Joey Campanaro was raised in Philadelphia, where the food of his childhood inspired him to dedicate his career to cooking. With a culinary approach rooted in his Italian grandmother’s kitchen and honed at America’s top restaurants, Campanaro brings a lifelong affinity for Mediterranean cuisine to every dish he creates.
Campanaro began his cooking career as a teenager at seasonal restaurants on the Jersey Shore. He was instantly hooked on the energetic restaurant culture and went on to major in restaurant management at Penn State University, with semesters abroad in Italy and France to experience firsthand the Mediterranean lifestyle and cuisine. His talent and passion landed him in some of America’s top restaurants in Philadelphia, LA and New York, where he learned from some of the brightest chefs in the business, including Neil Murphy, Joachim Splichal, Jimmy Bradley, and Jonathan Waxman. While in LA, Campanaro was also the chef of Universal Studio’s Executive Dining Room and the proprietor of his own Hollywood-based catering company.
In 2001, Campanaro moved back to New York to open The Harrison in Tribeca as Executive Chef, where he earned a two-star review from The New York Times. After that success, in 2006 Campanaro opened his dream restaurant, the West Village gem The Little Owl, to instant widespread acclaim. Today, The Little Owl remains one of New York’s most exciting and iconic restaurants and has since been joined by Little Owl – The Townhouse, a private event space and culinary showroom in New York City.
It was Campanaro’s longtime friendship with another chef, Mike Price, that led to the creation of their management group Blackfoot Hospitality. The duo met at the iconic Symphony Cafe in the late 90s working on the salad station together, with Price later working as Campanaro’s sous-chef at The Harrison. They then joined up as business partners to open Market Table in 2007 – with Price’s seasonal modern American cuisine taking center stage – and then The Clam in 2014, a casual and stylish seafood-centric restaurant. Most recently opening The Mary Lane in 2021, with its market-driven cuisine providing bold and clean flavors using the highest quality local ingredients, Campanaro and Price have teamed up with Blackfoot Hospitality to take over the West Village one corner and one neighborhood restaurant at a time.
Campanaro and his restaurants have been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Travel + Leisure, Today Show, Martha Stewart, and many more. In 2020, Campanaro published his first cookbook, Big Love Cooking: 75 Recipes For Satisfying Shareable Comfort Food that features accessible recipes infused with Mediterranean flavors inspired by Joey's Italian-American family.