The Siconolfi family, owners of Luigi’s Italian Tradition, are celebrating their 20th business anniversary this year. The Siconolfi daughters are the first generation of the family born in the United States. Luigi and his wife, Saveria, were born in the province of Avellino in southern Italy. They both are proud grandparents of two young grandsons, Nikky and Mikey and two granddaughters, Ella Grace and Paige Ann.
The business began as a tiny six table restaurant on the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and North 12th Street in Newark, New Jersey in 1998. Within a short period of time, the restaurant’s reputation grew and with it, the popularity of the establishment. After five years, they relocated to a larger restaurant in its present location at 561 Bloomfield Avenue in Newark.
The restaurant provides a warm and welcoming environment. The Tuscan-like aesthetics accompanied by soothing Italian music creates an elegant atmosphere to enjoy a home-cooked meal. Regardless of whether you are enjoying an afternoon lunch or a relaxing dinner, the ingredients are always of top quality and the dishes are cooked to order. “Everything is made fresh. I want my customers to enjoy their meal as if I invited them to my home for dinner,” said owner Luigi Siconolfi.
During the week, the daily lunch and dinner specials reflect the restaurant’s varied fare. Every Monday customers come to enjoy Luigi’s famous lentil soup, while the lunch specials have many customers returning for the incredible values. For example, most lunch specials cost only $8.95 and they now deliver for both lunch and dinner.
Luigi’s is justly renowned for many of their recipes, including rice balls, stuffed artichokes, hot peppers with potatoes and mushrooms and fried calamari with hot cherry peppers. Customers rave about the many varieties of pasta dishes that are served at Luigi’s. Gnocchi Sylvia, prepared with marinara sauce, basil and topped with fresh mozzarella is their most requested, while the Fusilli Avellinesi is prepared just like it was in the family’s hometown in Italy, with clams, mussels and shrimp, served in a fresh tomato and basil sauce over homemade fresh fusilli.
The entrées are notorious for the enormous portion sizes. The veal chop over broccoli rabe and roasted potatoes is one of the favorite specials, as is Luigi’s pork chop Napolitano, made with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and vinegar peppers.
Luigi’s offers two specialty fish dishes daily. Try the cod with potatoes and vinegar peppers – just delicious, with the right amount of bite. The grilled stuffed calamari is tender and flavorful and is served over pasta or with a salad. With its grand portions, we would challenge anyone to finish Luigi’s zuppa de pesce over linguini in one sitting. Then again, once you begin, it is nearly impossible to stop. For a treat, enjoy the swordfish livornese; the combination of Mediterranean ingredients – capers, anchovies and olives – burst with flavor.
What better way to end a delicious meal than with a scrumptious dessert? Luigi’s Italian Tradition is recognized for their homemade tiramisu and cannolis. Customers also love the tartufo, lava cake and apple caramel crumb. Luigi’s offers a variety of cafés, such as espresso, flavored cappuccinos and lattes.
The restaurant is available for in-house parties and can seat five dozen guests. A special family-style menu is suggested for large parties, offering three appetizers, two pasta dishes and two entrées. Luigi’s also does catering off premises for private parties. The catering menu offers full trays accommodating 18-20 guests and half trays for 8-10 people.
Luigi’s Italian Tradition is open Monday through Friday from 11:00 am until 10:30 pm; Saturday, 3:00 pm ‘til 11:00 pm and Sunday, from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm. Located at 561 Bloomfield Avenue in Newark, New Jersey; call (973) 481-9696 for reservations and visit their website at www.luigisitaliantradition.com.