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Luchento's in Millstone Closed?

I have heard that Lucento's on Rt. 33 has shut it's doors. I tried calling for a friend who wanted to go there for his Birthday and there has definitely been no answer during businesss hours for the last few days. The rumor mill says...it's done.

I'm guessing the new owners didn't have any luck making it work.

If this is true or anyone knows anything for certain please post.

In addition...what kind of place would you like to see replace Luchento's? (If it is in fact closed for good.)

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  1. They are done. A friend of mine works there and got a tex message saying, dont came to work, we are no longer open. Nice way to find out you lost you job!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Rev Tim

      my husband and father in law tried to go there last night and it was closed tight. when I called I got voice mail that said closed for renovations for several months. I have high doubts about that.

      1. re: mbw1024

        Someone told me that Carrabas is going in that space

    2. Something, anything that is NOT Italian!! My preference would be a French bistro. Delicious food, of course!

      1 Reply
      1. re: RGR

        Hey, RGR, have you been drinking? haa haa!! I am only kidding! (Besides, I know you don't drink.) French Bistro, I wish, too!! Would be sooooo nice!!! and so delish!

      2. My vote take that restaurant - reconfigure - create some al fresco space and go with a Amuse-Bouche, Small Plate, Nibble, Nosh, Tapas, kind of a place. Perfect menu, dim lighting, private high back cozy seating, non pretentious, with wine flights. A place you could go talk, eat, and sip all night in horse town USA.

        Carrabas yeah that sounds about right for NJ!

        5 Replies
        1. re: shabbystorm

          I doubt you will see a bistro of any kind...that space screams SENIORS looking for early Bird Specials....which is what surrounds the area so many 55+ communities are everywhere nearby.

          1. re: Tapas52

            My wife and I passed by tonight on the way home from Freehold Mall, around 5:00pm, and they were deserted. By the time I decided to see what was up, I passed the driveway. I'll pass in a few days and let you all know. They seemed to have a handwritten sign on the front door.

            1. re: jethro

              The sign says "Closed for Renovations". I drove by one day last week and there were several contractor's vans and trucks in the lot with a few people standing around. Don't know if they were checking out the job or just had planned to meet for lunch and were discussing "Well, now where do we go?" The vehicles were gone an few hours later, much earlier than typical "quitting time".

              (Note that, IIRC, both the local Mom's Peppermill and the Country Diner had "Closed for Renovations" signs put up when they closed in the last year or so, and neither ever has re-opened or even shown any evidence of work. Don't know if it's a case of unrealistic optimism of the owners, unable to get financing or some sort of tax/unemployment insurance/real estate technicality, scam or what...).

              1. re: JessKidden

                Probably not a scam...the time-frame seems short enough that they are just forming their plan...whatever that may be. I would be surprised to see them re-opening without renovating though...they attempted to run it as Luchento's but were smart enough to realize that no-one was buying into it.

                Now tthey have to start over as something else...the damage is done.

                1. re: stuffed_belly

                  Noticed one of those portable temporary signs (on wheels) in front the other day also proclaiming "Closed for Renovations" so the fact that they've taken that step implies they do plan to reopen. Still haven't seen much action, tho'.

                  I think I only ate there once after the ownership change, and I didn't really notice a lot of difference. Same warm small load of bread, same spaghetti w/ white clam sauce that I remembered. Something was different, just can't recall what it was- the salad, maybe?

        2. i'm pretty sure they are going to re-open. i was very angry after a new year's eve dinner - hadn't been there in quite awhile but had a serious hankering for their gumbo soup and chicken murphy and yummy salad - after ordering we were shocked to find that everything was different - my main issue was either change the name of the restaurant or clearly post UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT. don't think you can keep the name of a restaurant institution of 15+ years and then think you can do whatever you want without letting the regulars know about it before they place their order. i was pissed. ANYWAY - what I want to know is - IS THERE ANYWAY TO GET OUR HANDS ON THE ORIGINAL LUCHENTOS CHICKEN MURPHY RECIPE? ALSO, DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE NAME OF THEIR SISTER RESTAURANT? or did they sell that one too? Thanks Chowhounds!

          3 Replies
          1. re: suebush

            Kristina Luchento's, located in Long Branch. No idea if it's still open and, if so, who owns it.

            Note: I was not a fan of Luchento's.

            1. re: suebush

              Kristina's closed a long time ago

              1. re: suebush

                I have their original Chicken Murphy recipe... I used to travel far to go there to get the chicken murphy, and finally got it out of my regular waitress about a month before the original owners sold....(I did not know they were selling) I went back a month later, got the chicken murphy to go since I was in the area. Brought it home, and realized it wasn't the same at all. They even added Sausage to it (which I don't eat) I was pissed and called the restaurant, and they explained they are NOT the original owners. Just like a previous post on here, they seemed to be pretending that nothing changed. No big sign saying new ownership or new management / new chef, nothing.... I vowed never to go back. I was so dissapointed. If you want the recipe, email me to kennyjacob@yahoo.com I am happy to send it to you, although unless you have a restaurant grade burner, it's not going to come out quite the same... But i get it pretty close... I make it for guests regularly and they all love it! Kenny

              2. Pass by here on my way home. Yesterday, there were stacks of red chairs outside and window screens/panes leaning against the building?!?
                Probably means nothing..

