Mahoney writes humorous take on Manero family restaurant business

‘Seduced by Gorgonzola: Reflections of a Reluctant Restaurateur’ is Maggie Valley author’s second book
By Carol Viau | Dec 21, 2015
Photo by: Paul Viau ‘SO MUCH FUN’ — Restaurateur and author Donna Tiernan Mahoney gives readers a fun and richly documented account of her family’s nearly 80 years in the restaurant business in “Seduced by Gorgonzola.” Mahoney is pictured in the great room at J. Arthur’s Restaurant in Maggie Valley.

Donna Tiernan Mahoney has released her second book, “Seduced by Gorgonzola,” just in time for Christmas.

Mahoney is a third-generation owner/restaurateur of two well-known restaurants ­— Manero’s in Palm City, Florida, and J. Arthur’s in Maggie Valley. Both restaurants are highly regarded for a good meal and warm hospitality.

In “Seduced by Gorgonzola,” Mahoney treats readers to a tasty memoir, filled with stories about her Italian-American family and the early days of the popular Manero’s Steak House in Greenwich, Connecticut. She also gives humorous insights about the business, like asking servers at restaurants what they would eat at the establishment.

“One time a server told me all the things he would not eat at his restaurant,” Mahoney wrote. “We had a glass of wine and left.”

However, this book is really a family story about the Manero clan, as seen through Mahoney’s eyes.

“It details some of the humorous and meaningful life lessons we learned through almost 80 years of the restaurant business,” she said.

The book is a labor of love, capturing family stories through the now five generations in the family businesses.

“I wrote it in an effort to honor many of those who made it possible, especially family members, and of course, my late first husband, John,” Mahoney said.

“It is historical, and I hope, in some places, hysterical. It took me two years of early morning writing, and then another nine months to publish.”

In the memoir, Mahoney describes in detail the signature feasts that the Manero’s restaurants provided guests — garlic bread, Gorgonzola cheese salad, shrimp cocktail, steak with onion rings and a huge potato. This was the standard fare that would accompany a myriad of celebrations, from engagements, birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, pregnancies and tragedies.

“Through all life’s events, Manero’s restaurants offered guests a place to celebrate,” Mahoney said. “There are many stories about the restaurants’ guests, including princes and paupers, bartenders, lawyers, priests, entertainers, mobsters and chefs. I’ve heard and lived so many of these stories — and didn’t want them to be forgotten.”

It was a “very different” upbringing Mahoney said, since she grew up living above a restaurant and working in the business at a young age.

“It was expected in Italian families that everyone participate in making the family business a success,” she said. “But it was so much fun.”

The large and gregarious extended family included several gifted, championship golfers and a bit of Irish influence, when Mahoney’s mother, Ellen, married Irish-American Art Tiernan. Mahoney’s grandchildren are now the fifth generation of the family, likely to be “seduced by gorgonzola,” too.

The 224-page book is available on in softcover, hardcover and eBook format, and will soon be available on and, each selling it for $19.95. It’s also available at a discounted rate of $14.95, as a courtesy to restaurant guests, at J. Arthur’s Restaurant, 2843 Soco Road, in Maggie Valley. Call 828-926-1817.

Donna Tiernan Mahoney is a third-generation family member of Manero’s Restaurant, a theologian, seminar presenter, author and counselor. She lives with her husband, Tim Lynch, and splits her time between J. Arthur’s Restaurant in Maggie Valley and Manero’s Restaurant in Palm City, Florida. She is also author of “Touching the Face of God.”