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Surviving the trip in Maplewood
RESTAURANTS • First Person
The old Arturo’s in downtown Maplewood wasn’t a particularly comfortable place to eat. It didn’t take reservations, wait times often exceeded an hour, and there was an awkward vestibule where the pervading vibe was “Is my table ready yet?” The space itself was charming, but cramped, and a bit of a fishbowl. And it was BYOB. And there was nothing for dessert.
It was worth the effort, though. The food was the best in this corner of New Jersey — expertly composed and consistently delicious pizzas, pastas, and vegetables, all incorporating seasonal ingredients, many cooked in a wood-fired oven.
In May, Arturo’s announced it was closing shop and moving into an old auto body shop across town, where it would join forces with its sister-bakery, The Bread Stand, to form a new, all-day joint called Artie’s. There ensued a fraught moment when it seemed like maybe this was the end of something great.
By June, though, Artie’s was up and running, serving excellent bread, pastries, and coffee in the morning, lunch in the afternoon, and dinner in the evening. The space is much bigger, shinier, and (mercifully) less charming, with a trio of glass garage doors framing the room. (Think original Barbuto meets elevated college-town brew pub.) Out front, there’s a patio with benches and scattered lawn chairs, where one can wait for their table, order a drink from the new bar menu, and watch people navigate the parking situation.
The pizza and pastas, even the delicate seasonal vegetables, have survived the trip intact. Close your eyes and you’re still in the old space downtown, savoring that hard-won corn pie and an order of cavatelli Siciliani as a waiting family of four stares you down from the vestibule. Except at Artie’s, you can relax, maybe even take a look at the new dessert menu. The olive oil cake, it’s a winner. –Josh Albertson
→ Artie's (Maplewood, N.J.) • 15 Newark Way • Still no resys.
FOUND Pro, Maplewood edition: A couple blocks from Artie’s and around the corner from the old Bread Stand space, the new Porta Rossa Pasta & Provisions is making hand-made pasta, sauces, sandwiches, salads, and gelato for takeout. Last week’s pitch-perfect lunch: a prosciutto and fig sandwich on focaccia with a panzanella salad on the side.