Back in April, local fave Alessio’s took to Instagram to share an uncharacteristically cryptic (and exciting) message. The post read “Coming Soon,” with a caption instructing locals to “start spreading the news.” Well, here we are, spreading the news: Alessio’s is making its way to The Heights, and will be soft opening up its second location this Friday, August 4th. The soft opening will continue through Sunday, August 6th from 8AM-3PM with a limited menu available. While Alessio’s is still hoping to keep some details under wraps, the team confirmed with The Hoboken Girl that the second outpost will offer up the same coffee, pizza, and gelato (as well as other fan-favored treats) that Hobokenites know and love. Read on to learn more about Alessio’s second location coming to Jersey City Heights.
Alessio’s in The Heights
The Alessio’s team shared with HG back in April that they had been toying with the idea of a second location for a while, one that would be a good fit for the Italian cafe’s “community-based concept.” Jersey City Heights felt like “a natural extension” for this Hoboken hot spot and it will officially be landing in the area this summer with a projected June opening. When we stopped in this morning to discuss the announcement, several other regulars were popping in to ask about the big news (and to get their Friday breakfast) — it’s safe to say, Alessio’s has succeeded in building that neighborhood go-to feel they set out to create.
Alessio’s location in The Heights will offer “all of [its] favorite products,” which local residents know is an impressive lineup of breakfast + lunch sandwiches, pizzas, and coffees. The team’s goal is to be a local go-to for the Jersey City Heights community, and given that it’s already become such to Hoboken in just three short years, we’re confident it will be.
This news comes after Alessio’s announced not one, but two kiosks in Pier A Park back in May.
The Journey to Opening Alessio’s
Luca Infantino, born and raised in Italy for 25 years, moved to the United States in 2011 to work for the Italian Embassy in conjunction with the United Nations in NYC. Initially, Luca lived in Weehawken but tells us fondly he “became a Hoboken resident by adoption.”
Not long after falling in love with Hoboken, he paved his way in the fashion industry for many years until he finally chose to pursue his passion for the food service industry. Quality food was always an interest and priority for Luca, even before opening a restaurant.
“I am not a chef but I enjoy being in the kitchen learning and paying attention to the quality and authenticity of the food we make. That is my mantra,” he told The Hoboken Girl in 2020.
With plenty of bustling towns to start a business, Luca was drawn to the familiarity of the Mile Square. “I am fascinated with Hoboken and the energy that this small city has. In Hoboken, I feel I am back in Italy, and I miss my country less when I am in Hoboken,” Luca shared nostalgically.
Alessio’s pizzeria and cafe was Luca’s initiation into the industry, but he was confident that it will become a staple in town. “This is my first time running a restaurant, but I had experience in the field in Italy where my friends run something similar.” Luca shared with us back in 2020, “I helped them a lot with operations, marketing, and more.”
The Name Alessio
Like his son who is “full of energy and vitality,” Luca felt having a restaurant was the same — so naturally, he chose the same name. “Having a restaurant is challenging and you need to treat it like a baby. That’s why having the name of my baby on the door gives me the motivation and the responsibility of always trying and doing my best for the restaurant.”
What separates Alessio’s from other pizzerias and cafes in town? The authentic Italian products and the real feel of an Italian cafe. “I am buying the best products on the market, more costly and with less margin, but I strongly believe that Hoboken residents are the kind of sophisticated customer that is looking for the real deal, the real quality, and the real authenticity,” he said in 2020. “I am proud to say I have the best coffee on the market, coming directly from Italy, a small Sicilian roastery.”
The Alessio’s Menu
Breakfast is available all day, with bagels sourced from a local bakery, egg sandwiches, omelets, and croissant sandwiches. If we’re being honest, the menu is quite impressive in its full capacity. Coffees including hot brew, iced coffee, espresso, frappes, cappuccinos, mochaccinos, macchiatos, and lattes are just a few of the drinks. Additionally, there is hot tea, smoothies, shakes, and hot chocolate.
On the food side, there are Italian croissants, muffins, banana nut bread, cookies, and waffles. Luca truly brought a taste of Italy to his Hoboken bakery by serving up traditional Italian pastries like bombolone (Italian doughnuts, mini chocolate bombolones, and sfogliatella aka lobster tail).
On the lunch side, the paninis are already a hit, and customers can build your own freshly-pressed panini in-store or online, or opt for a meatball parm sandwich, vegan burger, or the Alessio’s Burger — an 8 oz beef patty, lettuce, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, mortadella on ciabatta bread served with fries.
Luca recommends trying the breakfast sandwiches and paninis above all else. “I buy cold cuts and cheese from a high-end gourmet Italian food company called Ferrarini. With the help of a real Hoboken resident from Molfetta, we make our fresh mozzarella in-house. He has made mozzarella for the past 40 years at the most famous delis in Hoboken. We now have this person on the team, and I am very happy about it.”
American classics like chicken wings, fries, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and chicken fingers are available in addition to a few salad options including Caesar, Caprese, and a garden salad.
For an Italian eatery to be considered complete, pizza and gelato must be on the menu. Aside from the staple pizza pies such as plain cheese and pepperoni, there is Margherita, broccoli and sausage, veggie, white, buffalo, a meatball pie, roasted pork loin and artichoke, fried pizza — and even a Nutella pie. Sicilians, Calzones, and pasta dishes like baked ziti, lasagna, penne alla vodka, and gnocchi sorrentina (potato gnocchi made with fresh mozzarella, marinara, Parmigiano cheese cooked in the oven) are also available and not to be missed.
Last but certainly not least, the gelato is flown in from the Umbrian region’s capital Perugia, Italy, and is an absolute must-try. Tiramisu, hazelnut, Sicilian lemon, salted caramel, cherry vanilla, and Sicilian pistachio are among the selection, and if you’re in the mood for something more decadent, opt for the Affogato al Caffe (gelato flavor of your choice with an espresso shot, waffle crisp, and whipped cream) or Affogato alla Nutella (gelato flavor of your choice with Nutella and whipped cream). In the gluten-free department, Alessio’s even serves GF carrot cake.
Luca explained, “We aren’t too fancy like other places, as I like to focus more on the customer experience and the food, rather than the appearance,” noting that the atmosphere is more of a quick and cozy casual vibe that is “less than fancy,” as he puts it. But let us tell you that it is just as charming, airy, and well-designed as any small cafe in Italy.