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Specialty Shops In The Garden State

You can get anything you want (and goodies you never imagined) at the burgeoning brood of gourmet stores and markets across the state.

Posted March 12, 2013

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Fairchilds Market
At Fairchilds Market in Hanover, that stands for Libations, Oddments and Victuals, the proclaimed stock in trade of the New Englandish country store with a hip Brooklynish ambience.


Alan’s Orchard (Westfield) Only foods that are sustainably, locally and organically produced get through the door here. Free-range poultry, grass-fed beef, fresh produce, honey, dark chocolate—none of it comes from farther away than Pennsylvania or upstate New York. Organic milk is sold in charmingly retro glass bottles, just like the bottles milkmen delivered to suburban Jersey doorsteps in the ’50s. Enroll in Alan’s Fresh Box program for weekly curbside pickup of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables (May through December) from over 30 New Jersey farms for $24.99. “Think of us as a really great farmers’ market with more convenient hours and a roof overhead,” says Alan’s website. 102 Quimby St; 908-654-0700, alansorchard.com.— Joanna Buffum

Affinage (Fairfield) The décor is minimalist, the cheese selection anything but. The staff know their cheeses, gathered from 16 countries including the United States, and they know how to pair them with apt accompaniments like honey, herbs, nuts, spices, patés, tapenades and more. Affinage’s French name refers to a cheese-aging chamber, which the store has on site. 244 Rte 46; 855-324-3373, affinagecheese.com.—Sophia Ahn

Barth’s Market (New Providence) On its website, Barth’s says you can call its employees butchers, food specialists or experts—“Just don’t call them foodies, or you might find your chuck loin where your rump roast used to be.” Customers who admit to being foodies will want to check out this utopia for carnivores, from its glass cases of deli meat to its house-made sausages hanging from the ceiling. Owner Jim Barth grew up in the store and carries on the family tradition of making bologna, ham, bacon and more, including many prepared foods. Barth’s carries fresh seafood and poultry as well. Jim’s grandfather, a German immigrant, opened the market in Elizabeth in 1940. It put down roots in New Providence in 1960. A decade ago, the market expanded to include produce and baked goods, and now offers online ordering. 41 South St; 908-464-8555, barthsmarket.com.—SA

Bon Appetit Fine Foods (Princeton) Pleasing Princetonians since the 1960s, Bon Appetit packs a lot into a small space: more than 250 cheeses, caviar, foie gras, fresh truffles in season, charcuterie, gourmet sandwiches, panini and prepared foods. The shelves bulge with domestic and imported oils, vinegars, candies—you name it. A large adjoining café lets people who can’t wait dig right in. Princeton Shopping Center, 301 N. Harrison St; 609-924-7755, bonappetitfinefoods.com.­—Pat Tanner

Brick Farm Market (Hopewell) Hyper-local and due to open in April, it’s the retail store of Robin and Jon McConaughy’s Double Brook Farm. The couple’s sustainably produced meats, poultry, eggs and produce sell out regularly, as do the products made from those ingredients, including sausages, charcuterie, baked goods, ice cream and prepared foods. Coffee is provided by Small World. The McConaughys’ team includes chef Chase Gerstenbacher, formerly of Terra Momo Group, and baker Karen Child of the late, lamented Village Bakery. 65 East Broad St, 609-333-9200; brickfarmmarket.com. —PT

Calandra’s Italian Village (Caldwell) It does take a village—to cover all the bases here: pizzeria, lounge, deli/market, gelato and espresso bar and more. Occupying 45,000 square feet, the joined facilities flow one into the next. Il Vecchio Café has 200 seats, including some outdoors. The market offers fresh and frozen pastas, soups and other prepared foods. No Calandra’s location would be complete without its famed fresh breads. Founder Luciano Calandra used to say, “Burn your customer’s hands with the bread. The more you do that, the more they will love it.” Luciano’s sons hold to tradition, ringing a bell every hour as fresh, hot bread comes out of the oven. 234 Bloomfield Ave; 973-226-8889, calandrasitalianvillage.com—SA

Ceriello Marketplace (Medford) In 2008, Larry Robinson left a successful career as executive chef of the Princeton-based Terra Momo Restaurant Group (Eno Terra, Mediterra, Teresa Cafe) to found this 2,400-square-foot Italian grocery and butcher shop. Ceriello dry ages its own prime beef and makes its own sausages. Robinson’s prepared foods—mac and cheese, Salisbury steak and rotisserie chicken complement the Italian dishes—have been well received, as have his cooking classes. Shelves are laden with imported olive oils, vinegars, pastas, coffee and treats. 413 Stokes Rd (Cross Keys Shopping Center); 609-953-4330, ceriellomarketplace.com. ­—PT

