Caffe Luciano is a hidden gem of the Jersey shore. "We've been open for four years now, but a lot of people still don't know about us," manager Tiffany Polijczuk says.
The restaurant is located inside the Seaview Harbor Marina on Longport Boulevard, between the bridges to Ocean City and Margate.
"The view is magnificent," Polijczuk says. "You can look out over the water, see where the bay meets the ocean. To the right is our private beach. It's truly breathtaking."
The restaurant opened in 2008 by established restaurateur Luciano Lamberti, a native of Naples, Italy. Lamberti came to America as a child in the early '60s and was raised in the kitchen of his parents' pizzeria in Brooklyn, N.Y., when a culinary interest began.
Caffe Luciano is Lamberti's second Jersey shore venue, the first being Luciano Lamberti's Sunset Marina and Restaurant in Margate, which is described as a "traditional pasta house," Polijczuk says.
Caffe Luciano is more of a fine dining restaurant offering its patrons a picturesque dining and nightlife experience overlooking the Great Egg Harbor Inlet with live entertainment in the evenings. Its menu is centered around authentic Italian cuisine and fresh, local seafood.
Caffe Luciano opened as the Shore Club, but was renamed Caffe Luciano last year to help raise awareness of the venue.
"A lot of people assumed it was an exclusive club belonging to the marina," Polijczuk says.
For the first time since it opened, Caffe Luciano is staying open in the offseason this year. It will be open Thursdays through Saturdays through April, serving both lunch and dinner, with live entertainment in the evenings. It will open seven days a week again April through September.
"For now, it's a trial thing," Polijczuk says. "We're going to go through at least December and see how it goes."
Polijczuk says she's currently working on booking the entertainment for the fall and winter, which will be posted on the restaurant's website as soon as possible. So far, she has booked Don't Call Me Francis Dec. 7. The local band is a regular at Caffe Luciano's in the summer, performing every Wednesday night and bringing in a large crowd, Polijczuk says.
Additional offseason perks include half-priced sushi from 4 to 7 p.m. every day and a bar happy hour from noon to 7 p.m. with $6 select appetizers, $2 drafts and $5 house wine.
"It's more like a happy day," Polijczuk says.
Caffe Luciano is hosting a huge New Year's Eve Celebration with three five-course dinner seatings and entertainment by The Big House Band. The third and final dining seating is at 9 p.m. and includes a champagne toast at midnight, party favors and an option to purchase an open bar package.
Details will be posted on its website in the coming weeks.