Ristorante Scala Del Nonna, By Way Of NYC’s Scalini Fedeli, Coming To Montclair NJ

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 20, 2013 4:37pm  |  COMMENTS (36)

Montclair, your prayers have been answered! Just what downtown Montclair needed — another Italian restaurant!

Well, maybe not, but before you roll your eyes, check the dish on this new spot. The restaurant is headed by renowned chef Michael Cetrulo, whose impressive pedigree suggests that Ristorante Scala Del Nonna might just become the talk of the town. Cetrulo began working in restaurants when he was only 13, and by the time he was 23, in 1990, he opened his own- Madison’s Il Mondo Vecchio. He then trained for a year in Italy in an attempt to modernize his culinary repertoire, and went on start four more restaurants, including the popular Scalini Fedeli in 1995.

Replacing Cafe Amici/Albert’s (formerly 32 Church Street and before that Taro), Ristorante Scala Del Nonna looks to be a Manhattan quality Italian restaurant right in the neighborhood. Let’s hope it does better than its predecessors.

scala del
A dish at Scalini Fedeli… YUM!

Editor’s note: Baristanet welcomes Owen Satran, who joins us as our summer intern. Satran, a rising junior at Skidmore College, is a graduate of Montclair High School.


  1. POSTED BY caphilly  |  June 20, 2013 @ 5:19 pm


  2. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  June 20, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

    Scalini Fedeli is Chatham is excellent and brings high profile people. I wish them well, although I don’t think we need them in Montclair. There are great towns with great food that I am willing to travel to, I do not need them all to be in Montclair

  3. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  June 20, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

    Great story, Owen. Your initial cheer, then immediate nod to the sarcastic amongst us here, fit beautifully with the tone of the site. Well Done.

    And you went to our Public High School? Gee, from reading and hearing folks talk, I’m surprised you were even able to string together a sentence, let alone show such a keen sense of our community by using words.

    I look forward to reading more of your stories.

  4. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  June 20, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

    As for “Ristorante Scala Del Nonna,” I hope the place is nicer than the website of the other two restaurants. The website for Scalini is terrible– do I really need to download the menu? And the pix’s are dark and unappetizing, which makes the background color off-putting.

    Yikes!! Just checked and The Mondo restaurant site is just as bad. (Yes. I will make a decision based on the website, because if you cannot take the time to have a decent looking site, why do I think your food is any better? I will, however, wait for folks and friends to tell me otherwise.)

  5. POSTED BY frobnitz  |  June 20, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

    I agree about basing a decision on a restaurant’s website. But then T.S. Ma would be jam packed and we wouldn’t be able to get in there anymore. Not to mention the great food and service.

  6. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  June 20, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

    Prof, the pictures of Chatham’s Scalini are accurate. It’s a small, dark, very old farmhouse. You eat in the dining room, living room and near the staircase. If you are in that area, I would suggest giving it a try. The food is excellent

  7. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  June 20, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

    I agree with your assessment of Mondo. The pictures are blurry, and it looks like the Red Hat Society threw up on the page. With that said, Eleven Madison Park is one of the nicest restaurants in the world (Ranked #5 of 50 best restaurants in the world) and their website is awful.

  8. POSTED BY johnleesandiego  |  June 21, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    Crap On A Cracker! I was hoping to Frozen Yoghurt.

  9. POSTED BY Conan  |  June 21, 2013 @ 10:47 am

    Is Eleven Madison still holding up after Danny Meyer sold it to his chef and Maitre d’Hotel? It was an incredibly good dining experience a year or two ago.

  10. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  June 22, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

    Conan, Last year it was ranked 8th in the world and this June it was ranked #5, so I think they are still doing okay!

  11. POSTED BY foodcriticnyc2la  |  June 22, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

    I am out of my mind excited about Scala del Nonna coming to our town!!!! Scalini Fedeli (Same owners) is our absolute favorite restaurant. Their food is like going to Italy or having your grandmother cook for you. I cannot believe that we will only have to drive 10 minutes to have their same amazing food and impeccable service! Great, great news!!!! Thanks for letting us know it’s coming.

  12. POSTED BY foodconnoisseur  |  June 22, 2013 @ 11:30 pm

    That is great news! I am very familiar with Chef Michael Cetrulo. He is one of the most talented chef’s out there. Montclair is in for a big treat. Do we know when the restaurant is due to open?

