Mr. Scalera, who is also public affairs director for Verizon New Jersey, must have been feeling optimistic, because he bought the building. Later he joined two partners - David Anstatt, a builder, and Jose Rodriguez, a real estate developer - and now they own a good part of the block. It is becoming a Newark metaphor of another kind, an emblem of hope, and 27 Mix, the restaurant on the ground floor of No. 27 (the top two floors are still residential), is its centerpiece. The restaurant opened in July 2005, and like downtown Newark it has a way to go. The kitchen is sometimes uneasy with the middle-of-the-road New American menu, and the sweet, earnest service can become sclerotic when things get busy. But even that is a sign of how far things have come since Mr. Scalera, now 56, arrived: back then, "busy" was an alien concept in this part of town.

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