want pasta, I’ll tell them to build their own from the “Pasta-bilities” section of our menu. A favorite of ours is the Creme Rosa sauce with the pasta of your choice. Oh and everyone raves about our Spinach Roll!”
Regulars might say that Memory is being a bit humble in failing to mention dessert. All of Giuseppe’s desserts are handmade by Memory, the warm, triple chocolate bread pudding being a signature offering. Often times, guests will come in and eat a light dinner just to leave room for this decadent chocolaty concoction.
“I made it for Christmas dinner the year before we opened the restaurant”, Memory says of the bread pudding, “we knew we were opening the restaurant, and that was when we decided I would be baking all the desserts. Coming from an art background, it really enables me to be creative with the dessert specials each week, ranging from strawberry shortcake and raspberry cheesecake, and coconut cake, which is a favorite.”
Also unique to Giuseppe’s offerings are their gluten free options, including gluten-free pizza, rice pasta and other dishes that accommodate various dietary restrictions. Using rice flours, and grilled meats and ﬁsh, instead of the standard ﬂour or breadcrumbs, the kitchen is able to cater to diners with gluten-free diets. Joe Thomas says that Giuseppe’s actually hears the most from guests who come in for the gluten-free menu, “so often we have a guest say ‘I’ve really missed pizza!’”
This wekend, the musical pizza and piano pioneers, Joe and Memory, will finally make their story official, with plans to get married right in the middle of their own restaurant. Memory describes it as a “total do it yourself wedding…” with music provided by Joe’s long time Dueling Pianos partner, Ricky Lauria and food prepared onsite in the restaurant’s own kitchen. When asked about what will be on the menu, Memory says “I keep changing my mind… when the world is your oyster in a restaurant kitchen… it’s hard to decide”. In the words of the Giuseppe’s menu, there are endless “Pasta-bilities”.
Naturally, Joe and Memory will tie the knot right next to the grand piano, and will become a truly dynamic duo. Their continued partnership in romance, in music and in business, is part of why Giuseppe’s has been so successful in its first few years. But the formula would not be complete without all the loyal customers that Joe and Memory have won the hearts of, like Bill and Lucille Shephard. Wild Bill, as he is fondly referred to, said, “We love going to Giuseppe’s. I’ve been with Joe for about 10 to 15 years. He is the first piano player that I can sing with. I met them at the Studio and I happened to be there the night they met and I think they were made for each other. I will soon be 80 years old and I would like to continue going to Giuseppe’s for the rest of my life.”
When asked about the biggest factor in the 3 years of nonstop growth at Giuseppe’s Ristorante, Memory immediately says, “The loyalty of our customers. One of the greatest privileges of owning and running a restaurant is getting to know your customers. We feel truly blessed to have met and made friends with so many of our regulars. The sense of community that we feel makes all the hard work well worth it.” Giuseppe’s is truly the kind of restaurant where, if you become a regular, you become part of the family.
Giuseppe’s gets it. They know how to blend food and music into an entertaining evening out for all ages.
Beginning tonight at 6:30pm, Giuseppe’s owners, Joe Thomas and Memory Layne are Allen’s guests on his Cape Ann TV show Local Music Seen with Allen Estes on cable channel 12. The show airs again on Friday at 1pm, and Sunday at 6pm. For all of you FOBs, who don’t live in Gloucester, you can now watch Local Music Seen and other shows on Cape Ann TV’s wicked cool on-line streaming service here.
If you do live here, bop on down to Giuseppe’s after the show and see rising stars Renee & Joe perform live at 7pm. Then you can head over to the Rhumb Line and catch Allen with special guests, The Backwoods Ramblers later in the evening.
And tomorrow, live music in Gloucester starts at 1pm. See the complete live music schedule here.
All of us are looking forward to a few weeks from now when Giuseppe’s fires up their Singer/Songwriter Shuffle for an exciting new season. Stay tuned . . .
Local Music Seen with Allen Estes. Two filmings one of Memory Layne and Joe Thomas of Giuseppe’s Ristorante and of Alexandra Valenti
click each section of photos for a slide show or a larger view.
It was a real treat to be able to sit in on these recordings. Memory Layne and Joe Thomas are such pillars in the “music” community. They bring in talent from all around and have shows such as The SingerSongWriter Series (a total of three so far) where T Max of the Noise Magazine was even host for a whole series and performed during them and in other series as well. They will be bringing the series back soon so keep on the look out if you are interested in attending. There is music Wednesday through Sunday. They have a grand piano bar right in the middle of Ristorante that people gather around and have sing a longs. Sometimes the guest from around the dining room end up joining in. On many occasions Giuseppe’s has hosted fundraisers for various projects giving a certain percent of the evening’s total. It is an honor to know Joe and Memory.
Alexandra Valenti is somewhat new to the Gloucester/Cape Ann Music scene. I got to see her first at one of Giuseppe’s SingerSongWriter Series a few months ago and she blew the audience away. She has also performed at The Crowell Chapel in Manchester.
