BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Lupa Ristorante opens in Berkeley Heights on Thursday, October 15, 2020.

Executive Chef Adalfo Marisi comes full circle as the executive chef of Lupa Ristorante, formerly Giovanni’s Bistro, Bar and Catering in Berkeley Heights. With the re-opening of Nadine and Bob Tokash’s restaurant, Marisi has the opportunity to share his culinary experience he cultivated in restaurants around the world.

Lupa Ristorante, or “Lupa” for short, offers elegant and contemporary cuisine drawn from Marisi's expertise developed over years of working in the regions of Tuscany and Umbria. Like a great artist, he skillfully pairs authentic flavors with the finest local products and turns them into dishes that are a masterly combination of the traditional and innovation.

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"Lupa’s cuisine will speak of Mediterranean flavors where the leading light is taste and flavor, a cuisine constantly evolving in harmony with seasonal ingredients," Marisi said. His menu combines traditional recipes revisited with a touch of personal creativity.

Marisi will adapt the menu to fit the seasons, with fresh, quality ingredients as the focal point of dishes. "I can tell you that soups are important, regardless if it's 90 degrees out or if it's below 30. I love soups," he said. "We're going to be making each and every cut of pasta in house. Pasta brings the true Italian culture of having pasta the right way to the table." 

Chef's recommendation: "Come here because there's Mediterranean Sea Bass, Branzino -- any flaking white fish to me is great. I have a Chilean Sea Bass dish that blows people's mind," said Marisi. 

Lupa can accommodate seating for 20 outside [with heaters] and indoor seating will adhere to capacity guidelines set by Governor Phil Murphy. 

Lupa's practices will comply with COVID-19 protocols to help mitigate exposure to the virus. "Technology is our partner and friend -- contactless payment systems, automated ordering systems, mobile ordering apps, website updates and simple text will help us communicate and conduct business with reduced need for close contact," said Marisi. "I feel comfortable because the precautions that we have in place." Precautions also include an air filtration system. 

For take-out orders, "I'm going to be precise, establish designated pickup zones for customers and offer curbside pickup -- practice social distancing, by offering to place orders in vehicle's trunk -- ensure food containers are used and utensils are clean and sanitized. So we're going to take all those precautions which makes me feel safe and comfortable, thus giving the customer the same feel." 

We encourage reservations for greater control of customer traffic and volume -- and also require diners to provide a telephone number when making a reservation to facilitate contact, he said.

Lupa Ristorante is located at 449 Springfield Avenue in Berkeley Heights. For reservations call 908.464.6644. Visit www.luparistorante.com for menu options including cocktails and wines. 

About Executive Chef Adolfo Marisi: Florence, Siena, Colle Val D'elsa, Livinallongo Del Col Di Lana, Ostellato, and Argenta. These cities were once home for "Instituto Culinario" graduate and Abruzzo native, Adolfo Marisi. 

Locally, Marisi worked with Chef Jaun Jose Quevas at the Pluckemin Inn in Bedminister as entremetier and saucier. He advanced to Chef de Partie and collaborated in garnering a three-star rating from The New York Times and the AAA Four-Diamond Award in 2010.

A brief externship brought Marisi back to Florence where he worked for Ned and Marina Lambton at Three Star Hotel Villa Cetinale. When this experience came to an end, he joined creative forces with Chef Riccardo Rossi and Sous Chef Rosanna DeLeo at the iconic five-star luxury hotel, Relais La Suvera in Siena. Marisi undertook the role of Chef-de Cuisine in the first of his three-year tenure at La Suvera before becoming Executive Chef of the establishment, which was owned by the royal Marquis Ricci family dating back to the year 1123. During his tenure, the hotel garnered the highest culinary accolade as Five star Luxury Dimora Storica rating. He served dignitaries and met Prince Charles, Steve Jobs, the Pope’s Dignitaries, Vice President Biden, Turkish Prime Ministers, Polish Prime Ministers, to name a few.

Marisi told TAPinto, he returned to New Jersey for his family. Living in Mountainside, he is thrilled to open Lupa -- close to home.