My actual name is JOSEPH PEDRO FERNANDES BATISTA, but I've been called Joey for as long as I can remember.
Both of my parents were born in Portugal but moved to the US in the 70's, where they met and were married in 1978. I came along shortly thereafter, followed by my sisters Elizabette (Lili) and Suzette. We grew up in a small town in Western Mass called Ludlow. A town of about 27k people made up primarily of Portuguese and Polish immigrants,
I feel extremely lucky to have been raised in such a tight-nit community where I was able to experience the Portuguese and Polish cultures all around me. It's basically like being in Europe, minus all the really old stuff!
Another great benefit was that I was able to learn the Portuguese language at a very young age. It’s also the only way I can communicate with my grandparents and the reason I can speak Spanish, as they are very similar.
Food runs in the family:
My grandparents bought (Early 80's) a butcher shop in town and my father still runs it to this day. (JB Meats on Facebook) He makes all types of smoked sausages and meats, that he delivers to customers all over the North East. The store was and still is an integral part of the community there with all the other goods he sells, like Salted Cod (Bacalhau) and Presunto (Presciutto for you Italians and Jamón for the Spaniards).
The Big Move:
Fast forward to 2013 and I'm ready to move to the big city! It wasn't easy. I love my family and still miss my routine lunches together with everyone, but I really needed to get out of the small town!
Shortly after arriving, I was given the nick name Joey Bats. Joey is pretty easy to say a nickname had never really come up before. Well a couple of my closest peeps (pic below) started calling me Bats as in Joey Bats, and it stuck.
Here’s a good mugshot of the three of us. Sammy on the left and Carlos on the right. Love these dudes!
Damnit… If I haven’t had some of the most amazing experiences of my life in the short time I've been in this city….. and it just keeps getting better!
Despite having all that food in my family, I've never gone down the food industry road. Aside from maybe bartending or waitering, it just never crossed my mind.
Well last year I decided that my friends needed to try one my my mom's desserts, Bolo De Bolacha. They loved it and so I began making it available in a few restaurants in the East Village. Shortly thereafter I thought it would be a good idea to make it available to Bodegas in a TO-GO cups, and that has done well too!
Now we're setting up in street fairs and food events across NYC like Bryant Park, Queens Night Market and even San Gennaro! Looks for us on Social Media to see where we are setup next! @JoeyBatsSweets!