—Ermelin Saqe, formerly of Restaurant Lorena’s in Maplewood, is a little over a month into the opening of Jessica’s Café & Wood Fired Pizza in Plainfield. The restaurant space itself is casually elegant, efficient and everyday with lots of sunshine, all of it anchored by the massive wood-burning oven in the corner. Saqe’s menu is largely Italian—Neapolitan pizzas and hot-pressed sandwiches, a small menu of pastas—though there are some French touches (and the foie gras pizza seems like the best way to celebrate that, if you ask us). Jessica’s Café & Wood Fired Pizza, 150 Terrill Road, Plainfield; 908-754-2080
—The Cookie Connect is the kind of business you dreamt of when you were 10—a business dedicated to solely to delivering cookies to the cookie-hungry, even into the late hours of the night. The brainchild of Ali Jajihaidari, who grew up making Christmas cookies with his mom, the business started with a phone app, but demand grew so rapidly that they had to set up a brick-and-mortar location in Bloomfield. Two years later, they’ve added a second location on Chestnut Street in Ridgewood; like the first, it offers delivery but also provides cookie (and ice cream, and cereal bar) pick-up in store. FYI to newbies, you can easily score a classic (oozing) chocolate chip, but late night cookie runs are made for flavors like Capn’s Buried Treasure, with white chocolate chips and Cap’n Crunch or NYC Cheesecake with cream cheese filling and raspberry drizzle. Ice cream and cereal options are equally indulgent. Late night hours run to 2am Friday and Saturday; otherwise the cookie crumbles at midnight. The Cookie Connect, 46 Chestnut Street, Ridgewood; 201-822-5331
In the Works:
—Blossom Asian Bistro currently has locations in Mt. Arlington and Chatham, but any day now they should be opening a third location in downtown Summit. The menu will be modestly pan-Asian, with sushi options, Chinese, and Thai. Like the first two locations, expect a dark but prim interior with modestly pan-Asian accents. Blossom Asian Bistro, 379 Springfield Avenue, Summit; no phone yet.
—Mission BBQ is following up its first successful New Jersey location in Deptford with a second spot in Marlton, scheduled to open this August. Beyond a love of barbecue (the chain does serious pulled pork, brisket, baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs, smoked turkey, sausage, etc.)—there’s another reason to pay attention to the opening date: Since opening their first location in 2011, Mission’s maintained a strong alliance with first responders and the armed forces, and 100 percent of proceeds from the Marlton store’s opening week events will go to local area first responders. Whether you make it in that week or no—and no details on exact opening date yet—every day at noon you can get in on the restaurant’s dual commitment to carnivorism and country with the daily recitation of the Pledge (and then, of course, back to ‘cue). They also do call-ahead large orders. Stay tuned. Mission BBQ, 545 Route 73 North, Marlton; 856-810-811
—Bwè Kafe means “Drink coffee” in Haitian Creole. It’s also the name of a Washington Street café that’s as unique and adored as they come. Bwè opened in part in response to the devastating 2010 earthquake, a coffee shop storefront that’s economically allied with philanthropic recovery programs aimed at restoring the country—especially the children of Haiti—to a better standard of living. Considering Haitian love of coffee, it’s no shock Bwè does a rock solid coffee program (including single origin Haitian coffee, among others), teas and vegan lattes, seasonal drinks, etc., all with an emphasis on community and fair dealing. There’s already a second Bwè location in Jersey City, but for uptown Hoboken residents who’d like to get in on the fun without trekking the (long) mile down Washington, Bwè is opening in the city’s uptown area, just off 14th street and a few minutes from the Hoboken Bow Tie Cinemas. An Instagram post just a couple days ago makes it seem like there’s still a matter of weeks, but with Hoboken, it could be faster. Bwè Kafe, 1405 Washington Street, Hoboken; no phone yet.Click here to leave a comment