Piccolo Cafe Opens, Offering NYC Vibe in Vineland

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VINELAND, N.J. — The members of the DeThomasi family are no strangers to the food-service industry, establishing the popular 5 Points Inn and Catering business in Vineland in 1978. Now the family has opened another elegant spot with top-shelf food and beverages, and a comfortable, ultra-cool atmosphere.

Earlier this week, Vineland Mayor Anthony Fanucci attended the official ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the July 2017 opening of the new Piccolo Cafe.

The cozy spot at 3569 E. Landis Avenue is located in the former Rita's Water Ice shop, across from the ShopRite in Vineland. Once inside, one may think they were transported to New York City or perhaps Milan.  

Emanating a European vibe, with wood, stone and metal fixtures, dark tones and large windows throughout — as well as a wrap-around deck — the cafe includes several little nooks to slip into with a book and a cappuccino, or a friend to talk with while sipping on smoothies or munching on Italian gelato. 

Carmine DeThomasi, a graduate of St. Augustine Preparatory in Buena Vista Township, is heading up the operation with his family, including his parents Carlo and Renee DeThomasi. Along with friends, family members, community and church members, and the mayor, the three were on hand for the ribbon cutting on Wednesday, July 19th.

"We're really excited to introduce the Piccolo Cafe to everyone in the community," said Carmine DeThomasi. "We're all about the community and having fun and relaxing. This place was built on our experiences in Italy, and the way we were treated [at cafes] there. So, we thought to ourselves: 'We should bring it here to Vineland!'"

The Piccolo Cafe — the latest cafe to open in Cumberland County — features coffees, gelato (straight from Italy), fresh baked goods, a variety of smoothies, among other treats. Some of the food is baked or prepared at 5 Points, which Carlo DeThomasi opened with his brother Bruno as a bar and cheese steak shop 38 years ago. Since then, it has become a popular Italian restaurant in the South Jersey community and is known for its catering.

We're all about the community and having fun and relaxing.

Mayor Fanucci said that he was impressed with how the DeThomasis took a site that was closed and completely refurbished it "in such a beautiful way."

"The DeThomasi family has committed resources here through the business and food service industry for a long time," said Fanucci. "And now the son has entered into that arena and is reinvesting his dollars back into the city of Vineland."

"I think this is what Vineland needs," said Nicole Angelique Ney, an instructor at the nearby Peace Love Yoga Studio. "It's a cool hangout spot with a nice homey feel. The food is delicious and [already] it really gives you a warm sense of community."

Carmine DeThomasi said that the Piccolo Cafe will evolve as time goes on, adding that an outdoor entertainment "garden" should be open by fall with live entertainment options in the works for both inside the cafe and in the garden.  

The owners say they will takes cues from the community in terms of what types of food and drinks the cafe will provide, and what the formal schedule will be. The cafe is currently open daily from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. 

"We hope people will enjoy this cafe as much as we do," said Carmine DeThomasi. "This is a labor of love." 

Ahmad Graves-El contributed to this report. 

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