When Christopher Bezzone, Vincenzo Bernardo, and a silent partner took over Cafe Villa (now The Shop) in the Main Street Chatham (New Jersey) Shopping Center over a year ago, they wanted to raise the level of the food with the freshest ingredients possible while paying special attention to each and every detail.
“Why we are different at The Shop is that we are conscientious at our approach to our food. Yes, we’re a casual dining experience, quick serve. Yes, we are technically a pizzeria,” explained Bezzone, who is from Italian descent. “But we don’t look at it that way. We look at it as we are thoughtful on how we make our pizza, how we make our dough, what ingredients we buy, and what our approach is when we serve it. And we don’t just want to be another pizzeria. We want to be a restaurant-quality pizzeria.
“So, everything we do is thought out. How we place the dough, what flour we buy, the imported cheese we pick, the fresh homemade sauce and dough that we make here,” the New Vernon, N.J., native continued. “Everything is thought out, and thoughtfulness is what we want everyone to understand.”
Speaking of the flour The Shop uses to make its pizzas, it is called the Caputo 00, a top Italian-milled wheat flour made by the Naples-based company Antimo Caputo.
The Shop takes the Caputo 00 and spins and tosses it in the air to make the establishment’s signature pizza called the Main Street, a Sicilian-style (square) pizza crafted with fresh mozzarella, ma’s sauce, and basil, cooked in a black steel pan for extra tastiness. Nice touch, fellows.
The Prosciutto and Arugula square, made with prosciutto, arugula, marinated tomatoes, extra virgin oil, and shredded parmesan–is another scrumptious way to go.
But pizza is not the only mouth-worthy fare that The Shop offers. It also serves up mouthwatering pasta dishes and delicious sandwiches.
I enjoyed a hearty bowl of Rigatoni Vodka–fresh peas, aged parmesan, creamy vodka sauce, and extra virgin oil. The dish was on the money, as it delighted my tastebuds, and would make even my Mom proud to know that I am eating well in Chatham, N.J. Hey, who knew?
“We’re very happy with what we have right now,” Bezzone said. “We’ve tightened everything up, we made sure that we’ve put the right people in place, and the owners are coming more often to be able to be a part of the experience. But I think that when people do try our pizza, especially if they ordered it here, and get it nice and hot and fresh, our pastas are hot and fresh, we’re as good, if not better, than most people imagined.”
Bezzone pointed out that The Shop has an elegant backroom for private parties and fine dining in a comfortable setting.
So, why should Chatham area people of surrounding communities give The Shop a taste?
“We’re under new ownership, new management, new cook, and we ended up with better quality, and now we’re consistent in what we’re doing,” the Bernardsville, N.J., resident said. “We just need to get the word out.”
If things work out, Bezzone said he and his business parents would like to open up more pizzerias and franchise them out.
For a slice of pizza or one of its many pies, stop by The Shop at 465 Main Street, or make a dinner reservation at TheShopChatham.com or by calling 973.635.2757.
Additionally, you can also order online for pickup or through Doordash for delivery. The Shop is closed on Monday and Tuesday for now.
Please follow The Shop on Instagram @The_shopnj and on
– Jerry Del Priore