To call Mia Famiglia an Italian deli or sandwich shop misses the mark. It’s more like the Italian food store owned by a favorite aunt
and uncle who show their love by making sure every morsel you get is
the best it can be.
“We’re an Italian grocery that serves lunch” says Manny Licitra who, with his wife Sharon, has owned and run Mia Famiglia for the past 15 years of the store’s 90-year history.
“We bought the store because we wanted to do something we love and do it together” says Sharon. The Licitra’s dedication to the business comes through in everything they do.
Manny, a fourth generation cheese maker, makes his own mozzarella every morning as well as his own scamorza (a dry mozzarella used in his prepared dishes). Also made on the premises: fennel sausage, meatballs, tomato sauce, pesto, vodka sauce, sfogliatella, cannolli cream, daily soups and hot prepared foods. Why stop there? Every day, Mia Famiglia has a dozen homemade antipasto items that may range from octopus to marinated olives, caponata, broccoli rabe and other favorites that come to mind that morning.
The same care is given to all items sold at Mi Famiglia. Fresh bread is delivered every day from four small bakeries in New Jersey and Brooklyn. Asked why he doesn’t buy his breads from a single, quality bakery, Manny says “how can one bakery make all the breads we use unless they are too big to make any of them well.” Fresh buffalo mozzarella is flown in from Italy every two weeks. A range of Italian cheeses are bought and aged in-house. All meats, fish, cheeses and condiments used in Mia Famiglia’s sandwiches and prepared foods are the highest quality.
Did someone say sandwiches? Sure, Manny will tell you that Mia Famiglia is not a sandwich shop, but it makes the best I’ve ever had. From a standard Italian sub, to eggplant, mozzarella and arugula on focaccia with balsamic to a classic muffaletta. Passing through Millburn and not getting a sandwich from Mia Famiglia is your loss.
I haven’t even touched on the grocery items. Mia Famiglia carries one of the largest selections of D.O.P sanctioned (certified by Italian government) items you will find anywhere. Several dozen kinds of imported Italian pastas line the shelves. Have issues with gluten? Manny makes sure there are spelt, faro and corn pastas for you. Did I mention the fresh frozen stuffed pasta?
Why have only San Marzano tomatoes when you can also have the more upscale Strianese? Imported balsamic vinegar is great, the one aged 12 years is better. Risotto? Of course, but what about the black rice and faro? Dozens of best quality olive oils, dried, canned and jarred specialty items round out the bounty on Mia Famiglia’s shelves.
Mia Famiglia is a gem that has been enjoyed by folks in Millburn for years and a “must stop” spot for any foodie in the region. If you’re in Millburn and want lunch, dinner, a snack or the best ingredients to make your own delicious Italian food, stop in at Mia Famiglia. Sharon and Manny won’t steer you wrong.
— Written by Mark Taffet