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Letter: Saying Goodbye to Marzullo's

The writer has been a regular at Montclair restaurant that was recently sold.

Marzullo’s in Montclair has been sold.
Marzullo’s in Montclair has been sold.
The writer has been a regular customer at Marzullo's in Montclair for the past decade. 

For the past 10 years, my dad and I have been visiting Marzullo’s on Grove Street. My dad had always remembered it from when he was growing up in Cedar Grove, and we decided to stop there for dinner one evening. Obviously, we kept going back, and we became part of the “usual” Marzullo’s crowd.

While our loyalty to this humble Italian restaurant began due to the good Italian food and desserts, it was the hospitality and people that kept us coming back. Raffaele soon became a close family friend, and all of the waitresses soon knew us by name. We even have our “own” table — the first one on the left when you walk into the deli area.

When I received the news that Marzullo’s had been sold to new owners this past week I was in shock. I’m 26 years old, and while I know things change, I think I assumed that Marzullo’s would always be what it was to me for the past 10 years — a friendly place I could go with my dad, a place where I could eat excellent food, see smiling faces, have good laughs, and keep making friends with the staff and the other regulars that came in.

Marzullo’s has seen me through my last two years of high school, two years of college, a transfer to a new college, two more years of college, and almost through all three years of law school (I’m graduating in May).

Marzullo’s has seen me through sad times and happy times. It’s seen me through disappointments, surprises, and many, many birthdays. Marzullo’s was always the restaurant I picked to go on my birthday, and I could always count on Raffaele to make me a special personal-size birthday cake.

This is cliché, but Marzullo’s was like one of those television show restaurants. The one the main characters would always visit to unwind, the one where everyone knew your name. There were many new faces, but there was always the regular crowd, and we all became friends, learning about each others' lives little by little. We told jokes, laughed, cried (mostly me … well, all me, when I was having a bad day), and even had serious conversations about all the things life throws at each of us.

In the past three years, my schedule has gotten busier. My dad and I haven’t been able to go there every night like we used to, but when we were able to visit, we were always greeted with the same smiles and hospitality. We always caught up with each other, and I always considered everyone there to be my friend. I always looked forward to the cannoli cheesecake, the Almond Joy biscotti, and the peppercorn tuna. The margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil was also one of my go-to favorites. And I could always count on being allowed to get a half order of their pasta dishes because I just couldn’t finish the big portions that were normally doled out.

While nothing will really be changing, it still won’t feel the same. Raffaele was like an uncle to me, and I truly felt like I was a part of his family.

We will still visit Marzullo’s, and hopefully it will remain open for a long time. It holds a lot of memories for me, and I have been so grateful for the time I’ve gotten to spend there and the people I’ve met along the way.

I am especially thankful that my dad and I decided to try Marzullo’s on a whim that one summer day. 

Thank you Raffaele. While I know that this is not goodbye, you will still be missed.

Jessica Sutcliffe, Cedar Knolls
Angela Gala December 04, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Relationships like this have made this a passtion, and not a job. Thank you...thank you for your kind words.

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