                2 Replies
                1. re: shabbystorm

                  Lots of action the last week or so at Luchento's. 2 or 3 large (full size) dumpsters have been filled and hauled away, so it appears that the interior has been gutted. Some of the windows up front have been removed, but that may just have been for easy removal of destruction material.

                  1. re: JessKidden

                    something is coming soon in that space for sure?

                2. New signage up today - (paraphrasing):

                  Re-opening this summer
                  Same original menu
                  Great new look

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: JessKidden

                    Wonder, was it sold again or if they are keeping true to this 2008 real estate press release.

                    1. re: JessKidden

                      i guess it is not re-opening anytime soon.
                      They stripped out all the siding to it's wood frame. Looks like they are doing some major renovation.

                      1. re: yCf

                        Hopefully theu will also redo that horrendous menu!

                        1. re: yCf

                          I passed by yesterday and they had 3-4 dumpsters outside, were putting up new roofing, walls, etc., so they are indeed going to reopen.

                          1. re: jethro

                            Altho', this past week or so was the first work being done on the place since mid-summer, so perhaps they're having structural, contractor and/or money problems. They certainly are off schedule, based on the sign they put up a few months after closing that said "Re-opening this summer".

                            (A gift certificate we were given has expired since they've been closed...now, how, legally, a gift certificate that was paid for with US currency "expires" I'll never understand. Did the cash they were given "expire"?).

                            1. re: JessKidden

                              A gift certificate we were given has expired since they've been closed...now, how, legally, a gift certificate that was paid for with US currency "expires" I'll never understand. Did the cash they were given "expire"?).

                              You have two years in New Jersey to use the certificate from date of purchase, but in this case, you are probably out of luck regardless......the new owners probably formed a new company and are under no obligation to assume the certificate's value issued by the former Luchento's. The certificate expired when Luchento's ceased operating and sold.

                              1. re: fourunder

                                I'm willing to bet, that given a nice call to the manager, unless it's a 500$ gift certificate, they will be willing to do 'something' for you.

                                Things expire, and I wouldn't hold it against them if they didn't do 'something', but I'm sure they will.

                              2. re: JessKidden

                                Sorry, my parenthesized comments re: the gift certificate was only meant to explain why I'm paying attention- wasn't looking for sympathy <g>. I used one of the certificates AFTER the new owners took over, before they shut down for renovations, so the change of ownership was not a problem.

                                As for "things" expiring, as I noted- US currency doesn't "expire" (indeed, put it in the right bank these days and one might even get .5% interest!) and the concept that one "forfeits" money by buying a gift certiicate or it becomes a charitable donation after a certain point might sit well with some, but not me. Maybe I'll got see if they'll trade me a couple of sheets of plywood for my $50 certificate...<g>

                                1. re: JessKidden

                                  Wow! you get that much (.5%) interest at your bank - lucky you. BTW gift certificates are bad news in general as about 20% never get cashed in no matter what the product or service. They are good for one group only and that is the merchants.

                                  1. re: JerzeyShore

                                    I agree with your comments somewhat, however, who is really to blame......certainly not either the provider or the issuer of the gift certificate.

                        2. I now they are in the process of putting a new sign up. While they are at it, I think they should change the name as well. Not like Luchento's was like a Daniel or EMP in my book. I think they should change that name, and hopefully that dreadful menu, too!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Angelina

                            Drove by this morning....I either never noticed it or it's new ...but the sign reads... now hiring

                          2. I just drove past there yesterday, and they are working and renovating the whole building. Should be opening again soon.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: milliena

                              There's now an addition to the sign saying the "Chef Tom Luchento" is returning. Don't know if that's Tom, or Tommy - haven't seen either of them in 15 years (wasn't a fan once Tommy took over and tried his hand at Cajun and Creole) but if one of them is back as chef, it's possible that the Luchentos held their own paper when they sold and now have the restaurant back. If it's a return to the good, old-fashioned Southern Italian comfort food of 15 years ago, I applaud its phoenix-like rebirth.

                              1. re: eapter

                                We passed by yesterday. The rebuilding, at least on the exterior, looks complete. Didn't appear to be open for business, though.


                                1. re: RGR

                                  I passed by there yesterday as well. Seems that there will also be a full service bakery on premises.

                                  1. re: Nursemegg

                                    yeah, I drove by last night and there are new umbrellas by tables outside; certainly seems something is happening soon.

                            2. I spoke with Tommy senior last week. He said the restaurant should be opening next week with Tom junior as the chef. I have no idea who now owns it.

                              1. Luchento's reopens tomorrow - Wednesday, 8/11 with the original chef - Tommy Luchento!