Campania Restaurant Closes Three Months After Chef's Suicide
Philip Neuman—who purchased the Italian restaurant eight days before chef Joe Cerniglia's suicide in September—plans to reopen the venue under a new name early next year, the Record reported.
Jessica, a waitress at the venue, said "Thank you for calling what used to be known as Campania" when she answered the phone on Wednesday morning. She then confirmed with Patch that the restaurant has shut down.
On Sept. 16, eight days before chef Joe Cerniglia jumped from the George Washington Bridge, Cerniglia and his business partners sold CWB1—the company that operated Campania—to Campania Holding Corp. for $288,000.
The Record reported on Tuesday that according to Campania chef Everald Gayle, the managing director of Campania Holding Corp.—Philip Neuman—intends to reopen the restaurant under a new name early next year. When asked by Patch to confirm that information, Jessica, the Campania waitress, said "that's what I'm told."
"There might be a liquor license too," Jessica said, explaining that Campania was previously a BYOB restaurant.
Both Gayle and Neuman could not immediately be reached for comment by Patch. Gayle told the Record that Neuman did not give Campania employees a reason for why the restaurant was closed, other than that he plans to renovate the facility.
Cerniglia–named one of the state's top five chefs by Inside Jersey magazine this past January–was found floating dead in the Hudson River on Sept. 24. He was 39. Around the country, Cerniglia was best known for Campania's 2007 appearance on "Kitchen Nightmares," a Fox reality show in which British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay tries to rescue struggling restaurants by restructuring their operations.
A resident of Wayne, Cerniglia won Chef Central's Bergen County Ultimate Chef Competition in 2008, was a former executive chef at the Gallagher's Steakhouse chain in New York and bought Campania six years ago. The restaurant was awarded with the distinction of "New Jersey's Best Meatball" by Bergen County in 2007.