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  • Writer's pictureCraig Richards

Ricca’s Brick Oven Bistro & Bar A Decade of Family Legacy & Community Resilience


Craig Richards/THG Ricca’s Brick Oven Bistro & Bar celebrated their 10th Anniversary on Jan. 31. Kneeling: Fran Eddis; First row (l-r): Karly Wiessner, Theresa Denning, Michael Ricca, niece Rachel Ricca, brother Joe Ricca and pizza man Jose Guzman. Second row (l-r): Bella Tierno, wife Jill Ricca, son Michael Ricca Jr. and Devon Eddis.

Hammonton—Tucked away on 104 Fairview Ave. in the heart of Hammonton’s “Little Italy,” Ricca’s Brick Oven Bistro & Bar stands as a testament to family legacy, resilience and a commitment to quality that has endured for decades.


Originally known as Vet’s Sunrise Bakery, Cosimo Ricca, owned and operated the bakery establishing the family business in Hammonton. Following his untimely death in 1993, the bakery continued under the stewardship of his sons until unforeseen circumstances led to its closure in 2011.


In a twist of fate, the Ricca family revived the space, transforming it into a coal and wood-fired brick oven pizzeria with a retail section for traditional Italian baked goods. The idea took shape in 2011 when brothers Tom and Michael Ricca began renovations and ultimately launched Ricca’s Brick Oven Bistro & Bar on Jan. 31, 2014, honoring the patriarch’s memory on what would have been his 83rd birthday.


Today, this iconic family establishment remains true to its roots. Michael Ricca, owner and operator of the business is surrounded by family including his brother, Joe; wife, Jill; son, Michael Jr.; daughter, Briana (not pictured) and niece, Rachel. Other family members are frequently in attendance telling stories of the early days—an added feature locals love about the place.


Known as “the bread man,” Joseph Ricca bakes an array of delectable Italian breads. Thomas Ricca, a former WWE Hall of Famer, and founder of Cannoli World LLC, adds a touch of celebrity flair to the ambiance and flavor to the menu with the world-famous Olde World Cannoli varieties including “The Blue Berry Capital of the World Cannoli.”


Family tradition runs deep at the Bistro & Bar as “Mom” Dolores Ricca often checks in and tastes the Sunday gravy and meatballs to ensure they have that authentic homemade taste.


The restaurant distinguishes itself as the only full-service bar offering coal and wood-fired brick oven pizzas in Hammonton. Indoor and outdoor dining options, including a covered patio and fire pit area, provide patrons with a unique and cozy experience.


“Our bread and pizza dough, sauces, meatballs, parmigiana entrees and more are made from recipes handed down from past generations of the Ricca family. We use only the best fresh and local ingredients, with quality over price in mind. Our bread and rolls used for sandwiches and dinners are house made by my brother Joe from the same recipe used when we operated our former bakery, Vet’s Sunrise Bakery. We take pride in continuing these traditions and serving the same quality food that we have been at this family-owned location since 1957,” Michael Ricca said.


Constantly adjusting to customer needs, Ricca’s Brick Oven and Bar opens five days a week from Wed. to Sun. from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Happy hour runs each day, Wed-Fri, Sun noon to 5 p.m. and Sat from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Patrons can order online at www.Riccasbrickoven.com. The family is also making plans to expand the restaurant to include a private party area soon.

Customers can call for catering and party options at (609) 704-7070, or email to Riccasbrickoven@gmail.com.


Even with all the changes, Michael and the family are quick to point out the foundation of their continued success. The restaurant’s past, present and future is intertwined with the unwavering support of the Hammonton community. Despite challenges such as the impact of COVID-19 and temporary closures for renovations, Ricca’s Brick Oven Bistro & Bar has not only endured but thrived over the past 10 years. Michael expressed deep gratitude for the community’s support, acknowledging that their loyal patrons, sharing meals with family and friends, have been instrumental in the business’s evolution.


For Michael Ricca, working with family goes beyond business; it’s about carrying on a legacy and contributing to his father’s memory. The decision to return to the family business was unexpected but profoundly rewarding. The shared vision among family members has led to the success of the venture, fostering a sense of pride and accomplishment. Each day at Ricca’s Brick Oven Bistro & Bar is a tribute to the family’s heritage and a testament to the joy that comes from working together.


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