Molto Bene to Reopen in Cranbury
After Hurricane Irene devastated the restaurant, owners say they are hoping to open in a new location mid-November.
Molto Bene is recovering from Hurricane Irene and reopening at a new location on Main Street in Cranbury.
“We didn’t want to stay in the same location because of safety,” said Val Adamo, who owns Molto Bene with her husband, Peter Adamo. She said they did not have flood insurance because they were not in a designated flood zone.
They received a loan through the Small Business Administration that helped get them back on their feet, Val Adamo said.
“If it wasn’t for them [the SBA] we probably wouldn’t be here,” she said.
The new location, housed in the former Hot Wok Café, will seat 35 to 40 people, with more tables outside during nice weather, and has ample parking, Adamo said.
The couple wanted to stay in the area, and explored other options in Hightstown but those did not work out because there wasn’t a kitchen.
“We always loved main streets, little towns and that’s reason why we even picked Hightstown at the beginning because it has a character of a main street,” Adamo said.
Co-owner and Chef Peter Adamo and Sous Chef Rob Stephan will be serving up a cichhetti menu, which is an Italian word for tapas. Any of these dishes can be made into a larger dinner portion, giving patrons the option of choosing either size, Val Adamo said.
“We’re excited. We’re very, very excited,” Adamo said.
After Peddie Lake crested during Hurricane Irene, five to six feet of water rushed through the restaurant, tearing it apart.
“The worst part was that one of the windows of the door broke, so it was like a river going through, the whole lake was going through the store,” Adamo said.
After the storm passed they found everything from chairs and tables strewn across the restaurant, to one of their stuffed animal monkeys lying across a table on its back.
Volunteers immediately stepped up and helped save salvageable items, throw out everything that could not be kept and clean Molto Bene up.
Some of the harder things for Adamo to throw out included paintings they brought back from Italy, imported Prosciutto and pastas, and many different types of cheeses, she said. All of the chairs also had to be thrown out because the contaminated water soaked through the foam on the seats.
Adamo said they could not thank the 20 to 30 volunteers enough.
“I think I can speak for the three of us that, without them, it would have taken longer for us to be back up,” Adamo said. “It gave us hope. A hope that we were doing something good and that we really meant something to a community.”
Adamo said they are hoping to open at the new location in mid-November.