Food Factory edges toward grand opening celebration

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The anticipated new restaurant catering to the Zerega industrial business community has finally arrived on the scene to provide gourmet food for all kinds of palates.

The eatery, The Food Factory at 1315 Commerce Avenue at Waterbury Avenue near the Department of Motor Vehicles has already opened for business, and is planning a grand opening celebration that will occur sometime in the coming weeks.

The Food Factory brings the quality of food and ambiance found in Manhattan breakfast and lunch eateries to the Bronx at a fraction of the price, and promises to get customers who only have a 30-minute lunch break or less in and out of the restaurant with quality food without throwing them off schedule at work.

“People like to get out of their offices, even if it is for only 10 minutes,” said Gene Lemongelli, a Bronx resident who founded the restaurant with his partner Tom Vlahakis. “We are very efficient with a high quality product that is already ready when the customer comes in, but we ensure that the quality of the food is as if it was made for them right there on the spot.”

Current hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The eatery serves both breakfast and lunch, and will soon have a newsstand and dinners-to-go. Outdoor seating is also planned for sometime in the near future.

In just a short time, the new addition to the community has been deemed a big success, according to its owners. 

“The lunch crowd is coming in blasts of 75 people,” Lemongelli continued. “I always tell my employees that what most of this is about, besides quality food, is service, service, service.”

The soft opening has included food from a wide variety of ethnic origins, with consulting chef Ronjit Gomes making sure that the food is up to par with the highest standards of quality.

“I work with the head chef, Chef Ralph to make sure everything is done properly when it comes not only to ingredients, but also food preparation, how to properly freeze food, and make sure the kitchen runs correctly from top to bottom,” noted Gomes, who has worked in the Middle East and Bermuda, and has even cooked a meal for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Lemongelli and Vlahakis said they are still tweaking the menu, which includes Italian, Asian, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and other kinds of food.

“One of the things we realized, for instance, is that most people prefer to buy a combination meal when buying breakfast, so we added combo breakfast meals,” Lemongelli explained. “I want this to be like the old-fashioned places I remember when I was growing up.”

Updated 5:29 pm, October 21, 2011
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