Porch & Proper Welcomes New Executive Chef

Plus: Other openings and restaurant news in Princeton, Haddonfield and Atlantic Highlands.

Porch & Proper's new executive chef, Anthony Marini. Photo courtesy of Porch & Proper

On Tuesday, Porch & Proper in Collingswood welcomed a new, though maybe familiar, face to the crew. Anyone who saw CNBC’s “Restaurant Startup” with Joe Bastianich will recognize Porch & Proper’s new executive chef Anthony Marini (he won the show). The Philadelphia native opened two restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama before returning home. He has also worked at Cork in Westmont (now Keg & Kitchen), and opened the Philadelphia restaurant, The Rarest, which closed in 2017. Porch & Proper first opened in Collingswood in August of 2018. There’s no word as to why opening chef Ryan McQuillan, whom we reviewed with the restaurant this February, is departing. Porch & Proper, 619 West Collings Avenue, Collingswood; 856-477-2105

Open:

—Husband and wife team Mark Rooks and Ridgway Grace have opened their fifth business together, Bleu Bear Bakery, taking over the former space of the recently shuttered Posh Pop Bakery in Haddonfield. Like the previous tenant, Bleu Bear caters specifically to gluten-free eaters (part of the reason why Rooks and Grace jumped on the newly open space despite having their collective plate full with a catering company, a food truck, and a new baby to boot). Posh Pop upset some residents for leaving their Jersey location, semi-secretly, for a new spot in New York City. Rooks and Grace are filling that angry/hungry void with a serious abundance of gluten-free baked goods, including things like cinnamon roll, carrot cake cupcakes, mini pizza rolls, and, oh yeah, over 30 donuts daily from their own Haddonfield Donut Company on nearby Tanner Street. Bleu Bear Bakery, 109 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield; 856-429-3703

Changing Hands:

—Several months ago, Jim Nawn of Fenwick Hospitality Group sold all of the group’s restaurants (Agricola, The Dinky Bar, and Cargo) to the Morris Plains-based Harvest Restaurant Group, run by husband and wife team Chip and Cheryl Grabowski. The sale occurred earlier in the year and the change of ownership was expected to happen sometime mid-year, i.e. around now. In theory there will be no major shakeups immediately, if at all. Fenwick Hospitality Group restaurants, Princeton area, various locations.

In the Works:

—Home grown Jersey boy is bringing his miraculous pizza dough back to New Jersey. Ocean County native Anthony Mangieri opened his first hardcore Neopolitan-style pizza spot Una Pizza Napoletana, in Asbury Park back in the late ‘90s. The outpost was sadly short-lived, but the pizza didn’t stop: Mangieri reopened first in the East Village in 2004, then in San Francisco in 2009, where Una Pizza Napoletano operated to the adoration of Bay Area locals until closing in 2017 so Mangieri could bring the whole show back East. His first outpost was, enviably, on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, but in a matter of months, the itinerant baker and purist pizza maker will bring his very hot oven and very good pizzas back to his home state with a spot in Atlantic Highlands (the former home of Julia’s). Considering Mangieri’s plans to open in New Jersey even had New York Times Dining critic Pete Wells re-reviewing the Lower East Side Una Pizza Napoletana uncharacteristically early (a desperate bid to keep the hand that shapes the dough on that side of the river), we should all be very excited. Una Pizza Napoletano, 91A First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands; no phone yet.

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