We watched brothers Albie Manzo and Chris Manzo grow up before our very eyes on TV, blossoming from fun-loving young adults on The Real Housewives of New Jersey into driven men always thinking about their next career moves on Manzo'd with Children. And, OK, let's face it, they still knew how to have a good time even when they got more mature.
Watching Albie and Chris on TV every week, we got used to receiving frequent updates on every aspect of their lives, from their latest business ventures to whether or not they've gone on any dates recently. So now that it's been a few years since we last saw them on Manzo'd with Children, we think it's high time for us to catch up with the beloved brothers.
The Daily Dish sat down with Albie and Chris at our New York City headquarters in February to get all of their major life updates in their careers, relationships, and who they keep in touch with from RHONJ today. You can watch part of our conversation in the above clip, and get even more of the scoop, below.
1. They're Keeping Busy in Business
Albie hasn't slowed down one bit over the past few years. He launched his latest business venture, Bloom & Birch, in January. The company sells flowers that last a year without any water or sunlight. "From a career perspective, I mean, we’ve both been insanely busy, like easily the busiest we’ve been our whole lives because obviously you get a lot of time back when you stop doing TV," Albie told The Daily Dish.
Chris has also been keeping busy with his Hoboken, New Jersey eatery, Tenth Street Pizza. "I just always found myself coming back to the restaurant business because I grew up in it with my dad [Al Manzo]. I used to spend my days off from school, Saturdays, weekends I guess you could say. Every Saturday I used to go to the Brownstone and make zeppolis," Chris said. "And then [Albie] and I went to the pizza place that I’m currently a part of, because my now-partner was basically courting, just trying to get me involved because he was super busy, and we’ve always talked about doing a restaurant together. I kind of have a thing, anything I ever get involved with, business-wise, whatever, if I try it and I see it, or if I say, ‘This is gonna make it with or without me,’ that’s how I felt. It’s just so good."
Albie and Chris aren't just flying solo these days; they've also come together to host the advice podcast Dear Albie, which launched in September and often includes appearances by their mom, Caroline Manzo, who has spilled the tea on everything from her recent facelift to her sons' love lives.
The Manzo brothers have had a strong entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, whether it was Chris memorably throwing out an idea for a combination car wash strip club on RHONJ or the pair partnering with uncle Chris Laurita to work on blk. water, a company they left a few years ago. "But the way I look at it is you have to throw a lot against the wall... There’s a lot of things that I’ve got going on that finally felt like hey, these are finally paying off," Albie said. "That is the exact identity of who we are, so I’m not even a little bit embarrassed by trying a lot of different things and getting involved in a lot of different projects because, frankly, it’s who we are. It’s in our blood."
2. Their Loves Lives Are Very Mysterious
Albie told The Daily Dish that he has been so focused on his professional life that his personal life has taken a bit of a backseat recently. "I’m single at the moment. Just kind of one of those things that, again, like, focusing on work is the big thing," he said. "Everything that I do, I want to have go well, and I put a lot of time and effort into it and I want to get back what I put in, so until that happens, like I don’t want to take the focus off of the other things that I’m doing because frankly, like, it’s a lot."
Chris is also mostly focusing on his business endeavors these days — and staying mum on what's going on in his love life. "I don’t understand the question," Chris said when The Daily Dish asked about his current relationship status. "Truthfully, I have a restaurant now, and I’m there every day. The fun part of life is done, like I have to go to work now, and [dating is] something that I’m truthfully, I’m just not thinking of at all. I’m not gonna give you more information than that."
Both Albie and Chris said that now that they're not sharing everything with fans on TV, they prefer to keep some things, like their love lives, more private. "We gave you guys 10 years of knowing everything, so it’s kind of fun that we’ve got everything like to ourself a little bit now," Albie said.
For Chris, it also has a lot to do with the person he's dating, who isn't used to living a life in the spotlight like he is. "My biggest issue with dating questions has always been the other person," he explained. "I just never like bringing other people into that if they didn’t ask to be a part of it, so I feel bad that I’m always so cryptic about dating. But it’s more other people than me."
3. They're Still in a New Jersey State of Mind
Yes, these Garden State guys are still living in New Jersey today, and there's no place like home, according to Albie. "I’ve got partnerships now where I travel a lot. I’m in Florida a lot, I’m in California a lot, I’m in Chicago a lot, and being in other places, it reminds me how I really could never leave [New Jersey]," he said. "As much as I like to say, ‘Oh, I’d love to get out of Jersey and go somewhere,’ it’s us, you know what I mean? So I don’t think we’re gonna be getting out of there anytime soon."
Chris also said that he's happy with where he's living in Hoboken right now. "I live in an apartment probably half the size of this room, and I’m just doing the normal, small city thing," he shared. "I love it there."
One place in New Jersey you probably shouldn't expect to find the Manzo brothers at these days is the Brownstone, the Paterson event venue owned and operated by their father, Al. "We’re at the Brownstone pretty rarely these days," Albie said. "When you go there now, it is a little bit, like, the memories are just obviously through and through that place, so it’s fun to stop in."
Albie and Chris are proud that their father's business has gained recognition beyond New Jersey as well. "Our whole lives, we didn’t get to spend a lot of time with our dad because he worked so hard building that place up to what it is today, and it’s cool at least for me, I’m sure [Albie] feels the same way, to see that’s a nationally-recognized place now. You know, people will say, ‘How’s the Brownstone?’ And any state I’ve ever been to, they mention the Brownstone," Chris said. "I imagine, for dad at least, there’s a cool sense of pride there, of like, people go there from all over the country just to take a picture of the green sign outside. You know, when you work 35 years at one place, I’m sure he probably feels a little bit of a payoff, right?"
4. They Still Have Some Major RHONJ Connections
Albie and Chris' mom may not have left RHONJ off on the best terms with everyone, but the brothers have definitely kept in touch with some members of the famiglia, including Kathy Wakile's son Joseph Wakile and Dolores Catania's son Frankie Catania. "We are ourselves, and anyone we had personal relationships with, we keep personal relationships with," Albie said.
In fact, the Manzos go way back with the Catanias, even if their paths never crossed on RHONJ. "Dolores is as much a part of our family as anyone that we’re actually related to. I’ve known her my whole life. We used to babysit Frankie, like as kids we used to," Chris shared. "Watching him quite literally grow up, he’s a monster. He’s such a big kid, and he’s like very good-looking. I hate him."
Albie and Chris have a lot more to say about the Garden State gals as they react to vintage RHONJ moments, below.