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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.

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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