BY SAMANTHA J. HENRY
THERE’S SOMETHING SPECIAL AND comforting about frequenting a well-established dining establishment, ordering an all-familiar dish, and feeling as though you’ve been transported back in time to your mom’s kitchen or grandma’s house. Of course,
the menu items are fresh and full of culinary touches that appeal to all ages and every palate. The food is delicious with modern touches to old-fashioned recipes.
Aldo’s Restaurant, established in 1983, is the kind of place where you can enjoy hearty, Italian specialties in a BYO atmosphere. Many of Aldo’s customers have been coming to the restaurant for more than 30 years and appreciate the traditional, yet innovative cuisine.
Pane & Vino, the liquor store and full bar located next to Aldo’s, allows guests to buy a bottle of wine and enjoy it onsite with their meals. Guests can order from Aldo’s menu and linger over the bottle that has been carefully selected to suit their entrees.
If you fancy steak, The Brick House, which opened its doors in 1997, has an extensive menu for meat lovers, featuring porterhouses and T-bones. The restaurant’s sleek bar area, complete with flat screens and a fireplace, allows for a more laid-back dining experience, while offering a bar-centric menu. In addition, The Brick House’s famous cigar lounge downstairs is a one-of-a-kind space to forget about the stress of the
day and enjoy some quality time with great company.
In this interview with COMMERCE, Aldo discusses his restaurants, his favorite menu items, the most popular dishes, favorite desserts and the venues he has for corporate meetings and events.
COMMERCE: How are your restaurants doing?
ALDO CASCIO: Very good. Aldo’s is now well established in its new location where the Wyckoff Bakery used to be. We are now serving pizza at Aldo’s, and customers are enjoying it. Our customers also love the outdoor patio at Pane & Vino to enjoy during the warmer months. Wyckoff does not have many al fresco choices, so this is a nice option for residents.
Q. What are people ordering the most at your restaurants? What are the most popular dishes?
A. Customers love the usual pasta, fish, chicken and veal at Aldo’s. They love the
porterhouse and T-bone steak at The Brick House.
Q. What are the most popular desserts at your restaurants?
A. We make our own tiramisu. I get gelato from Italy that is delicious, especially the pistachio flavor.
Q. What are some new menu items or new takes on old-fashioned recipes?
A. I’ve found that the old-fashioned recipes are the ones that stay popular. People always love the veal parmesan and chicken parmesan. At Aldo’s, we sometimes have a new fish or new pasta dish for our customers to try. But mostly, we stick with authentic Italian. A lot of times, you go to a restaurant and there are many new things, but people always appreciate the old-fashioned as well. For many, it takes them back to their childhood and happy memories.
Q. What are your personal favorite menu items at your restaurants?
A. Spaghetti carbonara at Aldo’s, and the “Porterhouse for Two” at The Brick House.
Q. What can you tell us about your chefs? Are they coming up with new ideas and recipes?
A. I think creativity is the basis of everything we do and what makes for a good chef. That being said, a chef must not forget the traditional way of preparing certain dishes. Old-world cooking is instilled in my chefs, but they are also coming up with creative
takes on things.
Q. For corporate events, what rooms and options are available?
A. At The Brick House, we have many different party rooms. We have a banquet room, which holds 150 to 200 people. Then we have the wine room, which holds about 30. We have a VIP room, which holds 40, and two other rooms upstairs that can hold 125 and
135. We have two party rooms at Aldo’s holding 25 and 40, but we can combine them for more people. We have so many different events at the restaurants.
Q. What ingredients are popular or trending right now?
A. Truffles are very trendy right now. We don’t use them at my restaurants because they are too expensive, unless somebody requests them for a special occasion. The shiitake mushrooms are very popular as well, but truffles seem to be the item that people are willing to spend money on.
Q. How do your restaurants accommodate those with food allergies or people on diets?
A. We get requests for gluten-free pastas, so we now serve those. We also have whole wheat pastas. For people on diets, we will do plain, grilled fish and things like that. We
will accommodate our customers in any way we can.
Q. How do you use the Internet to support your restaurants?
A. I am not very good with the computer; I barely know how to text. I am fortunate that my employees do a great job promoting my restaurants on the Internet and social media.
Q. Do you work with any members of your family? What’s that dynamic like?
A. My sister works for me and my wife sometimes does. It’s a huge help to me because you cannot be everywhere at once. I have a staff who is like family. Some have been working for me for more than 30 years, and I trust them very much.
Q. What charities are you working to support right now?
A. Right now, Oasis in Paterson is my primary charity. It’s a shelter for battered women, but they now have a school and various classes and programs. They really do an excellent job. I am proud to support them