Too busy to cook dinner, but still want a delicious homemade meal for your family? Then stop by Paolo’s Kitchen in New Providence.
Paolo Vieira opened his store nine years ago. Since then, people have been coming by regularly to pick up Chicken Marsala, Chicken Parmigiana, lasagna, sausage and peppers, stuffed peppers, and more. Their signature dish, the Eggplant Rollatini, is their most popular entrée.
“We also have a balsamic dressing, made with balsamic vinegar that has been aged for 25 years. My customers call it crack, and it even says that on the label. It’s sweet and sour - the perfect combination,” said Paolo.
Paolo grew up surrounded by food. His parents, who are from Italy, always had an abundance of delicious food in the home.
“My father owned an Italian restaurant and a bakery, and I worked with him when I was a teenager,” said Paolo.
When he arrived in the United States in 1989, he brought his love of food with him and worked in many high-end restaurants. He also often cooked for friends in his home kitchen. Then, they started asking him to cater their parties. After the requests kept coming, he found that he was having a hard time keeping up with all the orders. That’s when he decided to make dishes and freeze them. This way he could have things ready and drop them off ahead of time.
Paolo eventually started selling his frozen meals at the farmer’s market in New Providence. At that time, he only offered a few different dishes. When customers started asking for more, he decided to open Paolo’s Kitchen and extend his offerings. Besides the store, his frozen meals are now sold at over 30 farmers’ markets during the season.
“I try to buy most of my produce from local farmers, because I have a good relationship with them. I try to support them and use local products. I also get most of my meats locally as well,” he said.
Paolo also offers vegetarian dishes and plenty of gluten-free options. Since his severely autistic 15-year-old twins, Marcelo and Luciana, can only eat gluten-free foods, Paolo carefully created these dishes so they and others with gluten-intolerance can also enjoy his meals. He has another daughter, Grace, as well.
Catering is still a large part of his business. He and his team will deliver and set up in homes and businesses, and they welcome jobs from all over the state.
The food is not only delicious, but healthy. Paolo said he doesn’t use a lot of salt. Instead, he first lets the cheese do the work and then adds the salt. He also doesn’t use a lot of oil, so the food isn’t greasy.
“All my dishes are natural, no preservatives. The instructions are right on the containers, and they serve two to three people. They are ready to go; all you have to do is put them in the oven. That’s it. Make your life easier,” he said.