There's always a scramble for lunchtime. We either order in or go out, but places need to be close by and serve us quickly. Stefano's was good for delivery, but eating during lunch was out of the question. Several weeks passed since the last time I ordered, and having a craving for their panini, I called an order in. I learned then that Stefano's is now called Bellapianta. It has the same owner, except the inside has been totally renovated, and prices went up by at least $2 per dish-- probably to recover some of the cost.
I was turned off by the price hike, but chatting up with the owner and getting the rationale made me want to give it another chance. Bellapianta is on the same lot as Olive Garden; in fact, they share the same parking lot. The owner explained he wanted to provide diners an alternative to Olive Garden, especially diners who want to forgo chains for a more intimate experience.
One night, some friends at work decided to go out for happy hour. With me loving food more than drink, I suggested finding a BYOB in the area, before moving the party over to a bar. There was a limited selection in the Piscataway area, and because the other ones were Thai, they canceled themselves out. Italian cuisine always provides something for everyone. Bellapianta became a frontrunner.
Pictured below are just a couple of dishes I've tried. Everything is good, and makes me want to go back for more, until I get through the entire menu! The staff is also very welcoming and inviting, and they provide the whole package for an experience with friends that far surpass any happy hour.