NUTLEY / MONTCLAIR, NJ — After the third time Napoli Trattoria & Pizzeria in Nutley was flooded out, the restaurant had no choice but to relocate.
The Italian restaurant, owned by Amy and Phil Arito, was inundated with water when the remnants of Hurricane Ida blew through New Jersey in September, leaving the building untenable and unable to be fixed. It was the third time they’d had water in the restaurant, though never before to that extent; the restaurant was also flooded once in July and once in 2018.
“The second one wasn’t that bad, but the third one did it in,” Amy Arito said in a phone interview with the Nutley Journal on Nov. 15. “It was coming in through the basement and in the back. I wasn’t there, but my husband and my mother-in-law had to be rescued by the fire department.”
The water was up to 6-foot-tall Phil Arito’s waist. There was no way the restaurant would be able to open for regular operations the next day.
“The floor had to be ripped up,” Amy Arito said. “You could smell it, and there was probably mold. The landlord didn’t want to work with us, so we had to relocate.”
Napoli Trattoria is now located in Montclair, occupying the site of a former restaurant. The owners tried to stay in Nutley but couldn’t find a space that would work for them.
“We tried looking everywhere in Nutley, but there was nothing available,” Amy Arito said.
Despite the move, the Nutley community hasn’t abandoned Napoli Trattoria. Before it became clear that the restaurant would have to leave town, the Nutley Fire Department returned to the building to bail the water out, and lent wet vacuums and fans to the Aritos to deal with the flooding. Other restaurants stored Napoli Trattoria’s food and supplies in their refrigerators so they wouldn’t expire.
Now that the Aritos have settled into their new restaurant space in Montclair, the Nutley crowd of regulars have made the short trip to the neighboring town.
“They’re still coming back,” Amy Arito said. “I have customers who have reached out and asked if we’re still delivering for Christmas. Even though we moved, we’re still looking forward to seeing everyone.”
Napoli Trattoria is now located at 11 Park St. in Montclair. A menu and more information can be found at www.napolitrattoria.com.
Photos Courtesy of Amy Arita