Monte Ferris Sr. Owner & President
Monte Ferris grew up at The Venus de Milo. He began as a pot and pan washer at the age of 11 and learned the business by working his way through every job: bussing, serving, tending bar, hosting and managing the restaurant. He also worked events as a Maitre'D, eventually working his way into general management. Monte succeeded his older brother Ronald as the owner/president of the family business in September 2009, following his brother’s passing, which includes the management of The Venus de Milo, the Quality Inn of Somerset and Jillian’s Sports Bar, as well as considerable real estate holdings and investments.
After graduating from Durfee High School, Monte went on to graduate from Suffolk University and continues his education today with programs at Cornell University’s Business School. He has also continued his father’s legacy of community service by serving as President of The Fall River Chamber of Commerce, a founder of the Chamber Legislative Committee and the Chamber CEO Club. He has also served on the Economic Development Board and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Monte and his father, Monsour Ferris, were both honored for their civic service, receiving the Citizen of the Year Award from The Fall River Chamber of Commerce, the first father and son to ever receive that distinction.
Monte Ferris has also supported and participated in other charitable organizations, including The Boys and Girls Clubs of Fall River, MA and Providence, RI; The United Way of Fall River, MA and Providence, RI; The Rhode Island Preservation Society; St. Vincent’s Home; Our Sister’s Place; Jerry Lawton’s Homeless Shelter; People’s Inc.; Operation Christmas; Fall River Diabetes Association; Easter Seals; St. Jude’s Foundation; The Federation for the Blind; and many other organizations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Todd Kozaka - Executive Chef
World Class Chef Todd Kozaka’s culinary journey began at the age of 13, when he secured a job at a local restaurant in his hometown of Chicopee, MA. The owners of the restaurant saw Kozaka’s great potential and spent time working with him to hone his skills throughout high school and presented him with a scholarship to Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI. Upon graduating from Johnson and Wales, Kozaka opened a restaurant in Lakeville, CT where he developed a passion for crafting recipes that take advantage of the bounty of fresh, local cuisine the New England Coast has to offer. From there he moved north to Boston where he impressively led as Executive Chef/Partner at such noted establishments as Flemings, Legal Seafood, Lombardo’s and the storied, Chart House.
A New Englander born and bred, Kozaka’s menus are teaming with delicious seafood dishes, as well as steakhouse staples infused with hints of Portuguese, Italian, and Greek culinary traditions. In addition to overseeing all back of house staff, Chef Kozaka passionately seeks to build upon the longtime menu favorites that Venus de Milo has been serving for over 50 years, while adding wonderful dishes with flavors that delight even the most discerning palate.
Outside of the kitchen, Chef Todd enjoys spending time with his daughters, Alexa and Jordan, whom he says are his biggest fans and critics when it comes to food. His rare days outside the kitchen are spent fishing on the Cape or seeking out new culinary experiences.
Monte Ferris Jr. Restaurant Manager & Sommelier
Following in the footsteps of his father, Monte has worked in the Venus de Milo since he was a young boy, working in various roles through his collegiate years, working in the summers. He had always harbored a deep passion for the hospitality industry. Ten years later, Monte brings world class experience and stature to the service team at the Empire Grille. During his years working away from the business Monte has immersed himself in the restaurant industry. His most valuable experience outside of his family’s business was during his 3-year tenure at a Forbes 4-Star World Class restaurant in which he found his love for wine and what he and his mentors call, “hospitality with grace”. He epitomizes attention to detail and dedication to the guest experience. “I always knew I had a deep passion for this industry, but I had no context for that passion to build on. When you discover how to truly invest yourself in your guest’s experiences, that’s an incredibly rewarding and useful thing.”
That passion coupled with an insatiable appetite for food & beverage experiences and intimate product knowledge has led Monte to vineyards, cheese ageing houses, breweries, butcheries, and farms. Rejoining his father’s company in 2015, his expertise in beverage and service, combined with Chef Todd Kozaka’s immense talent and experience, he hopes to offer the surrounding communities a dining experience unparalleled to anything the area has seen.