In February 2012, the success of chef Luke Palladino's Northfield restaurant caused parking issues that resulted in his not being allowed to continue serving sit-down lunches.
Now, Luke Palladino Seasonal Italian Cooking is relocating the business from Northfield to a bigger space one mile away in Linwood.
The new location in Central Square on New Road is scheduled to open Oct. 15. The current facility at Plaza 9 in Northfield has been converted into a steakhouse that will serve dinner only.
"It's the same thing that we do (in Northfield), the same people, same chefs and some of the same staff. It's just really an extension of what we do here and the ability to do lunch," Palladino said.
The restaurant, one of three Palladino runs in southern New Jersey, served lunch when it opened but ran into problems due to the lack of parking spaces.
Harold Weiss, who owns Plaza 9, told The Press of Atlantic City in 2012 that Palladino's lease allowed only for takeout food, not sit-down lunch or dinner. Eventually, Weiss helped Palladino get a variance from the city to serve dinner, so the restaurant was able to stay open at night when the other businesses in the plaza would close.
The facility, which can seat 30, has been serving just dinner for about a year.
When the restaurant served lunch, Weiss said, it was taking away from other businesses in the shopping center, because there were limited parking spaces.
The relocated BYOB restaurant will seat 60 and will serve lunch and dinner five days a week, and will serve dinner on weekends. It will be the site of Palladino's catering operation.
"With more space, there's more ability for people to come on a whim. They won't necessarily have to reserve, but it is still strongly recommended," Palladino said.
Relocating the popular restaurant is not the end of Palladino's plans. He is keeping the Northfield location and is opening a new restaurant in the space, called LP Steak, which will serve only dinner.
"Northfield has always been popular. When we did do lunch, it was always popular," Palladino said. "We're going to transition this space here for a steakhouse, which is suited for a dinner clientele. People love the space, and they know where to go."
The media director for the Luke Palladino Hospitality group, Kristine Kurilko, said Palladino felt there was room in the market for a steakhouse, so he seized the opportunity.
"He feels there is not a whole lot in the immediate area for great steak," Kurilko said. "It also allows him to do something non-Italian, so he's excited about that, too."
Kurilko said there will be selections other than steak on the menu, including fish and sides done "Luke's way." Palladino said various cuts of steak will include softer price points than a "high-end option."
The Northfield location in Plaza 9 closed for a flash renovation and was expected to reopen Friday as LP Steak.
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