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Modern Eatery Brings Inventive Italian Menu to Levin-Managed Retail Center
CHATHAM, N.J., Dec. 2, 2021 – Locally owned Italian restaurant and pizzeria The Shop is coming to Chatham Plaza on Main Street in Chatham. Levin Management Corporation (LMC) serves as exclusive leasing and managing agent for the 31,500-square-foot retail center; Kendal Hand-Freda, LMC leasing representative, arranged the 2,300-square-foot, long-term lease.
The Shop will occupy space that formerly housed Café Villa for more than 25 years. “Chatham Plaza shoppers and local residents alike have long appreciated the presence of an Italian restaurant at this location,” said Hand-Freda. “The Shop is a modern, family-friendly restaurant where patrons can still grab a pizza along with a host of other classic Italian favorites. We are thrilled to bring this quality dining element to the community.”
The Shop is a new business venture for Vincenzo Bernardo and Christopher Bezzone, who both have roots in the local community. The restaurant will be a one-stop “shop” for artisanal pizzas, hand-crafted pastas and sandwiches. A small retail component will sell imported specialty goods, prepared sauces, cheeses and fresh breads.
“The Shop is centered around pizza, pasta and panino,” said Bezzone. “We look forward to being a neighborhood dining destination where someone can stop by a few times a week to grab their favorite lunch or dinner. What sets us apart is our focus on inventive and creative versions of Italian food. All menu items will feature authentic ingredients that pay homage to our Italian heritage. Our concept takes these classic dishes and elevates them in a way that’s trendy, appealing and a little more thoughtful than a typical slice of pizza.”
The Supper Club – an exclusive dining room within The Shop – will feature a small menu and limited seating, creating a special experience for guests. Open for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, this intimate space will allow patrons to enjoy The Shop’s delicious food while gathered with friends and loved ones.
Bernardo, who was born and raised in nearby Madison, said in addition to serving up great food, he hopes to cultivate a sense of community at The Shop. “I grew up here and started going to Café Villa when I was 5 years old,” he said. “Having driven past Chatham Plaza daily as a child, I feel connected to the location and the history that it has for me. It means a lot that we can continue the tradition of kids coming to this shopping center for meals with their families, while starting new traditions at The Shop. We hope our concept will be part of the community for many years to come.”
Anchored by a 14,200-square-foot CVS Pharmacy, Chatham Plaza’s tenant mix also includes a Blue Foundry Bank, C2 Education tutoring center and JAG Physical Therapy, along with typical neighborhood conveniences such as a bagel shop and a dry cleaner. Located near Chatham’s thriving downtown, Chatham Plaza serves a growing residential population of nearly 67,000 people within a three-mile radius, with an average household income of $245,000 within those same three miles.
For nearly seven decades, North Plainfield, N.J.-based LMC has served as a trusted single-source commercial real estate services provider for institutional and private owners. The firm today maintains a diversified, retail-focused portfolio of 120 properties totaling almost 16 million square feet in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, offering leasing, property management, financial management and reporting, construction management and development, lease administration, marketing services, and acquisition and disposition consulting services. LMC’s capabilities continue to evolve with new technologies, efficiencies and sustainability-focused initiatives to serve a new generation of properties, investors and tenants.