Corrado’s (Clifton, Wayne, Fairfield) Expanding from a single leased space at the Paterson Avenue Farmers’ Market in 1955 to an 18,000-square-foot building opened in Clifton in 1975 to sell produce, Corrado’s now comprises three huge food markets, two pet food stores, a garden center, a beer- and wine-making emporium and even a gas station. At least a dozen members of the Corrado family keep this discount empire humming. One key to their success has been stocking meats, cheeses, seafood, produce and groceries that meet the needs of the local ethnic communities. Always crowded on weekends. 1578 Main Ave, Clifton; 973-340-0628. 201 Berdan Ave, Wayne; 973-646-2199. 480 Rte 46 E, Fairfield; 973-808-0400. corradosmarket.com. ­—PT

Dearborn Market (Holmdel) Dearborn has stayed true to its agricultural roots. It was started in 1950 by Dominick Lucarelli, whose father, Frank, operated a truck farm on the site dating to 1925. Dearborn is known for its impeccable produce and fresh fruit pies. A major expansion seven years ago created more room for the deli, butcher shop, bakery and indoor and outdoor garden centers. 2170 Rte 35; 732-264-0256, dearbornmarket.com. ­—PT

Delicious Orchards (Colts Neck) You’re not a true Jerseyan until you’ve had an apple pie from this 60,000-square-foot megamarket, which began in 1911 as an apple orchard in Colts Neck. More than 2.5 million visitors a year shop here for meats, cheeses, salads, baked goods, prepared foods and gourmet grocery items. There’s even a garden center and a café. But the Delicious name rests on its apple products: fresh cider (hot and cold), cider donuts, fritters and, of course, three types of apple pie—including the recipe of Janet Barclay, wife of the original farmstand owner. 200 Rte 34; 732-462-1989, deliciousorchardsnj.com. ­—PT

Fairchilds Market (Roseland) The declared specialty here is LOV—Libations, Oddments and Victuals. If those words sound old-fashioned, that’s the point. Fairchild’s, which opened as William’s Market in 1927, has maintained its small-town ambience along with its wood floors and tin ceiling. But the offerings are up to date: hard-to-find wines, gift baskets, a broad catering menu, gourmet sandwiches and local specialties (including cream of mushroom soup from Pals Cabin in West Orange and a Sloppy Joe modeled on the 1930s South Orange original). 171 Eagle Rock Ave; 973-226-0400, fairchildsmarket.com.—SA

Fairway (Paramus, Woodland Park) When it was just the packed-to-the-gills bargain center of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Fairway was already billing itself as, “Like no other market.” Now there are 12 stores, including two in Jersey at least twice the size of the original. The combination of the everyday and the exotic still justifies the slogan. Fairway includes signature departments like cheese (600 varieties) and coffee (nearly 100), and a wide range of highly regarded private-label products. Woodland Park also sells beer and wine and sports a 50-seat café. 30 E Ridgewood Ave, Paramus; 201-444-5455. 1510 US 46 W (Kohl’s Shopping Center), Woodland Park; 973-339-5103. fairwaymarket.com. ­—PT

Gary’s Wine & Marketplace (Madison, Bernardsville, Wayne) In 2012, on the 25th anniversary of launching his first store, Gary Fisch was named Retailer of the Year by Beverage Dynamics magazine. His newest and largest outlet (24,000 square feet, in Wayne) was cited for “sheer pizzazz,” with its Tuscan-villa front and fresh flower station. Along with the prodigious collection of wine (Napa, a specialty), beer and spirits, each store features Balthazar breads, 150-plus cheeses, top-notch charcuterie, spreads, chocolates, baked goods, fresh-made salads, sandwiches and grab-and-go meals. 121 Main St, Madison; 973-822-0200. 100 Morristown Rd, Rte 202 (Bernardsville Plaza), Bernardsville; 908-766-6699. 1308 Rte 23 N, Wayne; 973-633-3900. garyswine.com. ­—PT

Highland Gourmet (Kingwood) This sprawling, barnlike market is prized for fantastic ground beef (some of it from its own cattle), hand-cut steaks and all-natural chicken. While you’re here, pick up fine Valley Shepherd cheeses and wines from a boutique selection. Local honey, handmade pies and baked goods, prepared foods, freezers full of pot pies, specialty groceries—these barely graze the surface of what’s offered. Single-vineyard olive oil from Umbria is sold in refillable bottles, and you can fill your own cruet with balsamic vinegar from Modena, aged two years in oak barrels. 343 County Rd 519; 908-996-3362, highlandmarket.com. ­—PT

Jerry’s Homemade (Englewood) In 1972, Jerry Turci ran a store on 17th Street in New York City selling high-end fragrances and cosmetics at bargain prices. But returning from a trip to London, where his jaw dropped at the sumptuous food court at Harrods, Turci pushed cosmetics to the rear and built a deli counter up front. In 1990, he moved his operation to Englewood. Still selling high quality at low prices, Turci sets out more than 60 different prepared foods daily, always including Italian staples like eggplant rollatini and broccoli rabe with sausage. Turci now carries almost 1,500 wines, not to mention 1,000 types of cheese. Located seconds off Route 4 near the George Washington Bridge, the store attracts patrons from across the tristate area. And hey: Balthazar Bakery is just a few blocks up the street. 410 S Dean St; 201-871-7108, jerryshomemade.com.—JB

