On a recent sunny afternoon, when I found myself hungry in Hackettstown, I wandered into Stella G’s charming bistro and was wowed by its worldly menu.
After globe-trotting careers as a chef and pastry chef, Bruno and Maureen Gublemann started serving their culinary creations nine years ago in this lovely little downtown café, where together they create extraordinary breakfasts and lunches with the finest and freshest ingredients.
Stella G’s ship lathe walls, country-store lace curtains and bleached barn-wood floors are a far cry from the ornate halls of The Manor in West Orange, where Swiss-born Bruno cooked fancy meals for large crowds after his European culinary training. The couple met when Maureen, a CIA graduate, was working at a baking apprenticeship in Switzerland.
Often, there is a line of patrons out the door waiting for a seat at one of the sixteen tables or at the small pull-up bar, but the wait is well worth it to start the day digging into a plate of banana raisin oatmeal pancakes or French toast stuffed with ricotta, berries and toasted almonds.
In addition to eggs and omelets with crispy shreds of rosti potatoes and golden-brown toast, there are always special breakfasts like the German Butcher Casserole, a piping hot skillet packed with country ham, bratwurst, bacon, scrambled eggs, peppers, potatoes, cheddar cheese and a corn muffin.
Although breakfast is served open to close, the lunch menu is a full one. Appetizers include sage polenta fries with gorgonzola salsa, and the delectable little—that manage to be crunchy and creamy at the same time—served over arugula with a tomato coulis and Parmesan.
There are also platters of burgers, salads and wraps, as well as sandwiches like a baguette piled with short rib, caramelized onion and melted jack cheese, and a ‘TBLT’ featuring a cornmeal dusted Tilapia filet, bacon, lettuce and tomato with lots of lemon-scallion tartar sauce.
It may be a midday meal, but I highly recommend leaving room for one of Maureen’s desserts. Cakes, cobblers and crème brulee are all worth the splurge, or like I did, maybe get a to-go order of strudel or fruit-filled scones that will keep that satisfied feeling going throughout the rest of the day.
Stella G’s, 186 Main Street, Hackettstown, 908-813-0625, stellags.com. Open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday.
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