Talent on the Rise: Viaggio Chef Robbie Felice

At 26, Robbie Felice has shown the talent, work ethic and team-building attitude it takes to succeed in a state awash in Italian restaurants.

Viaggio chef Robbie Felice.
Viaggio chef Robbie Felice.
Photo by Signe Birck

When he began washing dishes in his father’s Parsippany restaurant in his early teens, Robbie Felice dreamed of making it to the exalted status of line cook. He eventually did that, got a CIA degree, worked for Mario Batali, spent time in Italy and kept checking off ever-larger dreams: sous chef, chef de cuisine. Exactly a year ago, he checked off the biggie: opening his own restaurant, Viaggio, in Wayne.

“It never gets easier,” he says with a laugh. At 26, Felice has shown the talent, work ethic and team-building attitude it takes to succeed in a state awash in Italian restaurants. Foodies flock to his BYO for his Chef’s Bar tasting menus. His house-made pastas and salumi are deft and luscious, and already there are dishes he can’t take off “without risking death threats”: calamari fritti with lemon butter, charred octopus with apricot mostarda, branzino with fregola and olives. 1055 Hamburg Turnpike, 973-706-7277.

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