Bridgeton-native Matt Fazzio, 29, started making pasta as a young child with his grandmother Vivian Fazzio at her home in Pitman, NJ. He recalls fond memories of her teaching him and his brothers how to make fresh pasta in her kitchen. He would crank the pasta machine as his older brother, Mark, fed the machine with a pasta sheet, and younger brother Patrick assisted. This family tradition started Matt’s lifelong love of pasta making and a passion for cooking.
It wasn’t until he was in his early 20s when he realized that making food was his calling. After backpacking and working odd jobs around the country and stumbling upon small family-owned restaurants, he decided to do brief stints as a cook to learn the ins and outs of working in restaurants. Traveling by bus across the country, he spent time in Ohio, Florida, Missouri, California, and eventually Kentucky.
“I found my passion again at a small, family-run restaurant in Maysville, Kentucky, where I was a short-order cook,” Fazzio reminisced about his formal training on the road. “The owner of Syleetos taught me everything he knew about cooking, right down to cutting onions the proper way.”
When he decided to close the chapter on his nomadic life and move back to New Jersey in 2017, he settled down in Woodstown. He began working as a prep cook at a restaurant in Atlantic City, eventually working his way up to kitchen manager. Then, in 2018, he got married and started a family. The long commute and late hours of work started to wear him down, especially as a new father of twins.
“Cooking is my passion, but I didn’t like working for other people,” Fazzio offered readily. “I felt it was time for me to work for myself.”
So, in 2019, he launched Fazzio’s Pasta Company with a single gnocchi board, all while taking the responsibility as a stay-at-home Dad.
Specializing in handmade pasta, such as various gnocchi, fresh jumbo ravioli, St. Louis-style toasted ravioli, spaghetti, and fettuccine, he’s slowly built up a solid customer base. He delivers to the deep South Jersey counties of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem.
Fazzio is very experimental in the kitchen, working non-traditional flavors into his pasta, such as buffalo chicken ravioli, purple sweet potato gnocchi, and vegan spinach fettuccine.
He’s a big fan of exotic and game meats and incorporating them into the pasta. He makes ravioli with antelope, elk, bison, and boar to name a few. Alligator gravy – sweet basil and tomato sauce with freshly cooked alligator – is another way he rethinks classic Italian fare.
Fazzio’s menu also features seasonal specials, homemade meatballs, and baked goods like cookies, biscotti, cannoli, and more.
This business model has served him well until now, especially during the pandemic. Still, he’s looking to expand the business and open a full-service, brick-and-mortar restaurant soon. He found a location in the City of Salem, which he hopes to open sometime this summer. Details will be coming soon.
In the meantime, he launched a Go Fund Me to help raise funds to purchase commercial restaurant equipment and to cover other restaurant start-up expenses.
“It’s important to me to pass on the family traditions to my own children,” Fazzio said proudly. “Opening this restaurant will keep the family legacy alive, and it is something I can pass down to them.”
Fazzio takes orders by email [firstname.lastname@example.org], Facebook messenger, or phone: (856) 803-8857 (text orders welcome!)
Marilyn is a freelance writer covering the food and drink scene of South Jersey. You can find more of her writing on Philly Grub and NewsBreak.