What if I told you there was a restaurant – actually, two in fact – where you could go and dine in comfort and style, and I was definite that your favorite entrée choice would be on the menu – and affordable? And both restaurants were within twenty minutes of each other.
Would you make the trek?
Banchetto Feast, the brainchild of owners David Alvarez and Edgar Almeida, has two locations: one in Nanuet Mall (845-624-3070) in Nanuet, New York, the other, a BYOB, on Center Avenue in Westwood, New Jersey (201-497-6330).
The Nanuet Mall restaurant has three separate dining areas, a sleek bar with a banquette, and is conveniently located right off of Route 59.
The story of the Banchetto Feast origin is interesting. Edgar Almeida explains. "I was in the food industry at age 16. I had vending trucks. I really wasn't into school, so I met someone who had a route and picked his brain, and bought a route, negotiating it without my parents knowing about it." The original was in Port Newark, but over time, business grew to more than one truck and one location, as contracts were purchased, and Almeida's business spread to major locales like airports.
Then came 9/11. "The business suffered," claims Almeida.
About this same time, David Alvarez and his brother Ivan were working on a restaurant concept of their own. Ivan introduced Edgar (who was considering parting with his vending truck biz) to David, and a coffee meeting at Starbucks ensued.
Goodbye food trucks, hello Banchetto Feast.
The varied menu has the input of both owners. "It's Italian American cuisine," says Almeida, who is Portuguese. "I was always fascinated with Italian cuisine. We wanted to touch everybody. There's something for everyone on our menu."
He fibs not. I was amazed by the various – no, abundance – of choices. First, there are the platters to go, which can satisfy 5 – 7 people, with starters, salads, and entrees of all sorts covered. Salad pizza? It's on the menu, in addition to gourmet pizzas. Also available are ciabatta heroes, wraps, ½ pound black angus burgers, pasta al dente (no other way to have it), chicken, steak, veal and seafood entrees, soups and homemade deserts. There are also daily lunch and dinner specials, and a Bambino Menu for children under 12.
"One thing David and I want is you to have a nice meal at a reasonable – no, make that a very reasonable – price." As for difference in locations? "The mall really has established community clientele, including foot traffic. It's a nice destination point, but then again, so is the Westwood location."
And when it comes to returning customers during these rough economic times, Edgar Almeida knows why. "We (Banchetto Feast) definitely have the personal touch. The key is showing appreciation to the customers and, as far as the food, the food speaks for itself."
He then finishes while smiling, "I really love this place."