Main Street Vineland continues promoting a vibrant social scene on Landis Avenue with Taste of Vineland from 6 to 9 tonight.
Lou Ferretti, the new owner of Mori's on Landis, says he's excited about Vineland's "renaissance" on Landis Avenue. That's why he took over Mori's about six months ago and started offering his own signature blend of Italian/Latino dishes in the restaurant.
"It's pretty much cutting edge, because no one has tried it here before," he said of the fusion cuisine he developed over a 37-year career launched on a diploma from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. "It's a very broad-base term, 'Latino cuisine.' It runs from South America, where you have Italian influences, up to the Caribbean and Mexico - that's a very different flavor - and then Latino-Americans themselves have developed an American style to their cuisine."
Ferretti sees his menu - influenced by his Italian heritage and his love of Latino cuisine - as representative of the population of Vineland, which the event is meant to promote. He says after six years working in the region, he felt diners "were receptive to what we're doing."
"I like to be very adventurous and just enjoy food," he says. "I have an Italian background and then I just look for new ideas."
He's glad to host the event, both to introduce himself as a new operator of the established restaurant and to highlight the various offerings from his competitors nearby.
"The more restaurants you have in an area, the more people will come," he says. "Look at Collingswood; 20 years ago, no one would go there. Now it's made a comeback. Or Haddonfield - they invited the restaurants to come down because restaurants become a social hub. Now people know more about food and everyone talks about food and wine."
During tonight's Taste of Vineland - which will take place in Mori's second-floor banquet room - the public can sample signature dishes from about 15 participating restaurants and eateries. The menu includes main courses, appetizers and desserts. There also will be live music, and a silent auction.
Ferretti sees his art-deco, '50s-contemporary decor as following a theme with the Landis Theater next door. He hopes the theater renovation helps revive Landis Avenue - so the restaurants in Vineland can feed the growing Landis Avenue economy. Proceeds from tonight's event will benefit the downtown revitalization.
Taste of Vineland
Held 6 to 9 tonight at Mori's on Landis, 830 E. Landis Ave., Vineland. Tickets are $40. Call 856-794-8653.