LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Business Improvement District (BID) has officially announced the opening of several new businesses in Livingston, including four pizzerias and other restaurants as well as a beauty bar and more.

Porto By Antonio, an upscale-casual restaurant featuring authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and pasta, is hosting a preview on Wednesday, June 22 for local businesses and professionals at its new location on 471 W. Mount Pleasant Avenue (where the old Cosi Sandwich Bar was located).

With a successful location in North Bergen opened only 18 months ago, Porto by Antonio was recently named one of New Jersey’s Top 20 Pizzerias by NJ.com. According to the Gomes Group, LLC which represents Porto, the first location has become a fast favorite of Dr. Oz’s and others in the Tri-State Area.

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“Given the success of our North Bergen location, we’re incredibly excited to be bringing Porto to Livingston and sharing our love for great food and fine dining with this area,” said Pedro Gomes, a real estate entrepreneur and owner of the Gomes Group, LLC.

Wednesday’s will feature free authentic Italian cuisine to go along with a wine selection provided by Unionville Vineyards.

According to BID Executive Director Beth Lippman, the old Cosi building will be split in half, to include Porto by Antonio and a dental practice.

Livingston will also soon see a Blaze Pizza, a chain that serves made-to-order “custom built” pies, to be placed at “the Corner at Livingston Circle in addition to the highly anticipated Shake Shack.

Lippman also said that two additional pizzerias would be coming soon to S. Livingston Ave., called My Way Pizza, and E. Northfield Ave. (next to Bagels 4 U), which does not yet have a name but will be pick-up and delivery only.

Other new businesses coming to Livingston include a noodle restaurant called Hakata Ramen, Roma Prestige, an interior decorating center, a Global Shipping Center and Camilla Mello Beauty Bar.

“The only things that are coming into all towns, not just Livingston, are food, fitness, beauty, service-type things and medical,” said Lippman. “Because those are things that don’t compete with the big lots and the Internet.”

According to Lippman, many small spaces in Livingston are quickly filling up. In May, a walkability assessment was completed, where the New Jersey Transportation Authority met with representatives from the county and the town and will put together a report regarding the town’s parking and walkability.

The hope, according to Lippman, is to resurrect and make progress with a parking lot project that began nearly ten years ago, but was postponed due to the recession.  

“What we’re hoping for is once we get this report, we can use the report to go out and get some funding to help move it along,” said Lippman, who also clarified that the report would not be completed for a few months.

Click HERE to learn more about the Parking Lot Project, which is meant to address “problem areas” like Site One (on S. Livingston Ave. from Hobart Gap north to ShopRite) and Site Two (on S. Livingston Ave. from Oakwood Ave. north to Mt. Pleasant Ave.) by creating safer parking lots that will be more convenient for businesses as well as pedestrians.