Owner, Pearl Restaurant
Max Viola spent countless hours at his parents’ restaurant while growing up in Bergen County. He was only in his 20s when he felt ready to launch his own Italian restaurant, right here in Downtown Ridgewood. We talk about what attracted him to that specific location, how he kept growing over the years, and mistakes he’s seen other restaurant owners make.
Max shares how he had to adapt during Covid…as well as the “adjustments” he had to make because of the brand new parking garage that is inches from his restaurant. We also talk about Max’s growing role as the new president of the Ridgewood Guild, his plans for the long-term future, and where his next Pearl location might be (hint: not in New Jersey).
What I love about Max is his positivity and optimism, his work ethic, and how he brings a family atmosphere to the Pearl — a restaurant he hopes his own kids will take over someday.