Branching Out: Shops Open New Locations

These popular eateries have expanded into the Garden State.

Rosie will be on vacation until mid-March. Guest blogger Tammy LaGorce will post in her place, unless otherwise noted.

Good news for grownups: New Yorker Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar, “the candy store for adults,” is getting a second New Jersey location in Asbury Park. And it’s not just another shop to Nelson, even though she already owns more than a dozen in New York: Asbury Park—the biggest store to open yet—will become Chocolate Bar’s headquarters.

Nelson launched Chocolate Bar in 2002 in Manhattan’s downtown and instantly attracted bold-name customers like Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson with her quirky-cheeky vibe. Treats like gourmet Nutella pop tarts and Fruity Pebble and other “cereal killer” bars cemented the shops’ success. Her first Jersey Shore location in Manasquan opened in 2013.

Chocolate Bar Asbury Park is meant to be a hangout as much as a chocolate shop. The full-service café will have a vintage-modern feel, and Chocolate Bar AP will also have a full bakery, a chocolate kitchen and a gift area. An old-fashioned soda bar will offer more than 10 kinds of hot chocolate and signature teas. Tastings and classes are in the works, too. There’s even a performance stage planned for cross-promotions with Lakehouse Music Academy, Shoreline Dance Academy (in the Jersey Shore Arts Center), and visiting artists. 140 Main St., Manasquan, 732-292-4500 and 631 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park (no phone yet).

Below, a few other establishments that are branching out—or into—New Jersey:

Casual Habana Cafe (Hackensack, now New Milford)
Benito Rivero of Casual Habana Cafe in Hackensack opened his second, bigger location in New Milford in 2015 and—good news—this one has a bar. Rivero, whose menus are Cuban at heart but with Spanish and South American influences, studied at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York and worked in some city restaurants (Latour, Craftsteak) before opening in Hackensack. The new restaurant and bar has a tapas bar/lounge specializing in mojitos, sangria and daiquiris plus a dining room with a dedicated Cuban menu. The bar and restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. 125 Main St., Hackensack, 201-880-9844 and 200 Main St., New Milford, 201-576-0400

Catelli Duo Osteria & Wine Bar (Voorhees, now Collingswood)
The Italian favorite Catelli Duo, in Voorhees Township, will be expanding to a second location at the Moorestown Mall soon (opening date TBA). Taking over the former location of Marc Vetri’s Osteria, the restaurant will offer some of the same dishes as its original location, such as artisan pizzas Both locations have wine bars and cocktails. Catelli Duo is a spinoff of Catelli Ristorante, a pricier restaurant that operated from 1994 to 2011 at the Main Street Complex in Voorhees. Owner Robert Dunn Sr. is preparing for more Catelli Duo locations both regionally and nationally. 1201 Town Center Blvd., Voorhees Township, 856-751-6069 and coming soon to the Moorestown Mall, 400 NJ-38, Moorestown (no phone yet).

The Committed Pig (Manasquan, now Morristown)
Committed Pig, now in Morristown (as of last year) as well as Manasquan, is built on comfort food. Owner Jerry Rotuno attracts the hungry and unpretentious with breakfasts like Nutella stuffed French toast with fresh strawberries; “pig fries,” or waffle fries with mornay sauces, bacon and gravy; and fried pickles. Salads are available, but this is a place to indulge in fattening favorites, i.e., to pig out.  168 Main St., Manasquan, 732-528-9400 and 28 W. Park Pl., Morristown, 862-260-9292

Del Frisco Grille (Manhattan, now Hoboken)
This modern American bar and grill arrived in New Jersey just last year after establishing itself with outposts in cities including Manhattan, Atlanta and Fort Worth. The Hoboken location offers al fresco dining on the waterfront, plus a full bar with signature cocktails and creative dishes like cheesesteak egg rolls. Steaks, hearty salads and sandwiches the restaurant calls “formidable” are among the standbys and favorites.  221 River St., Hoboken, 201-653-0195 and many locations outside N.J.

Fish Urban Dining (Asbury Park, now Ridgewood)
The second Fish landed in Ridgewood last July after a strong showing in Asbury Park. The Ridgewood building is noteworthy: it’s the town’s oldest bank, heavily and pleasingly renovated. Both locations have raw bars as well as full wine-beer-and-cocktail bars, and “big fish” as well as “little fish” menus for seafood lovers of all appetites and inclinations.  601 Mattison Ave., Asbury Park, 732-455-8181 and 54 East Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood, 201-857-5151

Kinara Indian Restaurant (Edgewater, now Tenafly)
The new Kinara opened in Tenafly last fall, and management seems to have settled on the if-it-ain’t-broke approach: the menu is mostly the same at both places. There’s a lunch buffet with Indian classics, and those classics also turn up at dinner — curry, chicken tikka, biryani. Both places offer an “Indian Chinese” menu, which is explained as “the adaptation of Indian spices in Chinese food.” Examples include hot garlic shrimp and Mandarin fish. 880 River Rd., Edgewater, 201-313-0555 and 10 Jay St., Tenafly, 201-399-7788/7789

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