CRANFORD, NJ – After 14 years, Emma’s Brick Oven Pizza is experiencing a renaissance under its new owner, Victor Biancamano.
Biancamano officially took ownership of Emma’s in October 2017, and since then, he’s been working with a fierce drive to impart a lively, modern take on the Cranford institution.
“We’re bringing an Italian-modern twist,” Biancamano said. “It’s a family-oriented town so I try to be more open to items that sell to families.”
Biancamano worked in the business since he was a teenager, moving from bartending to serving to managing. That dedication and drive has allowed him to implement small changes while focusing on retaining the same feel and food favorites that turned Emma’s into a Cranford classic.
“I have the passion, the drive and the motivation,” he said. “I’m constantly researching what’s the hottest thing out there so I can implement it into specials. It’s what I think about from when I wake up to when I go to sleep.”
To figure out what his customers want, Biancamano listens to requests and incorporates them into Emma’s specials. If the specials are a hit, he’ll try to add those items to the regular menu, which remains largely the same as it was under the previous owners.
In a few short months, Biancamano introduced milkshakes, designated Wednesday as “lasagna night” and started “pasta night” on Mondays, during which the restaurant offers several homemade pastas with a variety of sauces. In the near future, Emma’s will offer a Sunday brunch and additional outdoor seating.
“Any time someone requests something, I try to implement it somehow,” Biancamano said. “Everything is about hospitality and making everyone satisfied so they come back. Life’s not perfect, but I want people to leave here happy.”
In addition to new items on the menu, Biancamano spruced up the interior, adding new lighting and revamping the décor to create a more inviting space. He also introduced new staff, who he attributes to running the restaurant like a “smooth-sailing ship.”
“I’m a very innovative person,” Biancamano explained. “I’m always thinking of what the customer wants and how I can create meals and atmospheres based on my clientele.”
However, much of the “new Emma’s” remains loyal to its patrons and their preferences.
“People from Cranford love their food,” Biancamano said. “They have a passion for food. That’s why I don’t change, I just improve. I made sure everything on the menu either tastes the same or tastes better.”