Industry News | June 9, 2009

Regional Bakery-Cafe Expands in New Jersey

Zebu Forno, a European-style bakery and café, has opened its fourth New Jersey location and first in Morris County in the heart of Morristown.

The chain’s newest café is located at 9 South Street, across from the downtown’s Green. The 2,500-square-foot space features indoor seating for 60 to 70 patrons and outdoor seating for another 12 diners during warm weather.

Zebu Forno’s extensive menu includes fresh-baked breads, muffins, bagels, and pastries, breakfast sandwiches, omelets, homemade soups, panini sandwiches, wraps, and other hot and cold sandwiches served on home-baked breads. All menu items are available for takeout. The store also features the chain’s recently launched Kid’s Menu, offering full meals of grilled cheese, chicken strips, pizza bagels or peanut butter and jelly priced at $3.49.

From a design standpoint, the chain’s locations convey a sense of a ‘town gathering place’--a relaxed setting where people of all ages can meet and sit for hours without feeling pressured.

Features include free Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, satellite music, brick walls, wood plank flooring, original murals celebrating great artists of the past, and seating at conventional tables, stool-height tables, and groupings of easy chairs. The café’s oven and baking preparation area are strategically situated at the front of the store to allow patrons and passersby to view the baking process first-hand.

Franchisee Melione Fratello LLC, formed by the Melione family of Wayne, New Jersey, owns and operates the Morristown café. Daily operations of the business will be directed by brothers Vincent and Michael Melione, with parents Frank and Helene, and sister Francesca lending a hand on evenings and weekends. The store will have a staff of 15 to 20 employees.

Zebu’s Morristown location is situated two doors down from a mixed-use project being built on the side of the former Epstein’s department store. Upon completion, the project will include a luxury high-rise condominium building with streetfront retail and a recently-opened municipal parking garage that is adjacent to the store’s rear entrance.

The café is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday. The telephone number is (973) 539-8400.

Zebu’s flagship company-owned location opened in 2001 on Broad Street in downtown Red Bank. The brand launched its franchise program in 2007 with the opening of a location in The Commons at Holmdel lifestyle center on Highway 35 in northern Monmouth County. An additional company-owned location opened in earlier this year in downtown Freehold as the company moves forward on its plan to develop into a regional chain with 10 franchised or company-owned locations in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania over a three to five-year period.

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