  13. POSTED BY mtcborn  |  June 22, 2013 @ 11:34 pm

    Wow! The restaurant hasn’t even opened yet and some of you are already ripping it apart?! I guess this is just one more example of the very sad realities of people enjoying their anonymity on social media sites these days, cowardly attacking that which they don’t even know. (Really? Judging a restaurant by it’s website? Can’t imagine how painfully trying it must have been for you to have to double click your mouse to upload a menu from their site! Seriously? So sad…) For those of you who are sincere in your wondering how the restaurant might be, if you’ve ever had the great pleasure of dining at Scalini Fedeli in Tribeca you’d be overjoyed and excited this incredibly talented chef is coming to our community. I promise you all, it’s going to become one of the favorites this town has to offer in no time at all. Looking forward to learning when it’s going to open…

  14. POSTED BY relax people  |  June 23, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    foodcriticnyc2la + foodconnoisseur + mtcborn = paid shills for the owners.

    Really guys? Three gushing posts about a restaurant that hasn’t opened yet all within ghte span of 20 minutes on a Saturday night?


  15. POSTED BY mtcborn  |  June 23, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

    What’s wrong with you people? (profwilliams, relax people). Some of us are simply sickened by posts all over social media sites from people like yourselves, who have nothing better to do than spew negativity about things they know absolutely nothing about. It’s pathetic. When hearing this restaurant was coming to Montclair, who the chef and owner was, and having dined in Tribeca at one of his highly praised restaurants several times, I was excited of its arrival. I’m confident the reputation he’s garnered from his restaurants will stand for itself, without the need for a “shill.” What a joke! When a person stands up against people like yourselves, against what they perceive is a wrongful, baseless attack for no reason other than to satisfy their own small-mindedness, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. If more people would stand up to others like you on social media sites everywhere, maybe people would think twice before using these platforms to spread their bile at the expense of us all. In other words, why not give people a chance before attacking them for sport in the hidden comfort of your homes while sitting at your computers in your stained pajamas. Wouldn’t you want the same treatment to be extended to you? Of course you would. So, why not? It might just be the small thing needed to make our world a slightly better place. Honestly, I couldn’t care less if you go to this restaurant or not. I was simply sharing what my experience was at his other restaurant, out of fairness against some utterly moronic comments, as well as, commenting on what I believe to be wrong with many sites like these. Which is to say, petty people like yourselves… Really. Get a life…

  16. POSTED BY relax people  |  June 23, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

    Ahem, mtcborn, methinks you protest too much…

    I understand that you are the owner’s cousin, but really, dude, you gotta breathe man. Breathe…

  17. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  June 23, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

    mtcborn, you need to relax. Seeing three new screen names posting within a few minutes of each other and not anywhere else brings suspicion to this site. This often happens in food related posts only, so you can understand the remarks.

    I’ve been to Scalini Fedeli and there’s also a great restaurant across the street from Scalini. I’ll drive to Chatham, Red Bank, Westfield, etc for great food. Montclair is an obvious choice for a restaurateur but I personally do not feel the need to have all my favorite restaurants in one town. Ultimately if they become the best restaurant in town, other restaurants will be hurt. They picked a cursed location, but as I said before, “I wish them well”

  18. POSTED BY mitchl  |  June 23, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

    I wish the new owners much success and am loooking forward to this restaurant!

  19. POSTED BY mtcborn  |  June 24, 2013 @ 4:46 am

    I appreciate your comments, Jimmytown. I, like you, wish them well. And why shouldn’t any rational person? Montclair is unique in its diversity, and Church Street is one of its most charming locales. I don’t believe it hurts anyone to add another great restaurant here, anymore than it does in other towns and cities the world over. To set out to knock down any business out of fear that its potential success and excellence might be negative to other businesses is a tactic right out of “Atlas Shrugged.” God save us all if that should be our governing course of action. Before long we’ll become a nation that seeks to reach for the floor, rather than the heavens.

