BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Mangia Organica owner Valentino La Rosa and business partner Andrew Martino were joined by Township Administrator Matthew Watkins, Mayor Michael Venezia, Ella Venezia, and friends for the ribbon cutting and official opening of Mangia Organica on Bloomfield Center's Restaurant Row on Glenwood Avenue Thursday night. 

La Rosa describes the restaurant concept as 'fast-casual Italian' with a strong influence from the  Emilia-Romagna region. The region is home to Bologna, Modena, and Parma, three cities who names grace tables and kitchens in American homes and restaurants. 

The signature dish at Mangia Organica is the Piadina. Traditionally made with semolina, lard, and water, these flat breads have the appearance appearance of a tortilla, but with much more flavor and protein. La Rosa keeps the traditional semolina as the base, but uses eggs and organic palm oil instead of the lard to mirror his passion for a healthy lifestyle. The flat breads are served with choices of proteins and sauces. 

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In keeping with the healthy lifestyle influence, patrons may notice that there is no pork or beef on the menu. The Bolognese is made with turkey. The chicken and turkey used int he restaurant is local and hormone free. Upon tasting the Bolognese, Mayor Venezia proclaimed it excellent. 

As a kid, La Rose used to tell his mother that she should open a pizzeria, selling pizza out of the kitchen window. That passion for owning a culinary destination never left him. About two or three years ago the name "Mangia Organica; came to him. He was not sure what the concept would be, but secured the name and domain. The influence of his frequent journeys to Italy, as well as the influence of this Sicilian mother, and his own healthy lifestyle led him to where he is today. Knowing that fast casual concepts are growing makes his restaurant very in tune with the contemporary American experience. "This is not a traditional Italian restaurant," La Rosa told TAPinto Bloomfield, it is fast, healthy, for not a lot of money." There are several gluten free options on the menu as well as almond milk mozzerella. 

Venezia called the opening of Mangia Organica 'extremely exciting'. He told TAPinto Bloomfield that in the last 13 to 14 months several restaurants opened up int eh area to create a thriving environment on Glenwood Avenue. These additions add to the growth on Lackawanna and Washington Street, and show the continued progression of Bloomfield Center. He added that "people are critical of the parking (in Bloomfield Center) but when you go into the deck there is always a spot." The parking deck is immediately across the street from Mangia Organica. He also shared that plans are in the works to add a pedestrian crosswalk to the exit of the deck on Glenwood Avenue. 

Mangia Organica is located at 271 Glenwood Avenue in the space formerly occupied by 'Taste It Again Jamaican Cuisine." It is two door down from the recently opened Wooden Spoon and Satis Bistro.