New Corner Restaurant is reopen for business after a two week semi-break when the restaurant underwent renovations. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The New Corner Restaurant has a new look. It may be the last one under its current ownership.
The pizzeria, at East Front Street and Globe Court in Red Bank, reopened Monday after a two-week makeover in which owners John and Angela Coccurello completed an interior overhaul all while maintaining a brisk take-out and delivery business.
But the changes are the start of what the Coccurellos say will be the final phase of an ownership run that’s lasted 25 years. Up next: a move to Italy.
For New Corner devotees, there’s no cause for alarm yet. The Coccurellos say they have no firm timetable for their return to Angela’s hometown of La Maddalena, Italy, a small island off Sardinia where Benito Mussolini was once held prisoner and that, for 35 years, was a home base for Navy submarines to pull in for R&R.
“One day soon,” they say, they’ll head back.
“I got to be with my family for 25 years here, so it’s time we spend time with her family,” said John, who met Angela in 1978 when he was a sailor stationed in La Maddalena.
In the meantime, customers can soak in what Angela Coccurello calls a more “cozy” feel at the restaurant.
They ditched the 70s-era pizza pastiche of booths and green walls for a floor filled with mahogany tables accented with a rustic yellow paint on the walls, mirrors and a shiny, new HDTV. They pulled up the tiles and replaced them, and installed a granite counter at the pizza and oven area.
And, as they’ve done since 1985, when they bought the space, all the work was done by the Coccurello family, except for the floor tiles and new awnings outside.
The last renovation was done 15 years ago, Coccurello said.
“It was time for an update,” she said. “This is the thank-you to the customers. We put their money to good use.”
The restaurant reopened Monday and was busy yesterday.
“It was like everybody was just happy to see the new facelift,” said Angela. “It makes me feel good that they want to come back and were waiting for us.”
There’s just one thing missing from the new look she said she’s got to fix: There used to be pictures of La Maddalena hanging on the walls.
“I’ve got to put them back up,” she said.
In other news related to the Red Bank pizza parade, Pazzo’s Coal-Fired Oven Restaurant is still under the mysterious brown paper veil that pending businesses put in their windows before opening, but the borough council approved a liquor license transfer to the West Front Street restaurant.
And on Broad Street, workers are plugging away at getting the enviro-pizza chain Pizza Fusion ready to go. The latest from the restaurant’s Twitter feed says fingers are crossed for a March 29 opening.