SAINT JOHN– A new eatery in east Saint John is serving uptown vibes and delicious food and desserts.
Located at 533 Westmorland Road Delizioso Bistro & Sweets offers a wide variety of hearty home-style meals and mouth-watering desserts.
The business was started by Jacquie Lu, and three other long-time friends. Last year, the group purchased the Li’l Gelato and Sweet Shop, a gelato and sweets shop formerly located in Saint John City Market.
Though the shop was a great foundation, they wanted to expand the business and do more. With one of the friends being a professional chef and Lu working in the service industry for years, they decided to expand the shop into a full-fledged bistro on the east side of the city.
“For the east side, we often think of those big franchised restaurants – like Swiss Chalet or Montanas or East Side Marios. It’s all big chain franchises. No matter which city you go to, they offer the same food. Not to say they’re not good. They’re good for sure,” says Lu. “But we thought since we’re friends and family, we want to offer family-oriented hearty food.”
Delizioso Bistro & Sweet is located in a strip mall, but when you step inside you feel you’re in the newest trendy uptown restaurant. Decked out with Edison light bulbs, funky light fixtures, sleek seating and walls covered with local art, it’s a far cry from the bigger chain restaurants just up the street.
“I think we’re trying to be an uptown-style [place], but on the east side,” says Lu. “Uptown already has so many places like this, but there’s nothing like it on the east side or west side. We’re trying to be closer to the local people, not just focusing on tourism [or the uptown office crowd].”
Sticking to its roots, Delizioso sells a wide variety of made-in-house gelato, along with a selection of desserts that will make you want to lick to the glass. For instance, patrons can grab a slice of Reese’s Peanut Butter cake, Triple chocolate mousse cake, and cookies-and-cream cake, just to name a few. They are also fully licensed.
On the menu, the full-license restaurant features classic dishes like chicken parmesan, seafood chowder, sandwiches, wraps, nachos, steaks and pasta. Lu says the menu was inspired by the dishes they missed most when they travel.
“Whenever we travel, the thing I miss most is that home-style food,” she says. “The idea is we wanted to bring these hearty [foods], like warm soup or home-made pasta to the local people, no matter if they have a busy day from work, or even if they just travel to Saint John.”
Delizioso makes as many things in-house as possible and sources locally wherever it can.
“Our pasta is all made in-house, the sausages are made in-house as well. All the gelatos are made in-house. We’ve worked hard trying to bring the real food, not just anything from the freezer,” says Lu. “We’re trying to get everything fresh and we’re really trying to support local because we’re a local company as well.”
Delizioso had its soft-opening two months ago to allow staff to get trained and get the hang of things. The restaurant will have its grand opening Saturday, April 27, where they will be offering free samples of gelato, desserts and some of their menu offerings.
Though Lu hasn’t done much advertising aside from the business’ Facebook page at this point, she says they have been getting a steady stream of customers. Most heard of the place through word-of-mouth.
“Even though we didn’t post any advertising, I’m still very satisfied and we have all kinds of friendly people coming in. They’re trying to support local as well and they also want to try new things,” says Lu.
“They see the sign on the window and wonder, ‘what’s that?’ When they come in, a lot of people say ‘Oh, I never tried gelato’ and once they try it they’re like, ‘Oh my god, it’s so good!'”