To those who looked at the closing of LaPrete’s Italian Table’s with chagrin, fear not. Another eatery is popping up in its place, at 369 Washington Ave., and should be ready in a few weeks.
Porto Restaurant and Bar is the creation of Belleville resident, former Mayor and retired captain of the Belleville Police Department, Bill Escott, and his partner, Portugal-born Carlos Lopes. Both hope to open the establishment, which will offer authentic Portuguese and Italian cuisine, in early September.
“I managed a restaurant in Nutley the past nine years,” says Escott, “while Carlos has been in the restaurant business his entire life.”
The duo had been discussing opening a restaurant together for some time, and had been looking for a good location to do so. The now-vacant LaPrete’s spot became available in March, and the fact that it is located on a main tract in Belleville – and sandwiched by Nutley and Newark – makes it advantageous. The eatery is named for the town in Portugal where Carlos Lopes grew up.
And the eventual opening of Porto Restaurant and Bar fills an even bigger concern: filling an empty storefront on a main road, a malady and concern to all neighborhoods, cities and townships. “I'm sure everyone is concerned about vacant storefronts,” claims Escott. “I personally feel many towns are having the same problem. I think that internet shopping and large malls have had an impact on many small businesses, but that generally does not affect the restaurant and bar business. Even in a poor economy, people find a way to go out for dinner and a drink, but maybe not as often as they do in a thriving economy.”
He does, however, believe that Porto Restaurant and Bar may be the answer for those hesitant to dine out more often, “We hope to provide the township with a nice looking, moderately priced restaurant to socialize and have dinner and a cocktail.”
Porto Restaurant and Bar, 369 Washington Avenue, Belleville