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January  31

Restaurant Confidential

Another Montclair eatery is up for sale. This time, it's a confidential listing for $1,050,000, but we've gleaned the following information.

4 Star Italian Rest. for sale in the heart of Montclair. Long established, well known, does a great business

Oh, and the business, established in 1997, recently added brick oven pizza to its offerings. We can't say definitively, but we're guessing Leone's...

January 31, 2005 in Food and Drink | Permalink


It can't be.
The listing said "4 Star."

Posted by: Gonzo Journalist | Jan 31, 2005 11:51:14 AM

didn't say who the four stars were from.

Posted by: Kevin Lee Allen | Jan 31, 2005 12:20:07 PM

Maybe Al-Di-La?

I woudln't think Leone's...that's not 4-star, is it?

Posted by: butchcjg2 | Jan 31, 2005 12:30:45 PM

isn't fascino the only four star around here?
correct me if i'm wrong on that.

Posted by: fran | Jan 31, 2005 12:36:07 PM

Interesting (and sad) tidbit about Leone's: the pizza maker was in the hospital for a few weeks 'cause he had frostbite from the waist down! Apparently he spent a long time waiting for his bus one day. Anyhow, someone else is making the pizzas and they really aren't as good as before. Hope the pizza maker recovers quickly!

Posted by: sow | Jan 31, 2005 12:50:49 PM

Leone's got something like 3 stars from The Star-Ledger, as i recall. Maybe 2-1/2? Fascino got 3-1/2. The NY Times doesn't rate restaurants that way. Oh man, i hope it isn't Leone's! We love that place. It is what it is - but they do red sauce Italian really well.

Posted by: rhubarbd | Jan 31, 2005 1:11:25 PM

"Apparently he spent a long time waiting for his bus one day."

I can believe this part. DeCamp buses literally make people sick.

All kidding aside, that's sad and I hope he recovers quickly.

I like Leon's. It's unpretentious, the food is good, the waitstaff is pleasant. What more could you ask for?

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jan 31, 2005 1:19:08 PM

It's an awful lot of money for a restaurant without a liquor license, whatever its location. And thus would come with an awfully big monthly "nut" to make the mortgage plus expenses. This might be the time, then, to delve into the economics of running a restaurant in Baristaville. It's a chancy enough business in any town, after all, let alone an area so seemingly over-saturated with Italian restaurants as this one.

Posted by: cathar | Jan 31, 2005 1:26:03 PM

"This might be the time, then, to delve into the economics of running a restaurant in Baristaville."

Not to mention that the potential business owner would have to stay well clear of un-pure motivations (such as profit, wages, commercial rent sentting, etc.) so as to avoid the status of "infidel" amoungst the local clientele.

Posted by: Right of Center | Jan 31, 2005 1:38:34 PM

I like Leone's too....it was one of the first restaraunts we went to locally when we moved here. It just reminds me of a night at your distant relative's...

Posted by: butchcjg2 | Jan 31, 2005 1:46:09 PM

I lived in Montclair for 23 years before moving to Verona last year. I've seen a lot of restaurants come in go in that time. It IS a tough business and it would be interesting to do some sort of study examining why some fail while others have thrived. What's the secret to their success?

The irony is that the previous owner of the Church St. Cafe (aka Midtown Diner)...well, suffice it to say that it wasn't would I would call a business model of how to run a restaurant! But, he DID remain in business for a VERY long time (not sure how many years). Why? He outlived many of the trendier type eateries that have come and gone.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jan 31, 2005 1:46:48 PM

Well, the Midtown, greasy and unprepossessing as it was-- served a need-- a cheap place to go for diner food-- no pretensions, no interior decorator, no "ambience"-- just a place to go for eggs and coffee-- and there aren't any others in that area.

Posted by: latebloomer | Jan 31, 2005 2:46:58 PM

But what does that tell you?

Deep down inside, do people really want a dirty, greasy spoon (knife and fork), with no ambience, rude waitstaff, etc? They kept it going for a long time. That's the mystery, espcially in a discerning town like Montclair.

And I beg to differ that the food was "cheap." If you the mean the QUALITY of the food, I have to agree. But I thought the prices were expensive for a two-bit diner.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jan 31, 2005 3:03:05 PM

Yes, the quality left something to be desired. But it still was the only diner-type place in the area. And a lot of people want that kind of place, as opposed to all the upscale ones.

I don't remember that the prices were high- I thought they were cheaper than most other diners.

Posted by: latebloomer | Jan 31, 2005 3:59:07 PM

Sometimes you just want a *diner* and nothin' else will do. So, you end up going to Bloomfield or Wayne or somewhere else. That may be why the Midtown Diner stayed open. (That, and it was cheaper than Raymond's or Suzette's and it was more traditional un-fancy American, which is what many want).

I always wonder how restaurants stay open around here...aside from a select few (like Fascino), it feels like they're *never* busy during the week. We've gone out so many times and been the only ones there!

Posted by: butchcjg2 | Jan 31, 2005 5:28:59 PM

Some of this discussion begins to explain the existance of the Montclair Char-Broil on Valley Rd ... another diner-like establishment with unremarkable decor ... but with, apparently, a dedicated following of regular customers who keep the join afloat.

But these places are the exception, not the rule. After all, just about every town in NJ has its own authentic diner (well, the newer glass-and-brass style, gone are the good 'ol stainless steel and red vinyl styles). The culture of eating out has changed over the years, and continues to change at a quicker pace each year, and so customers are demanding more creative options than ever.

I understand the extreme challenge of owning and operating a restaurant these days, and that means it either requires deep pockets (your own or investor partners) or a supreme dedication that looks past the lack of profit, and indeed high debt, of starting up a new restaurant. Family-owned restaurants seem to stick it out longer than business-oriented restaurants. But the fact remains that the industry is dominated by a high turnover rate and anyone who isn't prepared to face this challenge shouldn't get involved in the first place.

Posted by: Montclair Foodie | Jan 31, 2005 6:36:01 PM

Take Al-Di-La, leave me Leone's. If my Mom were Italian, that's what I think home would be like.

Posted by: RudeBuddha | Feb 1, 2005 7:19:45 AM

Leone's is garbage, worst Italian food i have ever had.

Maybe it's that place on Bloomfield next to the Guitar Shop - I have never seen a single person eat there...

Posted by: Left Of Center, like Suzanne Vega | Feb 1, 2005 12:59:09 PM

Richard O'Colgan has 14 letters in his name.

Posted by: big nag loco | Feb 1, 2005 7:32:03 PM

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