A Chicken in Every Pot at La Rosa Chicken & Grill, The New Eatery in the Princeton Shopping Center
CHICKEN DELIGHT: “We cook to order, and everything is fresh. Nothing is frozen. Everything is prepared daily on-site.” Benny Umbra (left) and Chef Lazzaro Merone, owners of La Rosa Chicken & Grill in the Princeton Shopping Center, are about to enjoy a sampling of the eatery’s specialties: (top left) crispy chicken sandwich, with macaroni and cheese, and French fries; roasted chicken meal featuring garlic broccoli, string beans, and corn muffin; chicken sandwich with creamed spinach and fries; and chicken gorgonzola salad. All are customer favorites.
By Jean Stratton
No doubt about it! Chicken is an all-time favorite. Chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, chicken tenders, fried chicken, roast chicken — there is something for everyone!
And with some people cutting back on red meat, and others who don’t love fish, chicken is a favorite choice of those looking for healthy eating.
Enter La Rosa Chicken & Grill, just opened last May in the Princeton Shopping Center.
“Chicken is our specialty,” says Benny Umbra, partner and co-owner, with Chef Lazzaro Merone, of the new eatery
One of 15 franchises in New Jersey and New York, La Rosa Chicken & Grill has quickly become a favorite at its new Shopping Center location.
“We are very encouraged by the response,” reports Umbra. “People started coming in right away, and we already have repeat customers. It’s all ages, too, and lots of families. They come in for lunch, both to eat in or take out, and then stop in to take a meal home for dinner.”
Established by Vincenzo Pugliese in Marlboro in 1994, the company has always stressed down-to-earth healthy eating, focusing on quality ingredients, freshly prepared, with an attractive presentation, and friendly service.
La Rosa’s mission statement emphasizes its core values.
“A modern world eatery that stays true to old world traditions. We use only natural, antibiotic-free chicken, flavored in our signature herb marinade, making our chicken tender and juicy. Our side dishes are made from scratch, using fresh vegetables and local greens. La Rosa offers a line of food that is cooked in ovens, kettles, open fire grills, and rotisseries, letting all fats extract while retaining everything wholesome.
“By starting with only fresh ingredients and a preparation that meets our commitment to exceptional quality, we end up with a meal unsurpassed in its category. At La Rosa Chicken & Grill, you can be assured that you are getting a nutritionally well-balanced meal for your family.”
Customers will find choices for every taste and appetite: sandwiches, platters and bowls, salads and sides, and a whole chicken for a full meal.
Sandwiches include mild or spicy marinated grilled chicken, crispy tenders, and wraps. Also offered are Caesar, Buffalo, or burrito wraps, and three, four, or five-piece tenders.
Platters and bowls include mild or spicy Grilled Chicken Platter, La Rosa Bowl, and Burrito Bowl, all featuring a variety of chicken dishes and sides. Popular salads are the Chicken Mediterranean, Chicken Caesar, and Chicken Gorgonzola.
Chicken meals include a quarter, half, or whole chicken, all white or all dark meat. One whole chicken family meal also offers four sides and three corn muffins.
Choices of sides include macaroni and cheese, rice pilaf, garlic broccoli, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, sweet mashed potatoes, garlic string beans, and La Rosa’s signature French fries.
Combo meals include fries, fountain sodas, or bottled water. It can all be topped off with one or more of the restaurant’s popular triple chocolate cookies.
Kids meals are also available, including the signature macaroni and cheese with corn muffin and beverage (apple juice, bottled water, or fountain drink), or the popular grilled or crispy chicken tenders.
Offering quality food at reasonable prices is an important priority of La Rosa, points out Umbra. “We offer quality food at affordable prices. People love our chicken. It is so popular. Also, our signature fries are a big favorite, as is the macaroni and cheese. And it all comes with friendly and quick service.”
Sandwiches start at $5.49, platters at $9.99, sandwiches at $9.49. A half chicken is $8 (with sides and muffin $12.25), and a whole chicken family meal is $25.99. Kids Meals are from $4.99.
“I am an accountant by trade,” Umbra continues, “but I always wanted to have a restaurant and be in the food business.” In addition to the Princeton location, he also owns a La Rosa eatery in Hazlet and another soon-to-open in Randolph.
Providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere is another key to La Rosa’s success, he believes. “We want people to feel relaxed and comfortable here. We give them a warm welcome. Also, we always have the theme of our decor relating to the local area, with artwork on the wall, and we also include a photo of a vintage lunch sign from a friendly 1930s eatery.”
The Princeton La Rosa features an informal dining setting with tables, booths, and banquette. Fifty customers can be seated inside, and 25 outdoors.
Catering is also an important part of the business, points out Umbra. “We do all kinds and sizes of events, including corporate lunches. We recently had an event at a residence, and provided 500 sandwiches, as well as platters and bowls.”
He is delighted with the Princeton Shopping Center location. “We definitely wanted to be in Princeton, and the Shopping Center is great,” he reports. “It’s convenient, the parking is easy, and we’re right next to Dunkin’ Donuts. We have both courtyard and street entrances. We have also had a great welcome from the other merchants.”
He looks forward to a long and congenial relationship with customers and with the Princeton community.
“I enjoy satisfying the customers and seeing them enjoy eating. They are really happy to come here. We are also a great place for kids’ sports teams to come after their games. We very much look forward to being a real part of the community here, and building the La Rosa brand. We are also looking forward to adding to our staff. This is a great place to work. We are definitely here to stay!”
La Rosa Chicken & Grill is open seven days, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Delivery service is available via DoorDash and GrubHub, and also via La Rosa’s own app, which customers can download for extra rewards.
For more information, call (609) 718-3111, or visit the website at larosagrill.com.