This past May, a new restaurant called Mozzarella opened on Valley Street in South Orange.
Raul Elshereif, the owner of the restaurant, said that he and his team believe in only using the finest ingredients and transforming them into delicious dishes.
“We pride ourselves in working with local purveyors who source our produce and proteins,” Elshereif said.
After owning La Vera, which is also located on Valley Street, for nine years, Elshereif shared his reason for opening the new restaurant.
“I wanted to expand the menu beyond just a pizzeria,” Elshereif said. “Our old customers come to visit Mozzarella and love our food.”
Elshereif said that he and his team serve traditional Italian cuisine.
“However, we always enjoy spicing up the menu with chef specials that change on a week to week basis,” Elshereif said. “Our recipes come from our executive chef.”
He said that several Seton Hall students are employed at the restaurant.
“Because we only have a lunch shift from 11-5 p.m. and a dinner shift from 5-10 p.m., it is very manageable to work with student schedules,” Elshereif said. “We are very flexible in managing student scheduling. The students who work here really enjoy our work environment.”
Although Elshereif and his team take work seriously, they have a family environment.
“Much of our staff are friends outside of work because of it,” he said.
Daniella Corredor, a senior public relations major, has been working as a server since the end of this summer.
“I really enjoy the fast-paced environment,” she said. “We all get along very well.”
To recommend a specific item on the menu, she asks her customers what section they are focused on.
“The mozzarella sticks are amazing,” she said. “I also enjoy the penne vodka, sea bass and the pear chicken. My favorite pizza pie is the grandma pie. They also have great desserts.”
She enjoys the cannolis and the bomba, a chocolate ball with gelato inside.
“It is difficult to recommend a certain dish as each is very different,” Elshereif said. He said that the mozzarella sticks, the green apple salad, the mozzarella gourmet burger, pan-seared sea bass, wild mushroom ravioli and the square pizza are their customer favorites.
Mary Margaret Miller, a senior entrepreneurship and management major, said she has been to the Mozzarella a few times.
“I’m not too crazy about it,” she said. “I found their salads to be pretty good, but the pizza, not so much. I found it to be super gummy and the pepperoni did not taste right.”
Miller said she would love to try it out again, but she and her friends are hesitant to go back.
Hannah Curran, a senior secondary special education and history major, explained her experience with the restaurant.
“They have really good mozzarella sticks,” Curran said. “We ordered delivery; it’s pretty average and is about a 25 minute wait. The pizza was pretty good. I wouldn’t say it was the best I’ve ever had, but I would go back.”
Frank Drakeford, a senior interactive and multimedia major, said that he has not been to the restaurant, but he would like to go sometime in the future.
“I’m a big pizza fan,” Drakeford said. “I’m always looking forward to trying new versions of it.”
Alexa Coughlin can be reached at email@example.com.