By LINDA MOSS
The former Marzullo’s Restaurant & Caterers space may be the second Montclair venue about to see a revival.
The old Marzullo’s location on Grove Street has now been completely gutted by contractors, and local restaurateur Jeff Munoz said that he plans to finally open a new eatery there this summer.
He is currently awaiting bids from vendors regarding mechanical and structural engineering work and as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the spot. There are no variances necessary to open the new place, according to Munoz.
The former Marzullo’s storefront is adjacent to the other restaurant that Munoz owns, The Corner, at the intersection of Grove and Walnut streets. Munoz said that he has leases for both spaces, and stressed that he isn’t expanding The Corner but is creating a whole new restaurant next door. The new place’s concept and name are a work in progress, according to Munoz.
Another well-known but shuttered property, the former Rascals Comedy Club on Bloomfield Avenue, is also getting a new tenant. A group led by Short Hills attorney Jason Miller is opening the Montclair Social Club there, described as an upscale bar-restaurant and supper club.
Marzullo’s was a Montclair mainstay for decades. The Marzullo family opened Marzullo Brothers Delicatessen and Caterers in July 1982, taking the location when the prior deli there went out of business, according to Raffaele Marzullo.
“Our mom Maria was the secret in the kitchen,” he said in an email. “Everyone called ‘Mama Maria’ famous for her chicken soup and so many traditional Italian dishes.”
In 1990 the family took over the space of an adjacent rundown laundromat, expanding and opening up as Marzullo’s Cafe, Marzullo said. The cafe would stay opened after the deli closed at 7 p.m., he said.
In 2001 a fire devastated the cafe, and after 18 months the site was reopened by the family as Marzullo’s Restaurant & Caterers, according to Marzullo. The new restaurant was successful and was eventually expanded next door, with a formal dining room added for special events.
Marzullo’s was sold in December 2013 to Munoz and fellow restaurateur Aki Kaneda. They kept it open until August 2015.
Munoz couldn’t be reached for comment about whether Kaneda is still involved as an owner.