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High Profile Chef Wants Upscale Restaurant in Flood Zone

Peter Loria is looking to transform a historic home in a residential area to a large upscale restaurant but likely will face an uphill battle should the application be heard by the zoning board.

A renowned New Jersey chef envisions a large restaurant with a covered patio and veranda, valet parking and, rumor has it, a liquor license in a residential, flood-prone area on the Ridgewood-Paramus border, according to sources.

Several persons familiar with the application told Patch the 2.8 acre property at 833 Linwood Avenue would house the "Maison Artiste," a 10,600 square foot building containing an addition to the original "Vasiloff" house, along with 98 parking spots.

The man behind the application is Peter Loria, the chef-owner of upscale Cafe Matisse in Rutherford.

The application, set to hit the zoning board if deemed complete by village departments, requests that the R-125 zone be redesignated as B-1 (business). Numerous variance requests are included in the application.

A source familiar with the plans said a "high" number of trees (around 90) would need to be removed should it procede. It may prove a complicating matter when weighing the fact that the property would be including signficant levels of blacktop in a flood plain.

Though the housing structure and proposed parking section is not in the 100-year flood plain, the lower section of the property is. The Saddle River runs directly to the west of the property border.

Paramus and Linwood Avenues would also need to be widened, a separate source said. Traffic issues are likely to flare up, as the intersection of Paramus and Linwood is among the worst in the area. The county planning board would have to agree to road widenings.

Ridgewood Buildings Department Supervisor Tony Merlino declined comment, saying the application has not finished its completion review to kick it up to the zoning board.

Loria is reportedly still searching for one of Ridgewood's elusive liquor licenses. He did not return requests for comment Monday.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

News Man July 03, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Almost like the Ho-Ho-Inn, in the middle of a mixed use zone, that has been there for years, successfully. Suggest we move slowly on this project but, do not close the door to finding an acceptable solution.
jane July 03, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I'm curious to know if the CCR who oppose the hospital expansion would also oppose this project as vehemently? I would expect so, since many - though not all - issues are same.
Dorothy July 03, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I clearly think this could work. If we have commercial buildings on the corners of E. Ridgewood Ave. and Paramus Rd., why not Linwood too. Considering the flood plain and the removal of trees this is something that needs to be addressed for the neighbors. An arborist needs to be consulted on the health of the trees first. Many many need to be taken down as dying or hazardous to begin with and then proceed from there. It will be a lovely local location for an upscale restaurant with hopefully well prepared food for a delightful evening out. I could even walk there! Let's get this going before it is too late.
Michael Sedon July 03, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Jane, I'm not quite sure the CRR would get involved with this one; although I can't speak for the group. The Valley expansion concerned taking a facility that occupies about 524,000 square feet up to more than 1.1 million square feet, demolishing huge buildings, dewatering something like 500,000 gallons of water a day, at least seven years of construction, possibly blasting and thousands of dump truck trips to both remove and bring in materials. So a building expanding to about 10,600 square feet as stated in the above story might be considered small potatoes for the CRR. The more likely candidate for a group that could oppose this plan would probably be organized by the Salem Ridge people, who were the same people that opposed the Baker Residential condos a few years back that were proposed right across Paramus Road from this place.
Wendy G July 03, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I think this proposal is amazing!! That corner needs to be widened anyway and it will only make the area look more beautiful. What a great statement/entrance to Ridgewood it would be. Just imagine how the landscaping will look!! Isn't the "neighbor" on the right of that property a day school? Granted it is in Paramus, but it makes the neighborhood appear to be mixed use anyway.
Marco Maric July 03, 2012 at 05:56 PM
How does taken down 90 trees and putting an overpriced restaurant on a busy corner say "Welcome to Ridgewood"
RB July 03, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Regarding News Man's post. I don't necessarily agree with him comparing the Ho Ho Kus Inn site to the one in question here. Totally different pieces of real estate. As far as the Ho Ho Kus Inn being at their location successfully for years, needs a little more research.
Wendy G July 03, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I would imagine they would have to work on the tree issue somewhat. I too, love trees which is why I have lived in Ridgewood for 55 years. (however, there is a lot of "deadwood" way in the back.....it's a mess. I am sure it would look just a tad better than what is now becoming a very abandoned looking property!!?? Check out the outdoor dining at www.cafematisse.com
Mary July 03, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Sounds wonderful - maybe Valley would like to expand on this site......... if the restaurant doesn't get approval !!
Ally Shuster Shea July 04, 2012 at 02:43 AM
This is hilarious!!! The NIBMY of Ridgewood didnt want a bike path in the area and even got the double dipper Republicans to move the dog run at a great expense cause they didnt want people in the park, and now comes a plan to chop down nearly 100 trees to put in a big resturant (and or course a future catering hall) right in the area, across the creek. The fine R'wood people deserve this parking lot. Looking forward to all the activities between 1 and 3 AM!!
JAFO July 04, 2012 at 02:46 AM
That makes absolutely no sense, and way to keep the fire burning. No wonder people think there is such division in this town...
Ally Shuster Shea July 04, 2012 at 02:49 AM
well since it will cost more county tax money to expand the road and the county intersection, then we can count on Republican contribuor Councilmember Walsh to support killing all of the trees and those on county parkland, especially since Walsh pay to play patron, double dipper donovan supports it..
Cathy Benson July 04, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Well, we all know from the Valley issue that Linwood Ave. has serious traffic issues. I hope that the Ridgewood Planning Board does not again find that more development will solve the traffic issues.

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