    Unlike some have alleged, I have no horse in this race whatsoever. Unfairness irks me, that’s all. Especially when its founded in such obvious ignorance. And unfortunately, there’s an overabundance of this on the internet, thanks to the anonymity of so many who contribute onto sites such as these. If one wants to go to this restaurant, they should go. If not, then they shouldn’t. From my previous experiences, I’m confident the food will stand on its own. It’s as simple as that…

    Sincerely, all the best to you…

  20. POSTED BY paolo  |  June 24, 2013 @ 7:49 am

    I’ve dined at both the Chatham and Tribeca locations of Scalini Fedeli, and I agree it will be a memorable addition to Montclair.

    Whether it’s better than Giotto or Fascino, or more inventive than Salute is a question we’ll all have to wait to answer. I suspect those owners are already considering how to ramp up their game for the challenge.

    Chef Cetrulo has earned a top notch rating and has developed a huge number of well trained, competent people in his organization. I’m sure his Montclair staff will be their equal. He’s good, very good.

  21. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  June 24, 2013 @ 9:26 am


    You rail against us evil, anonymous commentors on social media, but it’s funny how you fail to even acknowledge that my first comment was a “hearty high-five and a pat on the ass” to the intern who wrote the story.

    Guess it didn’t fit your narrative.

    As for the restaurant, I commented on the website, because that’s all I have gauge my impression on. I haven’t (and won’t) travel to Chatham to eat. NYC is a different story, but again, with its lackluster website, I’d avoid it because NYC is FILLED with great restaurants and websites that take care to convey what my experience with them might be. Sorry.

    However, if you’ve been paying attention here, you know most of us welcome new businesses and wish them well– who doesn’t want a new favorite restaurant? But we also enjoy commenting on our experience/interaction GOOD or BAD with them to friends here, on Twitter, FB and other “social media.”

    Most business owners know this.

    You should too.

  22. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  June 24, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    mtcborn – I just shot an elephant in my (stained) pajamas, but the literary reference to “Atlas Shrugged” is at best, a quantum leap of faith.

  23. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  June 24, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    Wow, I remember going to Il Mondo Vecchio when it first opened. I can’t believe they’ve been there that long.

    Taro and Joe Bartoni’s are 2 restaurants I still miss.

  24. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  June 24, 2013 @ 11:12 am

    I still miss Lots A Pasta at the Upper Montclair Train Station……

  25. POSTED BY cathar  |  June 24, 2013 @ 11:23 am

    Mtcborn, Montclair is NOT “unique in its diversity. That’s merely the sort of self-stuffed gush which fills this site. (Along with, unsettlingly, lots of racially tinged comments ithis same site about certain neighborhoods in this citadel of “diversity.”) There is, say, Elizabeth. And Paterson. And Clifton, which notes that something like 90+ languages are spoken in its streets and schools.

    What Montclair seems to uniquely have, in other words, is no shortage of folks eager to congratulate themselves for living here. but that’s at least as much a particularly ominous form of groupthink as it is a genuine commitment to diversity.

    Other than that, I simply wish the new restaurant venture well. Even if the actual statistics for restaurant success and faiulure seem to indicate that it’ll face rough going indeed.

  26. POSTED BY Howard Beale  |  June 24, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

    Since the topic of the article is a new restaurant, I interpreted mtcborn’s comment concerning diversity to address the diversity of the restaurants in Montclair, both in ethnicity and specialties. From my house I can walk to eateries inspired by French, Italian, Ethiopian, Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, Cuban, Peruvian, Japanese, Jamaican and Mexican cuisine as well as a steakhouse, seafood, burgers, pizza, etc.
    I miss Sesame since the area now lacks a decent Chinese restaurant.

  27. POSTED BY cathar  |  June 24, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    Howard, even if the topic were restricted to restaurants, mtcborn would still be wrong. Stroll around Ridgewood or Fort Lee or, especially, North Bergen if you doubt that.

    So nope, mtcborn was attempting to simply be self-congratulatory. In the great vein of so many comments on this site, in other words.

  28. POSTED BY jcunningham  |  June 24, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

    “mtcborn was attempting to simply be self-congratulatory. In the great vein of so many comments on this site, in other words”

    —Irony Meter shatters again…

  29. POSTED BY cathar  |  June 24, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    Shouldn’t you be setting up beach chairs or some such at the beach club with Potsie and Ralph Malph as part of your summer job, “cunningham?”

