Nothing says “Thank You!” like “Free!”
Meatballs. Pizza. Dessert. On the house.
Some 300 people who responded to the restaurant’s Facebook page were invited to Millie’s second annual spring party, which marked just over one year on South Street for the Brothers Carrabba, Vince and Brandon.
It’s truly a family affair. The Carrabbas’ mom, Marlene, is frequently seen behind the meatball counter, making sure nobody takes any liberties with her mother’s recipe.
Customers cited that family flavor as a key ingredient that keeps them coming back.
“The pizza is always excellent, but the best thing is, the people are very hospitable here. They know how to run a business,” said Anthony Ferrigno, who ignored severe thunderstorm warnings to travel from Bridgewater to chow down with a bunch of friends.
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Mark Adler of Morristown is a fan of the food, and especially, of Head Chef Peter “Martino” Martinez, who doubles as head greeter.
“He’s the best!” Mark said.
Peter had spent a dozen years working for the Carrabbas–whose ventures range from corporate security to classic cars to hyperbaric therapy–when the brothers asked him to be part of their lifelong dream of becoming restaurateurs.
They all shared a pizza passion. The brothers insisted on custom-built coal- and wood-fired stoves; they say the latter stove contains “volcanic stones from Mount Vesuvius.” Peter taught himself to cook.
“I was born to do this, 100 percent,” Peter said Thursday, shouting over pulsating beats from a deejay, in a sea of hugs, high-fives and sugary confections. “Vince gave me this great opportunity. This is my calling.”
He considers customers as his extended family. Don’t expect to plink down your money, fill up and leave at Millie’s.
“No,” Peter said firmly. “You come, it’s, ‘How was your day?’”
Vince Carrabba said the only missing piece is a liquor license; he aims to obtain one for the second Millie’s restaurant, which the brothers hope to open in the Hamilton area, closer to Brandon’s Millstone home.
Otherwise, Vince said he is happy in Morristown. All those free meals in the early days helped the staff fine-tune the product, he said.
“We’re here for the long-term. We wanted everything perfect. You only get one shot at this,” said the Mendham resident, who can be found most evenings making pizza at Millie’s.
“If it comes down to here or being home watching TV,” he said, “I’d rather be here.”