Lady Gaga’s parents, Joe and Cynthia Germanotta, are opening a restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Wednesday. Photograph by: Steve Marcus, Reuters

NEW YORK — On Wednesday, a small dining room will open on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, another unassuming Italian restaurant in a city whose residents are seldom more than three metres from a lasagna.

Despite the best efforts of the proprietors, Joe and Cynthia Germanotta, to play it down, the Joanne Trattoria is a subject of intense excitement. The curious gawp at its plain frontage and there has been fevered speculation as to the menu, all prompted by a single glaring fact that threatens to overshadow recipes such as “Grandma Ronnie’s meatballs.” Their daughter is Stefani Germanotta, known to fans and 18 million followers on Twitter as Lady Gaga.

The pop singer announced the new restaurant in a tearful television interview last year, and questions have been asked over her role in the venture and influence on the menu. Had the chef, Art Smith, taken inspiration from her decision to wear a lobster as a hat? Could he possibly evoke, perhaps in the form of a carbonara, the time that Lady Gaga emerged from a giant egg to perform at the Grammy Awards? If she had not personally grilled the steaks, might she perhaps have worn them? “My dad and I opened up a restaurant together,” she said in an interview with Katie Couric last year. She said it was named after his sister, who died of lupus at 19.

There were suggestions that the menu would contain a 10-layer lasagna, mini-martinis and Nutella doughnuts. Smith was seen cooking with Lady Gaga on the same television program, A Very Gaga Thanksgiving, in November. He cited a waffle recipe favoured by “grandmother Germanotta” containing “pecorino, crispy salami … with these wonderful Italian herbs,” adding that “your Aunt Sheri and Uncle Steve make the most amazing spiced pecans.”

Last week, Joe Germanotta acknowledged that his daughter “just generates a lot of sizzle” though he warned that fans should not expect a Gaga-themed restaurant. He would perhaps also appreciate it if they did not turn up in the fancy dress outfits that are de rigueur at his daughter’s concerts. Besides Tuscan landscapes and a homespun hearth, the couple were considering placing a picture of their daughter on one wall, if they could find an older photograph.

“If they’re expecting to come in here and see Grammys and pictures and stuff like that, it’s not going to happen,” he told the New York Times. It seems likely, however, that Lady Gaga’s fans, the legion of what she calls “little monsters,’ will come anyway, hoping to find a little of their idol in the spaghetti.

The Times, London

©Times Newspapers Ltd. 2012

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