Teresa Caffe, located in Princeton’s historic Palmer Square district, has been offering simple Italian-inspired fare in the style of a neighborhood trattoria since 1991. Last summer they added a patio, which enhances the feel of a European cafe and expands their dining space from 27 indoor tables, with an additional 10 tables outside. Plans are in the works to add an awning.

Co-owner Raoul Momo, and his three brothers and sister, have been in the restaurant business their entire lives. They began working with their mother, Teresa, in her deli in Nanuet, New York. “We worked and trained in her deli,” explains Momo. She taught them the importance of using fresh local ingredients, a practice the Momo family continues to use in all of their restaurants, and of providing excellent customer service.

Much of their produce is grown at their own Canal Farm, located three miles away. They source other fresh, local ingredients. They are committed to using organic, local, sustainable ingredients whenever possible, and antibiotic and hormone-free chicken. All baked goods are made fresh daily at their bakery, the Terra Momo Bread Company.

“Teresa’s is just as much farm-to-table as our other restaurants. We use fresh produce in season. We buy raw materials, such as artisanal pepperoni — which is what pepperoni is supposed to be like,” adds Momo. In Princeton, between him and his brothers, they also own Eno Terra, Mediterra, and the bakery.

He has another brother and a sister living in Denver, Colorado, who also own restaurants. Some of Teresa’s 15 grandchildren are starting to look into the restaurant business. Their mother lives in Chile, but often comes up to visit the family.

Momo credits his staff, particularly managers Alexa Miller and Michael Alverez, for part of their success. “The secret to success is hard work with a great product, and great hospitality.” Momo recalls times his mother left him and his siblings in charge of her deli. Customers would come in and look for her. They would explain “the experience and products are the same, her spirit is the same.”

They continued to offer the same warm and friendly service that is important to be successful. It also gave them the confidence to expand the business from New Brunswick to Princeton. “That neighborhood feel is what people aspire for in all of our restaurants,” sums up Momo.

Teresa Caffe changes its menu seasonally in order to use the freshest, best quality produce. “Our menu is pretty small. It is about the quality.” They work with diners who have dietary restrictions. Another aspect to dining, for Momo, is the wine. “For us wine is food. They go great together,” adds Momo. On their menus is wine from Chile, Italy, and California. Seating is available at the bar.

“Teresa’s has been great to us. Of our group, Teresa’s always remains the heart of our business.”

Teresa Caffe, 23 Palmer Square East, Princeton. 609-921-1974. www.teresacaffe.com. info@terramomo.com. Brunch, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Lunch, Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Dinner, Monday to Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Sunday 3 to 10 p.m. See ad, page 21.

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