Home Food + Drink Cafe Michelina: Hoboken’s Authentic {+ Welcoming} Italian Eatery

Cafe Michelina: Hoboken’s Authentic {+ Welcoming} Italian Eatery

by Danielle Lynch
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When Pietro Vicari came to the US from Sicily in 1978, he could only dream of the life and opportunities that he would be blessed with. He built a life here, wearing his heart on his sleeves all while keeping his traditions {and recipes} from Italy alive. Pietro met his wife, Maria, who was from Molfetta, right here in Jersey. They took a leap of faith, opening up Cafe Michelina, located at 423 Bloomfield Street, in 1994 but knew it was the right thing to do. Pietro remembers Maria telling him, “If you’re going to open up a restaurant, you have to do it in Hoboken.” Four children, and one restaurant later, Pietro is proud of the life he has built and the legacy that is Café Michelina. Read on to learn all about Cafe Michelina, one of Hoboken’s authentic + welcoming Italian eatery.

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Cafe Michelina’s History

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Cafe Michelina {on the corner of 5th and Bloomfield} is a family-owned, Italian restaurant, run by father and son duo, Pietro and Salvatore Vicari. The two work hand in hand and have kept the restaurant running for the last 25 years.

“I grew up in this business. My dad would take me to work when I was ten and I learned the ins and outs that way,” Salvatore said. Salvatore knew that this was what he wanted to do and has recently taken over the operations at Cafe Michelina. And, he’s a chef too. At just 29 years old, he keeps the authenticity of the restaurant intact while attending to the new generation of guests that come in regularly.

See More: Augustino’s: Hoboken’s Legendary Italian Eatery

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Day in and day out, locals gather here with families and friends to enjoy some of the best Italian food in the Mile Square. Regulars and new guests love coming in to feel like part of the family.

“We try to come out and talk to our guests as much as we can. We just love getting to know people,” explained Salvatore. That is definitely felt by all who step inside and dine with the Vicaris. It is a come one, come all type of place that fills up quickly every night of the week. Laughter always fills the room, as do the aromas from the kitchen, night after night. Pietro and Salvatore are loved by all and even have quite the fan club of local families whose young children always stop by for a hug + a hello, knowing they are going to leave with a taste of fresh Italian bread and a smile on their faces.

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What’s On The Menu

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As you could imagine, the menu is filled with staple Italian dishes, with recipes that have traveled from Italy to the states by way of Pietro and Maria. Everything is homemade and no expenses are spared in the efforts to keep the traditional dishes alive. Flavor is the most important quality of the food served.

“Everything is fresh. We grate our own cheese, make our own mozzarella twice a day, and take ingredients from our own garden,” Pietro shared.

We would be remiss not to mention our favorite dishes, though we could go on and on bragging about the incredible meals that Salvatore and Pietro have cooked up. Fresh Mozzarella is a must try {and comes out still warm}. The artichoke is out of this world, stuffed to perfection with the best of ingredients.

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If you like vodka sauce, then you can’t leave Cafe Michelina without trying the stuffed rigatoni with chicken and vodka sauce, which is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes {for obvious reasons}. The chicken Murphy {mushrooms and hot peppers in a garlic + white wine sauce} is Salvatore’s favorite dish to whip up in the kitchen and is a definite crowd pleaser. We love the cavatelli + broccoli if you are looking for a pasta dish full of flavor and life. One last thing — you can’t leave the restaurant without dessert {that is a direct order}.

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If you have to swear by something, swear by the cannoli, which may or may not be one of the best cannolis in town {we know, that’s a big statement}. The tiramisu, light, yet creamy at the same time, is out of this world and pairs like a champ with a cappuccino. The desserts are all homemade and always top off the meal with that bit of dolcezza that you need.

Read More: Giorgio’s Pasticceria: Hoboken’s Beloved Uptown Bakery

The genuine, old school vibes of the Vicaris + their recipes are unparalleled. Trust, you will feel like old friends with the staff from the moment you step in the door. And while Maria has since passed, her spirit and love for her family live on through the restaurant.

“She was the backbone of our family and I miss her every day,” Salvatore said, lovingly.

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Pietro and Salvatore are always giving back to the community and putting so much positivity into our city. Look out for Salvatore’s U10 soccer team on the field this year and be sure to check out Cafe Michelina for truly delicious food loaded with flavor and love.


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