Stephen Starr Veterans Open Porch & Proper in Collingswood

Plus: Other openings in Park Ridge, Fair Lawn, Hackensack and beyond.

* Collingswood is already home to restaurants like Zeppoli and Hearthside, and on Tuesday its dining scene got even stronger with the opening of Porch & Proper. The partnership between veteran Stephen Starr restaurateur Jason Simkins and chef Ryan McQuillan is housed in the former home of IndeBlue.

The space has been transformed by designer Hillary O’Carroll, opened up with an emphasis on light and elegant naturalism—think walnut, crushed velvet, herbs and flowers that grace the space and menu. The interior seats 50, with room for 20 more on the eponymous porch. McQuillan worked at Philadelphia’s iconic Le Bec-Fin, but found his footing at Talula (also in Philadelphia), and considers his new Collingswood home a kind of proving ground for his own standards and culinary aspirations. The menu is contemporary, delicately whimsical, consistently thoughtful (and thoughtfully sourced) food, with a global seasonality that flits casually from Octopus yakitori to Hudson Valley foie-and-doughnuts to McQuillan’s take on Lebanese kibbeh naye (lamb tartare). Porch & Proper, 619 West Collings Avenue, Collingswood; 856-477-2105

*Hit the newly-opened Il Freno Espresso Bar in Park Ridge for your caffeine-meets-cycling fix. The coffee bar has its own entrance, but is connected spiritually, and structurally, to Cyclesport upstairs. The drinks menu is stylishly Italian with beans from La Colombe to go with Belgian waffles or beautiful-looking pastries from Balthazar. Il Freno Espresso Bar, 81 Park Avenue, Park Ridge; 201-856-8036

*The menu at Ada Mediterranean Grill in Fair Lawn ranges from lighter seafood and elegant mezze to thick piles of spice-flecked hummus and lots of meat and kebabs. The dining room is wide and bright, though takeout will be a major part of the business. Ada Mediterranean Grill, 14-25 Plaza Road North, Fair Lawn; 201-791-2222

*Hanok Kitchen in Cliffside Park is tidy and sleek, with tables outfitted for Korean barbecue, with plenty of space for sushi or Korean standards like Bibimbap, mandoo (dumplings), and pots of bubbling, brick red, gochujang-laced soups. All-you-can-eat BBQ or sushi and lunch specials anchor the menu. Hanok Kitchen, 631 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park; 201-945-2075

*Paris Baguette added to its northern Jersey empire with a new franchise on Hackensack Avenue. The fast-casual bakery mega-chain serves an “international” array with pre-packaged “Parisian” accents and, at least in Fort Lee and Palisades Park locations, strong Asian influence in the pastries. Paris Baguette, 450 Hackensack Avenue, Hackensack; 201-488-1414

In the Works:

*The Ridgefield-based Bolero Snort Brewery is planning a taproom of its own in Carlstadt. Construction is just under way, so don’t get your steins out just yet, but the 15,000 square-foot brewery will include a 2,000 square-foot taproom complete with 16 taps and a rotating roster of seasonal beers. Projected opening date is April 2019. Bolero Snort Brewery, 316 20 Street, Carlstadt; [email protected]

*Long in the making, and also slated for early 2019, is Altopiano Bar and Grill in Maplewood, an Italian-Mediterranean concept from Humberto Campos, chef-owner of Maplewood hot spot Lorena’s. The former location of Highland Place was gutted in preparation for Altopiano, with a lot of emphasis going into the design; an exact opening date is unclear. 5 Highland Place, Maplewood Village; no phone yet.

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