Matawan's Trattoria Rustica has Bitten the Dust

Any love for Trattoria Rustica? Drove past there two days ago and saw they were closed. Replaced by another generic pizzeria.

Worked the counter there in high school. The owner (who was actually Greek, not Italian) was about as mild-mannered as Mussolini but the food was excellent and I continued to eat there for years afterward. Actually, there were times I would pray he would mellow out into Gordan Ramsay. He also paid well (and in cash, every Friday). I’ll give him that.

They had a pizzeria in the front and a nice dining room in the back. Enormous portions. Chicken dishes came with two large breasts, or sometimes three. Each meal came with a rather large salad and the tables would be given as many loaves of focaccia bread as they wanted. There was so much food that appetizers were pretty much useless (though we would get the “Greek Sampler” below sometimes).


He would always tell a story of a fine dining restaurant he went to and left hungry and had to stop at a McDonald’s on the way home. He swore if he opened a restaurant, no one would leave hungry. He accomplished that.

Chicken, penne, marsala sauce, mozzarella cheese, asparagus, and roasted red peppers.

Overall, I never got the feeling the owner needed the money. His wife had another, separate career and did well. I think this was just a passion project for him. Maybe he got tired of doing it and wanted to retire. He was older anyway.


Wow…that is a shame. My office use to be 2-3 miles from here and I would get lunch from here 2-3 times a week. I had become very friendly with the owner (name escapes me) over the years. I stopped in again about 6 mos. ago and he told me he was looking to sell, his wife had recently passed away and I could see in his eyes he lost the spark.

His food was excellent, from the pizza to wraps and salads, I only had lunch items but never a complaint. At one time he also owned the burger joint on the opposite side of the mall but that place never took off and after a year or two he sold it off.

I wish him luck and happiness in his retirement.


Oh my goodness. I didn’t know she died. She was a guidance counselor at my high school. Very nice lady. Gone way before her time (I just read the obituary-- only 61).

I can see why he sold. It was a family operation. His daughters both worked there and the entire family would dine in one of the front sections every Sunday afternoon. That was where his passion stemmed from.

Sad that’s why it ended.