During her recording at The Local Music Seen with Allen Estes she was so sincere, personable and most of all adorable. Needless to say her performance and lyrics won our hearts. One song she did even moved some to tears. She will be at the Manchester Festival By The Sea tomorrow from 3:00pm to 3:45pm along with many other fine musicians through out the day.
Here’s a link from Vickie and Peter that tells more about Alexandra.
Manchester’s Festival By The Sea
Official Music lineup:
Town Hall Stage (on the steps of Town Hall):
12-12:45: Janice Fullman
1-1:45: Bryan Laurier
2-2:45: Marina Evans
3-3:45: Alexandra Valenti
Masconomo Park Stage (on Manchester Harbor):
12-12:45: The Closers
1-1:45: Allen & Dylan Estes
2-2:45: Joe Wilkins
3-3:45: Chris Phillips
4-4:45: The Dejas
5-5:45: Chelsea Berry
6-7:30: Chris Trapper
I know you all have lost many hours of sleep pondering the significance of the lines on the classic red solo cup. Now you know.
Meet Joe and Memory and wish em well!
Get the inside scoop first here at GMG :)
Here is Giuseppe’s Site
You can also check out Memory Layne Creative and the beautiful watercolor work she does.
Look for our interview and a little piano action with Joe and Memory tomorrow in these pages.
They’ve been hard at work making changes to the layout and transforming the space which used to be occupied by Elliott’s at The Blackburn into their vision.
Giuseppe’s Ristorante & Piano Bar Going Into The Space Formerly Occupied By Elliott’s At The Blackburn
Memory Layne (not her porn star name I’m told) and her man Joe are taking over the space formerly occupied by Elliott’s in the Historic Blackburn Building.
Check out the website for now and look for updates as to the renovations taking place in these pages.
Here’s the website for Giusppe’s Ristorante and Piano Bar
From the website-
It seemed like a simple request…
From the back of a restaurant, I called out, requesting one of my favorite songs.
Joe looked up at me from the piano and asked, “Can you sing it?” After we met that summer evening, Joe and I did what everybody does on Cape Ann…..walking beaches, breathing salt air, taking in the great food and entertainment.
Neither of us enjoyed being separated once the off-season rolled around and he traveled abroad for work. It didn’t take us long to figure out it was time to create a special place for people to enjoy great music, food and company.
We’ve been working and dreaming, in the hope that you will enjoy a unique and wonderful experience here at Giuseppe’s Ristorante and Piano Bar.
Joe and Memory
Memory Layne is the creative behind MemoryLayneCreative She does some fantastic watercolor work and murals which you can see on her site. oh and BTW, Memory is her real name (please spare the stage name jokes)
How long have you lived in Gloucester?
3 1/2 years
What is your favorite season In Gloucester?
Summer. Who likes this “feels like -13” stuff?
Do you have any secret outdoor spots in Gloucester where you go to “get away”?
Yes, but not telling! It’s a SECRET.
What is your favorite pizza joint in Gloucester?
What is your favorite sub shop in Gloucester?
I’ve never bought a sub in Gloucester. (whoops!)
What place would you go for a romantic dinner in Gloucester?
The beach. (oh, okay…and the patio at Halibut Point)
What is your favorite bar in Gloucester?
Wherever there is really good music. (and as long as the beer is cold…there are some places, there is not-so-cold-beer)
What is your favorite breakfast joint in Gloucester?
What is your favorite local event in Gloucester?
Summer’s end boat parade. (with the lights, what’s it called?)
In the summer do you prefer the beach or to be on a boat?
Who is your favorite local artist?
Okay, there’s this guy, I know his first name is “Jeff”, because I met him on the road after having snuck up behind him when he was painting down near North Shore Art Association and saw what he was doing. A month or so later, I passed him when I was walking and asked him if he was that painter and that’s when I got his name. His work was amazing. He’s generally on foot and I think lives or lived down near Beacon Marine? You know who that is? I’ve only seen a few things that he’s working on live (lurking behind and trying not to invade what he was concentrating on, I doubt he knew I was checking out what he was working on)
Which is your favorite local beach?
Good Harbor in the morning before it gets crowded.
Who has the best chowder in town?
On the clam chowder, anyplace that doesn’t add flour. (Halibut has good chowder)
Excluding GMG what is your second favorite local blog?
I actually don’t read any other local blogs! (so that defaults to yours, sorry…I like your photographs)
Do you prefer haddock chowder or clam chowder?
Clam Chowder. But Passports has this amazing red spicy fish chowder thing that is incredible and pretty sure it has haddock in it. I’d take that particular one over clam chowder any day.
What were your thoughts on The Downtown Block Parties last year?
“Wish I knew about it and wish I had gone”.
What is your favorite local band?
What Time is it Mr. Fox? (with Brian King, that voice of his!)