Few Jersey City restaurants look like they did back in the day; and very few were around in the 1960s like The Barge Inn restaurant a little jewel in Jersey City’s crown. The Barge Inn serves Italian cuisine made from recipes handed down through generations. That’s why the food is so delicious – it’s authentic.
Owners Linda and Peter “Bitsy” Paldino run the restaurant which Linda’s dad John Marto opened in 1969. Linda remembers when Anne Polaro, sister to former Jersey City Mayor Anthony Cucci painted the murals depicting Italian scenes on the restaurant’s walls.
“Mayor Cucci was a friend of my dad’s,” Linda says. “I watched her do them; it took her two weeks.”
Bayonne has its share of Italian restaurants and Bella Sorrellas on the corner of 50th Street and Broadway, stands out from the crowd with a menu of classic Italian dishes served with a home-style flair. Owner David Rivera opened Bella Sorrellas three years ago where the old Welcome Inn used to be. The son of Ana and Demetrio “Lumen” Rivera, David grew up watching his father run his Jersey City restaurants: The Seagulls Bar & Grill on Communipaw Ave; The Old San Juan on Jersey Ave; and The Fan Bar on Grove – and he knew early on he wanted to be a restaurateur like his dad.
“I was about 5 and my father picked me up at school and took me to his restaurant, The Seagulls,” Rivera recalls. “I went behind the bar and started cleaning the glasses. He asked me what I was doing and I said, ‘I want to be like you’ and he hugged me and said ‘One day you will.’ Since I was 16 I worked with him after school and through college.”
Rivera worked ten years as transportation supervisor for Christ Hospital in Jersey City and decided he wanted to go back to the restaurant business.
“There was something empty in my heart,” he says. “My father’s philosophy was ‘make sure the customer is fed well and feels at home’. He was in the business over 30 years. Everybody loved my father and I wanted to be like that. ”
Rivera followed in father’s footsteps and Bella Sorrellas (which is Italian for “beautiful sisters” and named for his daughters Analexa, 18, and Isabel, 5) is a cozy corner bistro with an extensive Italian menu. The star of the show – as always – is the food and Rivera works closely with Chef Leo Compi (formerly of Just Sonny’s) a friend for more than 10 years. Continue reading Bayonne’s Bella Sorrellas, a Fine Italian Restaurant→
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