Frank Macri has dished out Italian foods since 1979 — first in Manhattan and later in North Jersey. His latest venture, Prova Italian Eatery, takes its name from an Italian word meaning "to try, to sample … taste," says Macri, of River Edge, who was born in Bagnara in Calabria, Italy, but has spent most of his life in New Jersey.
In early December, Macri and his nephew, Carmelo Calabro, opened Prova Italian Eatery, a 45-seat casual spot for Italian prepared foods and deli sandwiches in the former space of Moonachie's Berry Creek Café (now down the street).
Prova's mission is "homestyle Italian cooking," says Macri. He formerly owned Casa Del Sol in Woodcliff Lake, a deli specializing in imported Italian fare. Before that, he worked at Park Italian Gourmet in midtown Manhattan.
Daily specials that are popular so far include chicken Marsala and penne alla vodka, Macri says. At Prova's sandwich counter, Macri makes one item called the "traditional," with ham, Genoa salami, sweet and hot peppers and mozzarella that is prepared in house daily. Sandwiches are made with Thumann's meats, with breads including whole wheat, Italian hero, panini, rye and wraps.
Hot heroes are prepared with veal, chicken and meatballs as well as eggplant and fish. Other traditional dishes include sausage and peppers, lasagna and baked ziti. Mini cannoli shells sit next to the register, ready for filling. Fridays bring fried calamari and broiled tilapia.
Menu items designated as healthy options are a roasted turkey club made with lean bacon; salads made with shrimp, chicken, vegetables, tuna or turkey; and a grilled eggplant sandwich made with grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, arugula and mozzarella.
The breakfast menu at Prova features various egg sandwiches and custom omelets.
Prova Italian Eatery is at 94 Moonachie Ave., Moonachie; 201-939-8500; provanow.com