WOOD-RIDGE, NJ -- A newly-opened Wood-Ridge restaurant, Cousin Vinny’s, celebrated with its grand opening and ribbon cutting along with the Mayor, members of the Borough Council, co-creators, friends and family on Wednesday evening. 

Members of the Wood-Ridge Borough Council, including Mayor Paul Sarlo, Council President Catherine Cassidy, Councilman Edward Marino, Councilman Dominick Azzolini, and Councilman Philip Romero, joined Larry Cerrone, general manager, and owner Peter Flower for the official ribbon-cutting.

Sarlo welcomed the newest restaurant to Wood-Ridge and wished them much success in their business.

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Cousin Vinny’s is operated by co-creators Larry Cerrone and Peter Flower, while chef Michael Galasso runs kitchen operations. Cerrone, the restaurant’s operator, who has spent his entire career in the industry, said the location and a unique business concept directed him to open Cousin Vinny’s in Wood-Ridge, a small community in northern New Jersey. 

The family-style Italian concept also has a new offering which Cerrone created and calls “Prima Tavolo” which means “first table.” Diners who place orders by 6 p.m. that  include a full main dish and a side dish, will enjoy a full order of pasta (approx. 1 ½ pounds of pasta) included free.

“It entices customers to come in early, eat their fill and probably even take food home,’’ Cerrone said. “A family of four can reasonably walk out for under $80.”

The concept revolves around catering quickly to hungry families seeking a reasonably-priced meal at a convenient time for young children.

“It’s always been a consideration that young kids don’t like to wait for food,’’ Cerrone said. “They could care less. They want to eat now.” 

The restaurant will offer a large selection of Italian dishes from around Italy with beef, chicken, veal and seafood, Neopolitan pizza and specialty pizzas.

Cerrone said the “Prima Tavolo” concept is a unique format, especially in the suburbs of New York City.

“I wanted to design a concept for a metropolitan suburb,’’ he said. “I ate at restaurants in the city and got tired of leaving broke and hungry. That’s certainly not going to happen at Cousin Vinny’s.”

“There are no absolute answers with any new restaurant,’’ Cerrone said. “I don’t think there is anyone key thing. If there is a secret, it is to be attentive, patient and responsive to your customers.”

Cousin Vinny's Wood-Ridge is located at 191 Valley Boulevard.


Editor's Note: the article was updated to include appropriate titles.


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