By Lindsey Kelleher
Growing up, he learned recipes and many cooking techniques from his mother Rachel.
“My mother was an excellent cook. Learning from her and from myself working in restaurants, I decided to put the two together and go into business,” Stabile, 60, said.
He has kept that family tradition alive through Lorenzo’s, which he now owns with his son Nico, 28.
Lorenzo’s started out strictly as a pizzeria in a shopping center on Rifle Camp Road. Stabile bought Lorenzo’s in 1983 from former owner Lorenzo LaSandra. In 1993, Lorenzo’s moved to 223 New St. where the restaurant is today. The former bar Sir Richard’s Inn used to be in that location.
Over the years, it has transformed from a pizzeria to a pizzeria and restaurant that serves a wide selection of traditional, homemade Italian dishes.
“It’s just a good feeling to have owned the same restaurant for 35 years,” Stabile said.
Stabile and his son Nico credit the fresh ingredients they use and their customers’ loyalty for the restaurant’s success and plan to continue expanding their customer base in the new decade by attracting more date night customers and families.
Lorenzo’s has a regular menu and a catering menu filled with Italian dishes along with seasonal specials.
For Valentine’s Day, Lorenzo’s will have heart-shaped lobster ravioli on the menu, and throughout the winter the signature butternut squash soup will be featured.
Some signature dishes on the menu include Momma Sunday, which is one of Stabile’s favorite meals to make because the recipe is inspired by his late mother. Momma Sunday is a pasta dish with meatballs, sausage and brag olé.
“When my mother made it, the pasta would be cooked a certain way: al dente. The ingredients that go into the meatballs such as grated cheese, parsley, egg and seasoning the brag olé with garlic and the sausage and combine that with sauce and people love it,” Stabile said.
“People feel like their own mother is making the dish,” he explained.
Other signature dishes include the seafood salad, which is made with shrimp, calamari, octopus, garlic, lemon, tomatoes, celery and onions; and the chicken and veal Milanese.
And don’t forget the pizza.
“The pizza followed us here,” said Stabile. “One of the reasons why is that we use spring water to make the dough. The water gives it such a flavor.”
The margarita, four-cheese, and rustica, which comes with plum marinara sauce, eggplant, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella and arugula, are among some of the popular specialty pies.
All the food is made ready to order a la carte.
Catering orders can be done on or off premise.
Lorenzo’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
Location: 223 New Street, Woodland Park, NJ 07424
Parking on site.