—Caffe Anello and Sogno Coffeehouse have reopened at their new digs in downtown Westwood after a several-months-long sabbatical. The overall cozy feel of the open-kitchen Tuscan restaurant is still there, as are things like house-roasted coffee and freshly made pasta, but the dining room is a bit roomier and the Tuscan-inspired restaurant will be, too. Chefs John Vitale and Matthew Borgersen are looking forward to a grand reopening soon. Caffe Anello and Sogno Coffehouse, 11 Madison Avenue, Westwood; 201-786-8137
—According to owner and head baker Arben Gasi, Le French Dad is just about a month and a half into its opening after taking over the former home of Le Petit Parisien in Montclair. From the looks of its Instagram, things are going golden-brown-terrific—no surprise as Gasi is a passionate self-taught bread baker with experience at New York’s famed Maison Kayser. The menu goes beyond baguettes; think crusty pain de campagne with French lentil soup, croque-monsieur, pain au chocolat, a rainbow of macarons, and shamelessly seductive individual pastries and tarts. And café beverages, bien sur. Le French Dad Boulangerie & Café, 10 Church Street, Montclair; 973-746-0288
—The Blue Horse Restaurant is also be about one month into its tenure at the corner of South 3rd and Raritan Avenue in Highland Park. The menu is family-friendly, comfort-packed and familiar, though appetizers read like cosmopolitan pub fare (in a good way), with garlicky Spanish shrimp, Bavarian pretzels, and something alluringly called General Tso’s Cauliflower. Promises of local and artisan abound on the website. The Blue Horse, 247 Raritan Avenue, Highland Park; 732-430-2583
—The “ssam” or Korean lettuce wrap is a fixture of the Korean buffet at the just-opened GOGO Galbi in Paramus (they even have instructions on how to eat it—typically filled with meat, scallion, pickled radish). For dinner they’ll also have some DIY Korean BBQ options with (smokeless) barbecue grills at each table. Meat options range from classic marinated Bulgogi to beef tongue, pork jowl, and gochujang-marinated pork belly. This is the latest incarnation of Korean BBQ at this spot; time will tell if this place has staying power. GOGO Galbi, 123 Paramus Road, Paramus; 201-843-8885
In the Works:
—Chinese restaurant Chef Tan already has one location in Highland Park (within walking distance to the Blue Horse) and one in Woodbridge Township, and they’re almost set to open another in the Newport area of Jersey City. Don’t expect just another lo mein takeout spot, though chances are they can accommodate that. Chef Tan highlights Hunan and Sichuan cuisine, digging deeper into those culinary repertoires than your average Americanized Chinese food menu (beef with tripe, broiled whole fish, lamb with cumin, spicy Chongqing style fried chicken, Hunan frog, lots of chili oil, etc.). Chef Tan, 558 Washington Boulevard, Jersey City; no phone yet.
—Get your wet naps handy, Harrison. Not much is known so far except that Old Country BBQ is in the works at 770 Harrison Avenue, Harrison; 862-255-2647
—African Pot Eatery & Bar is in the early stages of pre-opening in Elizabeth. 564 South Broad Street, Elizabeth; no phone yet.
—Ruth’s Chris iconic steakhouse will make yet another home for itself at the Bergen Town Center in Maywood, officially opening its doors on Monday, November 19. Israel Jimenez, formerly of Eight4Nine and Ruth’s Chris in Weehawken, will oversee the menu. Ruth’s Chris, 83 W. Spring Valley Avenue, Bergen Town Center, Maywood; 551-258-0013
—In 1987, when he was a senior in high school, Steve Renke took a day off from school to get the keys to what became Demarest Pizzeria, which he owned and operated for 31 years. Renke died suddenly in August. After a tremendous outpouring of support from the community, the beloved pizzeria announced it will be shutting its doors for good at the end of November. Demarest Pizzeria, 130 Hardenburgh Avenue, Demarest.
—Moorestown seems to be continuing its commercial metamorphosis. After the closures of Pei Wei, Catelli Duo, and Castrito, and the opening of several businesses at the Moorestown Mall, Don Pablo’s Tex-Mex Restaurant announced the closure of their Moorestown location several days ago. The restaurant parent company had already filed for bankruptcy, and the location at 1361 Nixon Drive is now shuttered.Click here to leave a comment