Joe Leone’s (Point Pleasant Beach, Sea Girt) In 1997, fresh out of the CIA, Joe Leone opened an Italian bakery and sold about 140 loaves a week. These days he produces 10,000 a week, including loaves variously stuffed with eggplant, sausage, pepperoni and mozzarella. Leone carries imported Italian groceries, but the keystones of his success are his Italian heroes and traditional prepared foods like rigatoni alla vodka, stuffed peppers and pork cutlets Milanese. Daily specials often venture beyond Italia in dishes like salmon with dill and brown-sugar glaze. The Sea Girt satellite, tagged Gastronomica, is stationed inside Egan’s Sea Girt Wines & Liquors. 510 Rte 35 S, Pt Pleasant Beach; 732-701-0001. 527 Washington Blvd, Sea Girt; 732-681-1036. joeleones.com. ­—PT

John’s Meat Market (Scotch Plains) Offering beautifully marbled prime beef, including their own 21-day dry-aged steaks, plus American lamb and free-range, hormone- and antibiotic-free poultry, the second and third generations of the Lovasio family capture statewide Best Of awards year after year. With its tin ceiling and worn wood floors, John’s (founded in 1939) is old school, but au courant enough to carry grass-fed beef, D’Artagnan game, heat-and-eat pot pies, heat-and-eat barbecued ribs, Italian entrées and more. Considering the quality, prices are fair, but weekly package deals sweeten the bottom line. 389 Park Ave; 908-322-7126. johnsmarket.com. ­—PT

Market Basket (Franklin Lakes) Locals love this place, not only for the freshness and quality of its meat, fish, produce, deli, prepared foods, flowers and confections (including house-made chocolates), but also for its friendly, über-helpful staff—like one butcher who explained how to cook a particular cut, then wrote down instructions. One regular says she’s glad they supply only handbaskets, because if they had carts she’d go broke. A recent expansion means more products than ever—and, management says, more deals at attractive prices. 813 Franklin Lakes Rd; 201-891-2000, marketbasket.com. ­—PT

Monterey Gourmet (Bernardsville) Also known as the Gourmet Food Emporium, Monterey specializes in catering, and in line with that, always presents an array of prepared foods at the store. The hors d’oeuvres menu is impressive, featuring baby lamb chops with herbed crust, mini veggie sliders on brioche with Napa slaw and ginger dressing, feta and sun-dried tomatoes baked in phyllo, and a shooter filled with poached oysters and bisque. Gift baskets come in themes such as Office Party, Tailgate, Chocolate Fantasy or the Jersey-centric Taste of the Garden State. 167 Morristown Rd; 908-766-2000, montereygourmetshops.com. —JB

Sickles Market (Little Silver) Last year NJM readers made Sickles a repeat winner in four Jersey Choice categories—florist, garden center, gift shop and gourmet market (and runner-up in bread and butcher). The farmland that includes the market was bestowed on the family by a King’s Land Grant in 1663. Bob Sickles’s father, 85, still grows vegetables and berries on the land. With Bob’s daughter Tori as the marketing manager, three generations are involved. Branching out, the family organizes cooking and gardening classes, community-based charity events, and day trips and tours (on food, wine or flowers) locally or to places as far off as Paris, Provence and Sicily. 1 Harrison Ave; 732-741-9563, sicklesmarket.com. ­—PT

S. Maresca & Sons (Sergeantsville) Emil Maresca, 83, still works the butcher counter at the market his father, Salvatore, established in 1943. He tallies purchases in pencil on brown paper bags. Maresca’s house-made Italian sausages, house-smoked cuts and fresh meats—many from nearby farms—have been extolled in Saveur and the New York Times. Along with Italian specialties such as meatballs and ready-to-cook beef braciole, Maresca’s makes its own chorizo and bratwurst, and sells local produce, eggs, imported cheeses and grocery items. 763 Rte 523; 609-397-3543. ­—PT

Valley Shepherd Creamery (Long Valley) Some of Eran Wajswol’s award-winning sheep’s-milk and mixed-milk cheeses and yogurt are sold at farmers’ markets, but to get the full selection of about 30 cheeses, visit the on-site Sheep Shoppe. From its 700 sheep and goats, Valley Shepherd produces cheeses with names that honor localities (Oldwick, Tewksbury) or that aim for the funnybone (Nettlesome, Gotogetagoat). The shop sells its own butter, grass-fed lamb, woolen toys and blankets, imported goods and specialties from around the country, including gelato, charcuterie, olive oil, vinegar, bread, confections, honey, jams and preserves. Tours are offered as well as cheese-making classes and cheese and wine tastings. 50 Fairmount Rd; 908-876-3200, valleyshepherd.com. ­—PT

Click here to read more about homegrown New Jersey foods.


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