Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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Celebrity Dining: After fire, Sandy and two battles with cancer, Toms River restaurateur gets ‘Rachael Ray Show’ makeover

Celebrity Dining: After fire, Sandy and two battles with cancer, Toms River restaurateur gets ‘Rachael Ray Show’ makeover

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Celebrity Dining:

If you have ever dined at Casa Del Sol in Toms River, chances are you have met Patricia Ramirez.

She owns the Mexican restaurant with her husband, Jorge. They opened their first eatery in Seaside Heights in 2005; a fire claimed the building in 2010. They started again in another spot in the borough, then superstorm Sandy washed it away.

Last year, Casa del Sol was back in business on the mainland in Toms River. But in the years between, Ramirez was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had more than a dozen rounds of chemotherapy, then a double mastectomy.

Her hair had just begun growing back when she learned she had thyroid cancer.

She is in remission now, and on Nov. 18 – the four-year anniversary of her surgery – Ramirez was treated to a makeover on the “Rachael Ray Show” on CBS. 

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“I’m more than excited to get a new look,” Ramirez said during the episode. “When this is all over, I just want to feel beautiful. I haven’t felt that.”

Lindsey Newman, a longtime friend, nominated Ramirez for the show, where she was pampered by stylist Tommy DiDario and had the chance to meet comedian Sebastian Maniscalco on set. He was a guest that day, a happy coincidence: Ramirez said she watched his videos to help pass the time during chemotherapy treatments.

After the big reveal, her family – including her young son – surprised her on stage.

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“When you get knocked down, you just have to get back up again,” she said on the show. “You have to realize what’s important in life. I have a son to raise. He’s my little hero and the best part of my life.”

Casa del Sol is at 953 Fischer Blvd. in Toms River; 732-569-3565.

Ramirez was busy with lunch service when contacted for this story; check back to hear her thoughts on the experience. 

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Sarah Griesemer joined the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey more than 15 years ago and has held a variety of positions since, but the work she does now is her favorite: food writing. Her favorite stories are the ones that make a difference for the Shore’s mom and pop restaurants. Write to her at sgriesemer@gannettnj.com and follow @jerseyshoreeats.

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