In 1994, Princeton University awarded an honorary Master-Hoagie-Maker degree to Hoagie Haven owner George Angeletopoulos. By then the sandwich shop had been providing affordable (if absurdly caloric) meals for more than 20 years and had become something of a Central Jersey legend. The wall over the register has borne affectionately signed photos ranging from local high school football teams to H.H. patrons at the Great Wall of China. Most poignant is the bench outside, donated by the family of a 9/11 victim who wanted to honor their son’s tradition of sharing a sandwich with his friends.
The hoagies ($4.90-$9.95) are big, fresh, satisfying, and delicious. Loyal customers may find their idiosyncrasies enshrined: “Sander’s Fries” recall a patron who added bacon to his cheese fries; “The Bloch” is named for a Prince-ton student (class of 2006) who topped his chicken parm sandwich with bacon and a fried egg. The combination works.
Today the Haven is owned by brothers Mike, Niko, and Costa Maltabes, second cousins of Angeletopoulos. It’s still a scene, especially at 1 or 2 am after the local bars and Princeton eating clubs have closed. The aroma of the grill draws scores of hungry customers. The ceaseless brrring of the original hand-cranked cash register can barely be heard over the hubbub.—Stan Parish
242 Nassau Street (609-921-7723)