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Rutherford's Slice Of Italy Found At Matera's On Park

Matera's On Park Co-Owner Michael Finan with a plate of fresh samples.
Matera's On Park Co-Owner Michael Finan with a plate of fresh samples. Photo Credit: Arthur Augustyn
Three different types of bread on the left, an assortment of meats, cheeses and vegetables on the right.
Three different types of bread on the left, an assortment of meats, cheeses and vegetables on the right. Photo Credit: Arthur Augustyn
Matera's On Park's Co-Owners Mark Forte, right, and Michael Finan, second from right.
Matera's On Park's Co-Owners Mark Forte, right, and Michael Finan, second from right. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Janis Borroto

RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The cozy interior along with the authentic food of Matera's On Park is meant to create a homey Italian atmosphere for Rutherford's Park Avenue.

"Everything we make is like Mom’s," Chef and General Manager Erica Russo said.

"You sit at the table and you don’t feel like you’re out having lunch, it’s like you’re sitting at home and your mom put a plate in front of you."

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Hoping to bring the culture, food and feel of the Italian city co-owner Mark Forte's family originated from, the business was fittingly named Matera's On Park.

"We didn’t want any of that modern look, we wanted that old Matera feel. Like you’re taking a step toward Italy," Co-Owner Michael Finan said.

Matera's prides itself on importing ingredients from Italy and makes all of its dishes locally on-site. Including batches of fresh mozzarella cheese multiple times a day.

Many of the items on the menu are authentic recipes passed down through generations of Italian families. Such as the Pasta Fagioli which originates from Forte's great-grandmother who lived in Matera, Italy.

The Italian market likes to try new things, such as a spin on the popular chicken parmesan sandwich, Chicken Vodka Parm, which substitutes red sauce for vodka sauce. Russo estimated the Chicken Vodka Parm was one of the business' most popular items.

They also refine recipes like the Broccoli Rabe Orecchiette Italian Sausage, an oil and garlic based dish not typically seen in Italian eateries in America.

Russo said that some customers go to Matera's for advice on recipes they heard about. She'll field questions about certain ingredients customers may be unaware of.

"Not everybody understands what mascarpone cheese is, but it's the base of tiramisu," Russo said as an example of the types of questions asked.

The communication about how to make certain dishes is central to Matera's view on Italian food.

"Family is the Italian way. It’s a communal process," Russo said.

Matera's On Park is located on 72 Park Avenue in Rutherford.

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