The Godfather in Morristown: A long time coming

Mayor Tim Dougherty, center, and partners of The Godfather officially open Morristown restaurant. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

At the grand opening of The Godfather of Morristown, from left: Gaetano DeRose, James Della Volpe, Jerry Forte, Jason Forte, Mayor Tim Dougherty, Gennaro Forte and Jared Gottheimer. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Jerry Forte, patriarch of the family that officially opened The Godfather of Morristown this week, is a patient man. “I’ve been waiting since 1980 to come here,” he said Monday at the grand opening of the 4,500-square-foot pizza and seafood restaurant, on the ground floor of the trendy Highlands at Morristown Station apartments near the train station. Jerry opened the first Godfather in East Hanover in 1975. He wanted to expand to Morristown, he said. But with eight kids at home, there wasn’t much spare time. “I was all by myself in East Hanover. I figured when the kids got older, we could expand.” Now, with three sons as partners and plenty of customers since the “soft launch” in January, Jerry need never worry about being all by himself in Morristown. “It’s our first joint venture,” said stepson Jared Gottheimer, who appeared excited to promote the brand. “We’re so much more than pizza,” Jared said, touting the raw oyster bar, patio dining, wine from his neighbors at Cambridge Wines, and “the best food, consistently” in town. Mayor Tim Dougherty, who cut the ceremonial ribbon, has visited a few times since the “soft launch” in January, and said he is a fan of the shrimp beets and the Margherita pizza with sausage. “The broccoli rabe!” recommended Geoffrey Gogan, architect for the project. Please click icon for captions. The grand opening was timed fortuitously for the dining public; the event coincided with the kickoff of Morristown Restaurant Week.   Through May 4, 2014, The Godfather of Morristown is offering a $25 prix fixe menu. Lunch specials–pizza or chicken sandwiches with beverage–run from about $4 to $6, Jared said. Now, what about that Godfather name? According to the Jared, Jerry wanted people to come to him to solve their dining needs, the same way everyone in the classic film came to Vito Corleone to solve their problems. Jerry said Morristown has proved worth his long wait; the kids are all grown up and they are helping him continue to solve diners’ problems. “The good outweighs the bad. We’re one happy family. When I go on vacation, there is no need to worry,” he said, flashing a big grin and waxing philosophical. “If they rob me, it doesn’t matter,” he said with a hearty laugh. “In the end, they’re gonna get it anyway!”



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