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Cafe Primavera (Somerset, NJ) - under new management

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We've been going to Cafe Primavera for years and tonight we discovered that it is under new management. In addition to being under new management, it is no longer BYOB and alcohol is not being used in the cooking. Pork and veal have also been removed from the menu due to the religious beliefs of the new owner.

That said, the kitchen staff has been retained and the food seemed generally they same, with a few exceptions. I'm sure we'll go back but the change in the BYOB policy is really a disappointment because we absolutely loved pairing the food with wines from our collection.

We also found out that the name is going to be changing soon and dry aged steaks will be added to the menu within the next week or so, once the first round of steaks has completely their aging process. I'm interested in checking this out but again, and not to sound like an alcoholic, the restriction on drinking is a bit of a let down.

Any other experiences since the change?

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  1. Guess I won't be going back there.
    I don't really eat a lot of veal, but not having any pork dishes on the menu is a total deal breaker for me since I am not big on beef (I'm convinced pork is healthier anyway).
    And the BYOB policy...what's up with that?

    I wish the new owners luck, but they sound a bit too closed minded for my tastes.
    Too bad. It _was_ a nice place to go.
    I'm sure the new owners will find a clientele though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: The Professor

      They're keeping the pasta dishes, for what it's worth. My understanding was that any alcohol is against the owner's beliefs so he doesn't want it being consumed in the restaurant. Wine, Italian food, and steaks all seem to go hand and hand so this is an unusual business model in my opinion, but as you said, I'm sure there is a clientele that will be interested in it. I like a good steak so I'm willing to go back once they are on the menu...perhaps with a flask hidden in my purse. :P

      1. re: scarletfan

        "...perhaps with a flask hidden in my purse..."

        Now THAT's the spirit.
        _Exactly_ what I would do.
        The 'no pork' policy still bums me out though...

        1. re: The Professor

          That really is too bad. I have enjoyed going to Cafe Primavera for over 15 years. since Halal is not part of my eating repertoire I will have to pass on ever going back to this establishment.

    2. just go right across the street to meolas- quality food and byob. the chef is very accomodating and will make anything off the menu

      2 Replies
      1. re: p314n

        We've been disappointed with Meola's in the past but we'll give them another try. I haven't been to Vincenzo's or Carpaccio in years but we'll probably audition them as well. I like having an old standby Italian restaurant nearby.

        1. re: scarletfan

          I still love Vincenzo's. You might also like Girasole in Bound Brook which is a BYOB.

      2. Like you,we've been going to Primavera for years. The fact that they're now Halal isn't in itself bad, but the dishes I like are no longer available. Does anyone have a suggestion for a down-home, low-key Italian place not Meola's)? Please help----live in HP but will travel for good food.

        3 Replies
        1. re: tovasmom

          If you are willing to travel try:

          Ciros Pizza Cafe
          718-605-0620
          862 Huguenot Ave
          Staten Island, NY 10312

          Known for their pizza but also some of the best down home Italian dishes you will find.
          Inexpensive and family friendly - you can't go wrong. We travel from the Jersey shore to eat there.

          1. re: tovasmom

            since meola's has closed, we have enjoyed cafe picasso in somerville. excellent and unique pairings in their pasta dishes

            1. re: tovasmom

              Have you tried Aposto in HP? Someone recommended it to me as an alternative but I haven't been able to try it yet.

            2. Just curious if you know what happened to the original owner. While I didn't know his name, the older gentleman that ran the place was always so nice and friendly -although he seemed like a tough boss. Just curious if anything happened or if he decided to retire.

              1. A friend of mine dined there in December and both the new owner and the original owner (the bald-headed gentleman) were there greeting patrons. The original owner told my friend that he was going to stay in the area but decided to retire because the restaurant had been losing money for the last year or so. The charge for his meal was posted to his credit card as “Rooqs Steakhouse.”

                2 Replies
                1. re: Curlz

                  >>The charge for his meal was posted to his credit card as “Rooqs Steakhouse.”<<

                  Isn't that the restaurant's new name? They advertise as New Jersey's first halal steakhouse.

                  1. re: ambrose

                    I think so, yes--but it was a bit odd when it happened in December, when the name was still Cafe Primavera. He had been going there for years and years.

                2. I just wanted to inform people that ROOQ'S STEAKHOUSE has changed its policy of BYOB. They are now allowing BYOB. Please spreasd the word accordingly.