Mezza Luna Brings Italian Food Back To Village Plaza

Mezza Luna-1

Cosimo Correale, center, owner of the new Mezza Luna pizzeria and restaurant in the Village Plaza on Easton Avenue.

There’s once again an Italian pizzeria and restaurant in the Village Plaza shopping center on Easton Avenue, with the opening earlier this week of Mezza Luna.

Cosimo Correale, the restaurant’s owner, is a veteran of the industry. Correale, who emigrated to the United States from his native Calabria, Italy, when he was 16 years old, has in the ensuing 36 years opened 18 Italian restaurants, most of which he sold.

He currently has two other operating restaurants: Valentino’s in Flanders in Morris County and Mezza Luna in Holland, in Hunterdon County.

Mezza Luna takes the space that was occupied for decades by Village Pizza, which closed in 2015. But regular customers of the former will not recognize the place; Correale and his brother completely gutted the inside of the space and renovated it.

Patrons are greeted with a variety of pizzas on the front counter; Correale said that on any given day, he will make between 14 and 20 different types of pizza.

“We could make at a least good 75 to 100 different pies,” he said. “We keep changing the pies on the counter every day.”

His menu Correale said, can change based on what patrons seem to want.

“In all my places, the menus change just a little bit,” he said. “You have to see what people like in the area. If something, six months from now, I see doesn’t move, I’m going to get it out of there and put another dish in.”

Correale said all of his meals are “made from scratch,” some from recipes that have been in his family for decades.

“I use a lot of Mom’s recipes,” he said. “My tomato sauce is Mom’s recipe. We follow tradition.”

In the several days the restaurant has been open, Correale said, his most popular dish has been shrimp mezza luna.

“We use shrimp, roasted peppers, fresh mushrooms, onions, spinach, herbs and spices, black olives, a mix between a little brown sauce, little marinara and a little bit of chicken stock,” he said. That is served over a selection of pasta.

Correale said he was enticed to open a township restaurant by Jonathan Stirberg, the co-owner of Village Plaza. Stirberg is a customer of one of his other restaurants and a friend, Correale said.

“The owner said he likes my food, he likes my personality, he had the space and he wanted me to come,” Correale said. “He said you guys take a look at it. I trusted him, I didn’t know the town, so I came down to look at the area and I was happy with what I saw.”

So far, Correale said, response has been good, even from former Village Pizza customers.

“One couple has been here every night,” he said. “Last night, we had about four tables that used to be (Village Pizza) customers.”

In addition to his restaurant offerings, Correale said he also offers a catering menu. He said there are a number of items listed on the menu, but he will also make special requests.

“I put love into all of my dishes,” he said. “I love cooking.”


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