MONTVILLE, NJ – Chef and new owner of the now-former Montville Inn property Michael Cetrulo revealed his vision for the restaurant at the jointly sponsored Montville Township Economic Development Committee and Chamber of Commerce event June 19.
The breakfast focused on growth and development in the township and county, and local business owners were invited to attend. The Montville Inn building is currently closed for renovations.
Cetrulo was asked to speak on why he had chosen Montville to open another restaurant. Cetrulo, an entrepreneur and chef, is behind some of the most famous restaurants in the state, such as Scalini Fedeli in Chatham, Madison’s Il Mondo Vecchio, and Montclair’s Scala del Nonna, as reported in TAPinto Montville recently when the Montville Inn closed.
“We opened up in Madison in 1991 and we were looking in Morristown for a while,” Cetrulo said. “We opened up in Montclair about five years ago, and that team is going to be coming to Montville. [Former Montville Inn owner] TJ Nelligan called my sister in Montclair and said he was looking to sell. I love the location of it on the hill on Route 202.
“As far as what I like about Montville, my mother has lived here for about 15 or 20 years. I just love the town. I love the center of town location [of the inn]. The more I look at it, sort of off-the-beaten path, on Main Road but not really in the center of town, like where I am in Chatham and Madison, so you can get more lunch [diners].
“We’re not going to make it expensive or prix fixe,” he said. (A prix fixe meal is a set-priced meal with a few entrée offerings at a set price which usually includes a single appetizer and dessert choice.) “Honestly it will be more similar to Il Mondo Vecchio and Scala del Nonna. I did my research in other Montville restaurants and people eat out during the week. In Madison and Chatham, people don’t come out Tuesday through Thursday, but we make it up on weekends. But in Montville, at places like Rails – the king of Montville – people are out every night and they do really well.”
Cetrulo said the new restaurant will offer a collection of dishes from his various restaurants, which serve Italian cuisine, but with some new additions. There will be a minimal, cosmetic re-do of the dining room for a “comfortable feel,” and he will still use the porch for seating, so if diners want to come in shorts, that’s fine.
“The prices will be similar to my other restaurants,” he said. “Dinner for two with a glass of wine will be between $55 and $65.”
Cetrulo hopes to open the restaurant mid- to late September “if all goes well,” he said. He did not mention the name of the new restaurant.