December 15, 2012 at 8:06 AM
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - When Steven Guastamacchia opened Yogoccino in Berkeley Heights in August, he said he wanted to stand out from his competition. So, after a few months of planning, research and construction, they had a grand re-opening on Saturday Dec. 8. The expanded business now serves breakfast and lunch.
The store offers 24 delicious flavors of frozen yogurt including peanut butter cup, cake batter, red velvet, salted pretzel, peach pie, cappuccino and cinnabun. But even with these great sugary treats that the town has grown to love, co-owners and brothers-in-law Guastamacchia and Stephen DeMaria wanted to give people more.
Guastamacchia said they planned from the beginning to have food in the restaurant, but wanted to start with the frozen yogurt first. With businesses slow during the winter and when kids are in school, he said they needed to do something to get people’s attention.
“My concept differs from everybody else,” he said. “I did not want to let the cat out of the bag all at once and let the competition know what my philosophy was.”
While his background is in the food business, deciding on a new menu with his chef Robert was a bit of a tough process, he said. The goal was to have vacation-type food, Guastamacchia said.
Some of the new items they serve are stuffed French toast, eggs benedict Florentine, cornbread French toast, a grilled salmon omelet and Texas French toast. He said all of the food is reasonably priced and typically not found in a diner.
The construction started on Thanksgiving, but finished much quicker than expected because of Hurricane Sandy. Surprisingly, Yogoccino did not lose power during the superstorm, so all of the contractors worked there the entire week after the storm because everything else was closed.
“Sandy turned out to benefit me,” he said.
The store now has several more tables, a bar with bright red seats, and overall a warm inviting atmosphere where families and children come for a meal and dessert. Because he is a builder by trade, Guastamacchia said he envisioned everything looking like this.
He said the feedback has been great so far and last weekend the store was jam packed. They are also planning to install a 1,600 square foot party rental room in the basement, have story book and coffee time for moms starting in January and on Sunday Dec. 16 Santa will be visiting Yogoccino.
“I feel wonderful about everything going forward,” he said.