12 Bloomfield Avenue, Belleville
Hours: Daily, 5–10 pm; closed Tuesdays and holidays.
Style: The dark wood paneling, linoleum floors and dim, yellowish lights suggest a 1960s basement. The Godfather would feel right at home.
Don’t Miss: The signature dish, Chicken Savoy, originated here in 1967 by chef Carlo “Stretch” Verdicchio. Chunks of succulent, herb-crusted chicken are served on the bone, glistening with a pungent wine-and-vinegar sauce ($14.95). When ordering Chicken Murphy—a heaping plate of chicken sautéed with onions, peppers and mushooms—specify hot or sweet; potatoes added on request ($17.50). Pasta favorites include Spaghetti Beeps, a red-sauce dish topped with generous hunks of shrimp ($17.95); and the deliciously rich Cavatelli Pot Cheese ($13.95). The limited menu includes several shrimp dishes, such as scampi ($13.95) and oreganato ($14.25). All entrées are served à la carte and can be ordered family style. Each comes with a green salad with oil and vinegar and a basket of traditional Italian bread from Nicolo’s in Montclair. Ordering red wine? Don’t be shocked when the waiter asks if you’d like it chilled. Dessert? Fuhgeddabout it. There are none on the menu (but you can bring your own).
Heads Up: Belmont Tavern epitomizes old school. They don’t take reservations and accept only cash. There is seating for 55 at 15 closely packed tables, so be prepared to wait at the bar on weekend nights. Once seated, the waitstaff is legendarily brusque—unless you happen to be a regular.
The Scoop: The Belmont, founded in the 1920s, moved to its current location in 1965. Chef Stretch died decades ago, but his Chicken Savoy recipe is still in use—and remains a well-guarded secret. Celebrity spottings are not uncommon. Clint Eastwood recently dropped in with the cast of his upcoming Jersey Boys movie.Click here to leave a comment
What are Quick Bites? Short takes on casual, affordable dining.
- Cuisine Type:European - Italian
- Price Range:Moderate