New Beniamino’s Cucina & Pizza Restaurant Offers Wide Range of Italian Specialties
ITALIAN TRADITIONS: “We are family-owned and operated, and we want to offer people a memorable dining experience. Everything is high quality, and we have special family recipes and the freshest ingredients.” Beniamino (left) and Alison Iovine, owners of Beniamino’s Cucina & Pizza, are shown with pizza expert Alex Iovine, known as the “Pizza Man.”
By Jean Stratton
Italian food is a favorite — and surely not just in Italy! It is on everyone’s menu, and whether it is served at home or in a restaurant it is always welcome.
“People love Italian food because it tastes good and is comforting. It’s ‘feel good’ food!” says Alison Iovine, co-owner and front end manager of Beniamino’s Cucina & Pizza. “It is also healthy, with fresh ingredients, focusing on the Mediterranean diet, with lots of vegetables. We are so happy to share our great menu with customers.”
And, lots of enthusiastic customers are enjoying lunch and dinner at the new restaurant, which opened at the Montgomery Center, 1325 Route 206 North, in July.
Owners Beniamino and Alison Iovine are delighted with the response. “We are very encouraged, and so pleased that everyone is enjoying coming here. We already have lots of regular and repeat customers. Once they come in, they always come back!”
Chef/owner Beniamino (Benny) has a long history in the restaurant business. Born in Italy, he and his family came to the U.S., settling in New Brunswick, where his father opened a restaurant.
“I really grew up in the business,” he explains. “At one point, I had my own restaurant in Brielle, and then I was a chef at Antimo’s, my brother’s restaurant in Hopewell.”
Deciding to open his own establishment, he found the location in the Montgomery Center to be a perfect fit. “It’s a great place, very convenient parking, and a very friendly location,” he points out. “All the businesses support each other. Everyone is very friendly and helpful.
“We are getting customers from Princeton and all around the area. They are all ages, and lots of families enjoy coming here.”
Beniamino’s is open for lunch and dinner, and also offers catering and takeout, with area delivery available. Its spacious setting, with seating for 84, is also suitable for private parties.
Its Italian-influenced decor offers an informal atmosphere, conducive to relaxed and un-rushed dining. Artwork includes scenes of Naples and other Italian favorites, as well as creations from local artists.
It is a BYOB establishment, and Benny Iovine reports that many customers enjoy bringing wine to have with dinner. He also notes that Steele’s Wine Cellar is just next door.
The menu offers items to appeal to everyone’s taste, including appetizers, soups and salads, entrees, and desserts. Many homemade and family recipes highlight the choices.
“We are known for our homemade pasta and handmade ravioli,” says Iovine. “Our homemade meatballs and sausage are another specialty, as is our New York-style Brooklyn pizza. Special recipes include my mom’s tomato sauce and meatballs, and all our ingredients are the highest quality, including Bell and Evans chicken and the best seafood.”
Customers like everything, he reports, with the homemade ravioli choices being special favorites. They also enjoy Chicken or Veal Marsala, with portobello mushrooms and brown gravy in a marsala wine, and Chicken or Veal Francese, egg-battered in a lemon white wine sauce.
The traditional Eggplant Rollatini, eggplant stuffed with spinach and ricotta, topped with mozarella, is in demand, as is the Shrimp Scampi, which is offered as an appetizer or entree.
Popular appetizers include Fried Calamari/Buffalo Fried Calamari; Meatballs and Ricotta; and always, the irresistible garlic knots.
Slice or Pie
Arugula Salad, with shaved parmigiana, olive oil and lemon wedges is a favorite, as is Feta Cheese and Sliced Apple Salad. Mediterranean, with mixed greens, Kalamata olives, green peppers, mushrooms, tomato, red onion, and fresh mozzarella, dressed with balsamic glaze, is one of the most popular salads.
Of course, pizzas are everyone’s favorite, and Beniamino’s has a choice for everyone. Margherita, with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil, is high on the list, and the Veggie Pizza, with spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, onions, garlic, and cheese is another big seller.
Benny’s Brooklyn Pizza, with sausage, plum tomato sauce, pecorino, and mozzarella, has many fans too. Pizza choices abound, and whether it’s a slice or a pie, it is definitely bound to please the palate.
The traditional Italian favorites, Calzone and Stromboli, are available, and, if customers are not in the mood for Italian, the menu also includes a variety of Boars Head cold subs, wraps, hamburgers, and cheesesteak.
A Kid’s Menu offers a variety of Italian choices as well as chicken fingers and french fries.
Favorite desserts are the homemade Tiramisu and Cannoli, and the Nutella Pizza. A full array of beverages includes sodas, coffee, espresso, tea, and flavored Pellegrino.
Prices are $10 and up for dinners, $10 and up for pizza, sandwiches from $8, and desserts from $3.
The Iovines are delighted that their restaurant has stuck a chord with customers from around the area, and they look forward to introducing even more people to their special eatery.
“This is a new adventure for us,” says Alison Iovine. “I like it when the restaurant is full, and everyone is enjoying the food and having a great time. We enjoy creating a nice welcoming atmosphere and a special dining experience for everyone. We are excited and happy!”
Contributing to the community is also an important priority, adds Benny Iovine. “We look forward to being involved with the community, and we support local charities and organizations, including school groups and teams. We love being around the people, and it’s fun to have our own place to share with them. And it’s special to have my sons Alex and Benny Jr. involved in the business too.”
Beniamino’s is open daily: Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (609) 252-0030. Website: beniaminoscucina.com.