What pandemic? Uncle Giuseppe’s draws throng to Morris Plains opening

From left: Co-founder Tommy Barresi, CEO Carl Delprete, Mayor Jason Karr and co-founder Philip Delprete at opening of Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace in Morris Plains, Jan. 14, 2022. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Even in a pandemic, people have to mangia.

And so they came on Friday to Morris Plains, for the grand opening of Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace.

Social distancing?  Good luck. The place was packed.

Customers throng Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace in Morris Plains on opening day, Jan. 14, 2022. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“We’re not just a supermarket. We’re an experience,” said Carl Delprete, co-founder and CEO of Uncle Giuseppe’s, which really is named after his… well, you know.

Mayor Jason Karr was proud of borough officials for shepherding the business through the approvals process despite the COVID crisis, and happy for Briarcliff Commons, the Kohl’s-anchored Route 10 shopping center that Uncle Giuseppe’s now calls home.

“This is a vibrant mall,” Karr said. “When small malls are closing, this one is full. Morris Plains will complement Uncle Giuseppe’s, and Uncle Giuseppe’s will complement Morris Plains.”

It’s the Long Island chain’s 10th supermarket, and second in New Jersey. (Ramsey is the other Garden State location.)

Former Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler samples a cucumber roll at the new Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, Jan. 14, 2022. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The chain prides itself on producing many of its offerings in-house, and serving them with a smile, Delprete said. Employees must recite the company’s mantra:

“We won’t serve anything that we wouldn’t serve to our own mothers,” Delprete said.

Finding employees, that’s the hard part. Companies everywhere are struggling to hire help, and Uncle Giuseppe’s is no exception.

“It’s been an interesting challenge. Any great mountain worth climbing isn’t easy,”  Delprete said.

Staff from other Uncle G’s are pitching in at the new store, a 46,000-square-foot building once occupied by ShopRite.  The Morris Plains location will employ 260 people when fully staffed, Delprete said.

Meghan Hunscher, CEO of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, at opening of Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace in Morris Plains, Jan. 14, 2022. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“We’re so excited to have them here. It’s a wonderful grand opening. Welcome to Morris County,” said Meghan Hunscher, CEO of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce.

The early reviews were favorable.

“Everything’s fresh, it’s made with all good ingredients. You can’t go wrong over here,” said Morris Plains Councilman Sal Cortese. 

In the next aisle, singer Tony Della crooned That’s Amore, backed by a recorded band.

“Very good,” said Joann Cutalo of Denville after sampling the ravioli in marinara sauce. “I’ll be back.”

Sharon Prag and Arlene Giannone of Rockaway Township were pleased with their finds.

“Steak, $6.99 a pound. That’s good,” said Prag. Her friend was savoring chocolates.

Sharon Prag and Arlene Giannone with candy at opening of Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace in Morris Plains, Jan. 14, 2022. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Dina Lofroese traveled from Sparta for Friday’s opening.

“It’s Italian!” she explained.  “I’m 100 percent Italian. I’m glad they came up with a store like this. Much needed.”

Lofroese plans to return to Uncle Giuseppe’s — in about two months, when she hopes the lines are shorter.

“I’m too overwhelmed,” she said.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I went for the first time and took my time walking around aisle to aisle, the Italian pastry are delicious, so are the biscotti. I bought chicken salad that was amazing along with bow tie pesto salad. Having their pizza tonight. I love the store. Being Italian it’s nice to go someplace where we can buy the food we love to eat. It’s well organized and so much to see and taste!!

  2. The store is beautiful inside. I bought some meat and fish, excellent quality, very nice hot/cold bar. But I have a question for the the owner’s. Who decided to put this location here when you have a Stop & Shop across the street a Wegman’s less than a mile, 2 Shoprites close by and another gourmet Italian store up the road in Denville. Demographic wise, the area has good income levels, but not even taking into consideration everything going on, who will pay higher prices for everyday items, maybe when one comes in to grab some of the excellent specalty products you have. Hopefully Wegman’s opens up their full hot/cold bars again now that you give them some competition, oh, most of the corporations nearby working remotely too. I give this location 3 years tops. The only thing for sure that will last there is Chick fil A, Liquor and Dunkin Donut stores. Lets not forget Whole Foods, other side of town, look how well they are doing!!! LMAO

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