—After a soft opening in late December, Anthony Bucco’s much-anticipated Felina is fully open in Ridgewood. Chef Bucco is at the helm of the ultra-refined menu, with Martyna Krowicka (formerly of Restaurant Latour) working the line as chef de cuisine. Expect seriously refined modern Italian built on local proteins and produce, with a sleek cocktail and drinks program. Felina, 54 East Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood; 551-276-5454
—Pasha Mezze Grill quietly opened just before the holidays hit, housed in the former home of Fazzolare’s Italian Bistro in Lake Hiawatha. The menu is intriguingly pan-Mediterranean, with dishes presumably representing “Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, Italy, and Cyprus.” Familiar plates abound (meat kebabs, babaganoush, Shepherd salad, char-grilled smoky Spanish octopus), but exploration beckons with dishes like Erishte (Mediterranean noodles with tomato and walnut), Turkish Gozleme (cheese-filled flat bread), and the wintry beet and carrot mix of a cold Ensalada Russa. Weekend brunch is another distinguishing factor. BYO. Pasha Mezza Grill, 94 North Beverwyck Road, Lake Hiawatha; 973-265-4982
—Technique has finally opened in the former home of Caffe Anello in Westwood. Keeping up a seeming trend in French revival in the Garden State (Faubourg in Montclair and the Little Hen soon to come in Haddonfield), Technique’s prim menu focuses on classic French “with an American accent,” with chef Ross Goldflam putting out dishes like escargots with Bordeaux and bone marrow, Halibut in a beurre blanc with fingerling potatoes, and coq au vin with lardons and pearl onion. Technique, 425 Broadway, Westwood; 201-722-1222
—Sweetening the French trend in North Jersey is the recently opened Pierre & Michel Bakery in Ridgewood, the second outpost for the business (the first opened in Elmwood Park two and a half years ago). Helmed by duo Pierre Chahime and Michel Khoury, the bakery’s second location is just days into continuing its legacy of ultra-French, ultra-refined, generally exquisite baked goods. You’ll find the full rainbow of the classic French bakery (beautiful gateaux, dainty macaron, tarts, croissants, and rows of Viennese pastry), which you can take out or cuddle up with on one of the cozy couches and devour with some hot coffee. Phone not (yet) connected, but definitely open. Pierre & Michel Bakery, 38 East Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood; no phone yet.
In the Works:
—Formerly working out of a commercial kitchen space, Regina’s Sweet Temptations is set to open the doors on its bright pink interior in Park Ridge very soon. Founded in 2015 by namesake baker Regina Davis, the bakery does cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and other sweet treats, specializing in custom cakes and personal-touch goodies for events. Regina’s Sweet Temptations, 133 Park Avenue, Park Ridge; 201-491-1819
—Set to open on Essex Street for some time now, Bite Food & Coffee Co. appears to be looking for managers to run the café and coffee shop. Taking into account training time, that means the long-awaited space could open within a matter of weeks. Bite Food & Coffee Co., Essex Street, Hackensack; no phone yet.
—Napolitano-style Aumm Aumm Pizzeria & Wine Bar in North Bergen is in the works to open a second location in Englewood. The original location on the corner of Broadway in North Bergen boasted a 150+ wine list, which we assume will be repeated (if not matched) in Englewood. As for the menu, pizza will feature, obviously, but we’re just as interested to see if the menu keeps up the rustic/refined Napolitano bites put out by chef Antonio Savino. No word on exact opening date, though front- and back-of-house job postings went up about a month ago, so chances are they’ll open within weeks (rather than months). Aumm Aumm Pizzeria & Wine Bar at the Brownstone, 22 Nordhoff Place, Englewood; no phone yet.
—Robert Esposito, owner of the beloved Espo’s in Raritan, passed away over the holidays following a two-year battle with leukemia, and the restaurant itself—a cozy Italian neighborhood mainstay where Esposito worked for 45 years—has closed its doors. As rumors of the restaurant’s possible closure were confirmed, locals bid the place farewell prior to its closure on December 28. The closing has been aptly called “the end of an era” by its many enthusiastic regulars. Espo’s, 10 2nd Street, Raritan.Click here to leave a comment