23 Feb Felina Restaurant + Bar
Ridgewood’s thriving restaurant scene is welcoming a new entrant: Felina Restaurant and Bar. The rustic yet refined Italian-American eatery and event venue plans to open in late spring at 54 E. Ridgewood Ave. in Ridgewood, and will feature locally-sourced seasonal ingredients masterfully prepared by acclaimed chef Anthony Bucco, whose work at The Ryland Inn and more recently Crystal Springs’ Restaurant Latour garnered rave reviews from critics and diners alike.
Felina, which will occupy the space that formerly housed seafood restaurant Fish, represents the reuniting and partnering of Bucco and renowned restaurateurs and founders of Landmark Venues Frank and Jeanne Cretella, whose cache of beloved properties includes The Liberty House, Stone House at Stirling Ridge, The Logan Inn, and more. Together, the trio staged the re-opening of The Ryland Inn, restoring the country estate and reestablishing it as one of the premiere restaurants in New Jersey.
“About six or seven years ago, we had the ability put together a plan and reimagine the Ryland,” Bucco said. “So to have the opportunity to work with people I consider family, it’s an honor to be back in the fold and collaborate.”
As was Bucco’s trademark at the White House Station venue, the chef will continuously reinvent his menu. Blending the best of the old and the new, Bucco explained that he’ll be using hyperlocal regional ingredients at their peak of freshness while finding inspiration in the cooking techniques of old world Italy.
“The concept is that you can eat at Felina seven nights a week,” Bucco said. “Think of it as an extension of your home. Of course, it will have the same genuine hospitality that you find at every Landmark space.”
And, just like other Landmark properties, the Cretellas will lovingly restore and renovate the old bank building to new levels of grandeur. The venue itself is historic gem, Bucco noted, and still boasts a vault, which will be incorporated into the redesign.
“It’s such a striking building,” he said. “Part of the beauty of what Frankie and Jeannie do is that they bring new life to things. This is a different footprint from some of their other properties because it’s not in a rural area but what they’re able to do is amazing. It will be a wonderful transformation of space.”
The chef explained that the venue will feature a large rectangular room which will serve as the event space, one which he added exudes “character and charm.” It will be able to accommodate approximately 120 guests. An a la carte dining area will be equally beautiful but more of a “quaint space,” with seating for about 70.
“It’s going to have a beautiful open kitchen,” Bucco said. “As farmers bring things in, we’ll be constantly introducing new offerings.”
Bucco said he’s thrilled to be opening in such a great area.
“It’s all come together – the concept, the physical space. We’re taking it from point A to point B. It’s time to make some magic. The talking is over. Now it’s time to get open.”