  30. POSTED BY mtcborn  |  June 24, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

    Yes, Mr. Beale, that’s the diversity I was referring to. Thanks for clearing that up. Mediation isn’t exactly in line with your pseudonym’s character, therefore, I appreciate the effort all the more. Kinda’ funny how his dying mantra was more in line with my own comments on this site. Wanna’ switch? 🙂
    That said, I agree, it would be nice to have another good Chinese restaurant in the downtown area.
    Have a great day…

  31. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  June 27, 2013 @ 11:36 pm

    It is always enjoyable watching cathar make a fool of himself. He’s awfully good at it.

    One of his favourite mantras is all about how Montclair is not really “diverse” like, say, Clifton is.

    Even though the 2010 census shows Montclair to be 62% white, 27% African-American or black, and 5% mixed race. While Clifton is 70% white, 5% black or African-American, 9% Asian and 4% mixed.

    I don’t see a great deal of difference there. Ah, but then cathar will tell us how “90 languages are spoken in the schools”. This is, of course, total hogwash.

    But then cathar is really only good for entertainment purposes, serving as he does as the site’s resident buffoon.

  32. POSTED BY cathar  |  June 28, 2013 @ 10:30 am

    Successfully just out of rehab,eh,croiagusanam? Good for you.

    It is not necessarily “color” which makes for diversity. I’d have hoped you knew that. Ah well, you amuse me again with your gangrenous choler. At any rate, many people here have made, to some degree or other, rather disparaging remarks about Montclair’s neighborhoods where people of color reside. And this does, most any time, seem an uncommonly uniform gathering of, well, “white” citizens. With the prominent exception of the good prof (whose sensible views I’d suspect many frothing white posters wouldn’t view as “black” at all, at least not as “black” as their own foolish and limited suppositions about race would allow).

    It also isn’t sheer numbers of ethnic groupings which make for a diverse town. Clifton may have but a relative handful of Yemenis, but, by golly, it has them. Ditto for Kenyans. And Guyanese. And Afghans. And… (I even might suspect that Montclair’s true commitment to diversity might best be exemplified by its nanny population.)

    Really, croiagusanam, there’s so much you can learn now that your daily meds have apparently given you a fresh start in life. (Why don’t you try wearing a sari yourself someday? Better yet, a muffled hijab!) If diversity is indeed Montclair’s cultural currency, too, then I’d certainly hope to see more of it here in the future in more substantial ways than restaurant menus.

  33. POSTED BY pepino  |  July 22, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

    The proper wording should be Scala Della Nonna.

  34. POSTED BY montclarity  |  September 26, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

    Scalini Fedeli is one of my favorite restaurants…. if this restaurant even comes close, we will all be lucky!

  35. POSTED BY jingoistic  |  May 13, 2015 @ 8:02 am

    Lived in Naples for a few years and know a little about the cuisine.

    Scala serves fantastic dishes. Not creative genius level, but superb is superb.

    They fail miserably on service. Scala hostesses watched the Seinfeld episode about “reservations” and didn’t realize it was a joke. Was part of a party of 4 who arrived on time for a 7:30pm reservation, “it will be a few minutes.”

    In 30 minutes of standing:

    1. Not once did anyone from the staff offer to open our wine to help with the wait

    2. Did not offer to let us sit in any of their empty tables outside (we didn’t want to eat there, bit cold, but its easier than standing)

    3. Watched the “paisano” arrive late for their reservations and ‘kiss-kiss’ get seated immediately (did this for 3 separate tables including one was actually 30 minutes late which the hostess said, not two feet from me, “Hey-a, i was about to give-a away you table”)

    4. Not one apology. No offer of a free app, desert, coffee something to say ‘sorry, we screwed up a bit’

    Quality food at manhattan prices but i wouldn’t let the staff run a McDonalds much less a restaurant with presumptions of fine dining.

  36. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  May 13, 2015 @ 10:43 am

    jingo – In full agreement. I’ve unfortunately experienced the same (poor) service and have no plans for returning to Scala Del Nonna. My nonna would certainly disapprove as would the owners of Caffe Gambrinus, as it has been around for 150+ years.

    Buona giornata.

Featured Comment

And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

Tip, Follow, Friend, Subscribe