About this Business
From Our Editors
A white-clapboard Victorian house perched atop a grassy knoll and surrounded by a sprawling lawn and stately oaks, Paulie's Anna Rose Restaurant might be overlooked as the home of a well-to-do family. Yet, beneath the prim, painstakingly maintained exterior, a surprisingly lush history stretches back. More than 150 years old, the house served time as a stagecoach-frequented inn before transforming into a bustling, inconspicuous, Prohibition-era speakeasy. Today, owner Paulie Villareal and his wife, Colleen, take responsibility for its latest incarnation, which they named for Paulie, his mother, and Colleen’s mother, according to a glowing profile in the Times of Trenton.
As a young man, Paulie worked for his father at their family-owned diner, then followed his fascination with the gourmet arts to culinary school. Upon graduation, he fluttered through Atlantic City kitchens, honing his skills before landing in West Trenton at Paulie’s Anna Rose Restaurant. Now, this Italian giant has become a place of pilgrimage for his loyal Atlantic City diners.
Inside this culinary destination, a pair of cozy dining rooms houses a fireplace, gleaming woodwork, and framed paintings that help guests feel at home, but not so at home that they arrive to the table in their pajamas. Tucked up next to a white tablecloth, they dive into authentic dishes of chicken and veal blanketed in garlic white-wine sauces and cognac demi glazes. Their forks also sink into herb-encrusted salmon and angeloni fish or reel in tangles of pasta with classic, pink-vodka blush and marinara sauces. On summer days, diners lounge on a patio as they complete these feasts with one of Colleen’s desserts, such as her jaw-dropping banana cream pie, and on chillier evenings, they can warm their insides with wine and other libations at the full bar, instead of eating a log and then swallowing a match.