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Coming Soon . . .

2021 Finalist for the Page Turner Awards in the Screenplay Award (Book Adaptation Needed)

On the Rocks, a narrative nonfiction book written by Maria Costanzo Palmer and Ruthie Robbins, chronicles the journey of personality Joseph Costanzo, Jr. in his rise to success in the 1990’s as world renowned restaurateur and owner of The Primadonna Restaurant, radio host, columnist, and aspiring politician through his sharp fall ending in an investigation and a stint in federal prison in the early 2000’s. Voted one of America’s top restaurateurs by The International Restaurant and Hospitality Rating Bureau, Costanzo is arguably the greatest restaurateur of his generation. Through his marketing genius and innovation, he took a neighborhood restaurant in a tough steel town in McKees Rocks, PA and turned it into a nationally recognized eatery featured in Playboy Magazine and The New York Daily News.

Regardless of whether a reader has ever dined at The Primadonna, visited Pittsburgh, or heard of Joe Costanzo, On the Rocks is a relatable story. Neither a chef nor an entrepreneur, postal carrier Joseph Costanzo, Jr.’s relentless determination propels him to extraordinary success and distinction with his restaurant; however, this underdog story does not end there. That same relentless determination thrusts him into a downward spiral in which he loses everything from his beloved restaurant to his home, his health, and even his freedom for a time. It is only then that the reader begins to comprehend the depth of Costanzo’s resilience. Each time readers think they are beginning to understand Costanzo, he surprises them again, until the final chapter in which our unusual protagonist/antagonist begins to understand himself.

With its delectable tastes, smells, camaraderie, behind-the-scenes antics, and celebrity appearances, the place begins to feel like home to readers, or at least a place they enjoy visiting through story. Much like the bar in the TV show Cheers, the restaurant is quite enough to carry not only the plot, but many subplots as well, enhanced by the descriptions of the food, drinks, and people within its walls. As the restaurant gains national attention and exceeds all expectations, it is the unlikely setting of The Primadonna—The Rocks—that makes Joe’s accomplishments astounding. Joe made it “chic” to venture to The Rocks for dinner. Come and walk beside this anything-but-average Joe as he takes you through his bumpy journey on the Rocks!

The manuscript for On the Rocks is completed, represented by Leticia Gomez owner of Savvy Literary Agency, and will be on submission this fall. Fill in your information below to follow the book’s progress via email. You can also learn about The Primadonna Restaurant by visiting the Facebook site Fans of The Primadonna Restaurant, Previously Owned by Joseph Costanzo, Jr. @joecostanzoprimadonna. We also have just joined Instagram @joecostanzoprimadonna and Maria is just starting to dabble with Twitter @mariacpalmer. Come and follow along on our publication journey.

Recent Media Coverage:

Food and Beverage Live Magazine- Nationally Syndicated Podcast interview with James Beard Award Winner Jennifer English-Video: Podcast (Audio only):

Local Pittsburgh Magazine

Ya Jagoff! Podcast

‘Cuse Conversations (Syracuse Alumni) Podcast

Manuscript Academy Podcast
Positive Changes: A Self-Kick Podcast Hosted by Shelley F. Knight

Stay On Course with Julie Riga

Clubhouse- Ricotta Gnocchi Virtual Cooking Class

Clubhouse- Interview with Joseph Costanzo, Jr.

Clubhouse- Maria talks with Jessie-Sierra Ross about her writing journey-

OC87 Recovery Diaries-


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