Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Eating Out in Long Valley: Liola’s Portuguese & American Barbeque
(Image taken from: barbecue-party.com)
There’s American Barbeque, with your pulled pork, your chicken wings, and your chicken breasts, and then there’s your Portuguese Barbeque, with your garlic shrimp, your marinated pork chops, and your chorizo. Which one should you get? Decisions, decisions.
Well, in most towns—if they even have barbeque, that is—you have to go out of your way if you want, either or. But guess what, Long Valley residents, you’re in luck, as both can be found under one roof at Liola’s Portuguese and American Barbeque at 38 East Mill Road. It’s a spot like none other in the area, and owner, Joe Belardo, likes it that way.
“I love doing this,” Belardo says, who has been in the business of serving food full time for a little under three months now, “It has its ups and its downs, but [I think this is] a good first experience.”
Belardo was formerly in the steel business, but he lost his job when the industry got slow. But he didn’t lose hope because he always had another passion lingering on the side.
“I went to culinary school,” Belardo says proudly, “And I always had a business on the side [while I was in the steel business]. Pig roasting.”
That pig roasting came in handy when a Portuguese spot came available with the grill already on the premises. Belardo swooped right in and bought it, keeping his American barbeque plans in focus.
“Southern BBQ is my real love,” Belardo says, “But the restaurant had the grill here, and they’re [American and Portuguese BBQ] similar, so that’s why I took over the place.”
And the reception has been quite good so far.
“People have been very accepting,” Belardo says, “There are people who say, ‘I hope you stay around.’”
That said, the building itself is not very large, and while there are tables inside, this is more of a take-out kind of place. But that might change a bit when the summer rolls around.
“We have a big front porch,” Belardo says, who hopes to open it up to people to sit at when the weather improves.
But what about the food itself? While they don’t serve burgers here—yet—they do have a wide assortment of meals that will get you to fall in love with BBQ if you haven’t already.
“We have cheesesteaks, pulled pork, which we sell a lot of,” Belardo says, “grilled vegetables, chicken wings. We get a lot of repeat customers.”
As for the Portuguese portion, he said it’s really not all that much different, but different enough that it’s noticeable.
“You marinate the meat a little more with Portuguese BBQ,” Belardo says, “once you know the basics, you can cook almost anything.”
And cooking anything that the people like to eat seems to be Belardo’s MO.
“I’ve always like to cook a variety of things,” Belardo says.
LIOLA’S PORTUGUESE AND AMERICAN BARBEQUE
WHERE: 38 East Mill Road, Long Valley
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-876-0002
HOURS: Mon-Sat: 11:00AM-8:00PM, Closed on Sunday
CUISINE: American and Portuguese Barbeque
PAYMENT: Cash, checks, and all major credit cards except American Express
PRICE RANGE: Pulled Pork: $6.00, Sausage and Frites, 6 in, $5.00, 12 in, $6.50, BBQ Chicken, half, $7.50, whole, $13.00
THE SCENE: The inside is small, but it’s all about the take-out, which thrives in this tiny shop.
ATMOSPHERE: It may be small, but everything here is freshly made in the back, and when the summer comes, it’s going to be nice to sit out on the porch and eat.
PARKING: In the lot
OWNER: Joe Belardo