It’s no secret that it has become more and more difficult to operate chain restaurants here in New Jersey. There is so much competition, and the local farm to table movement has definitely threatened what used to be a New Jersey dining staple. The challenges are there: You’ve got to be competitive, you’ve got to change and evolve with the times, and you’ve got to compete. But the bankruptcy of Bertucci’s has really broken my heart because of the memories that I have of bringing my kids there when they were little. Bertuccis is a family style, Brick oven pizza/ Italian restaurant where you could get a good quality (fun) Italian meal or pizza and salads for a decent price. (And not have to worry about bringing the kids because that was encouraged.)

But the best part about Bertucci’s was that in the old days – and I’m not sure if they still do this – they would serve each kid a little blob of pizza dough to play with so that he would be kept busy until the meal came. I never saw anything as cool is that and this kept the kids entertained for the entire meal. Believe me, that dough ball beat crayons and a placemat you could color on by a mile!

Around 29 Bertucci’s are set to close, (15 will close immediately) and there are still five here in New Jersey so I await with trepidation the announcement of the closings. If you’ve never been to Bertucci’s with your kids try to get there soon. It’s a great family meal and-if the closings include any of the New Jersey stores-will be missed!

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