The Siconolfi family, owners of Luigi’s Italian Tradition, celebrated their 20th business anniversary last year and their preparation of fantastic Italian fare at outstanding prices remains one of the reasons for the restaurant’s success. 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 are proud grandparents of two 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. Within a short 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 atmosphere, accompanied by soothing Italian music creates the perfect ambiance 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, with each dish prepared to order. “Everything is made fresh. I want my customers to enjoy their meal as if I invited them to my home for dinner,” says owner Luigi Siconolfi.
During the week, the daily lunch and dinner specials reflect the restaurant’s varied menu. Each Monday, customers flock 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 its recipes, including rice balls, stuffed artichokes, hot peppers with potatoes and mushrooms and fried calamari with hot cherry peppers. Customers absolutely rave about the variety of pasta dishes that are offered. Gnocchi Sylvia, prepared with marinara sauce, basil and topped with fresh mozzarella is the 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. But you must try Luigi’s pork chop Napolitano, made with a sprinkling of breadcrumb and vinegar peppers – it is mouthwateringly succulent, flavorful and delicious.
Luigi’s offers two specialty fish dishes daily. Try the cod with potatoes and vinegar peppers – it has just the right amount of bite. For those who love grilled stuffed calamari, Luigi prepares it in a manner that is always tender and serves it either 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 are bursting 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 cannoli. Customers also love the tartufo, lava cake and apple caramel crumb. The restaurant offers a variety of cafés, such as espresso, flavored cappuccinos and lattes.
Available for in-house parties, the restaurant can seat up to 60 guests. A special family-style menu is suggested for large parties, offering three appetizers, two pasta dishes and two entrées. Luigi’s also provides off-premises catering for private parties. The 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.