—The Tick Tock Diner is getting a well-deserved interior makeover, shutting down (since Sunday September 15) for anywhere from four to six weeks for its first renovation in 25 years. As for why now, according to Tick Tock co-owner Alex Sgourdos, “There is a whole new generation of diners we would like to reach,” he told us. “We are evolving with the times, but still keeping true to our history. While the number of seats will not be changing, the interior will be more modern, including additional booth seating and a new bar that will be larger. We are also completely overhauling the kitchen with all new equipment.” Regulars (and Route 3 drivers) will remember Tick Tock’s iconic sign, which will be preserved during the renovations.
—It’s been about two months since the authors of the iconic, home cook-exalting Canal House Cooking cookbook series opened their brick and mortar restaurant in Milford. The restaurant is a natural extension of the home cooking empire Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirscheimer have built together since 2007, including not only the cookbooks themselves but a daily lunch-themed cooking blog, a weekly radio show, a photography and food styling studio, and several nominations for their work and a 2013 James Beard cookbook award for Canal House Cooks Every Day. Nor are those the duo’s ‘only’ credentials: Hirscheimer is co-founder of Saveur magazine and Hamilton is the sister of Gabrielle Hamilton, the original chef and current owner of New York’s beloved Prune restaurant and author of the stunning culinary memoir Blood, Bones, & Butter. Housed in an old train station building with charming, warm dark wood and homey linen décor, the restaurant does breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Friday as well as a Saturday Lunch and Pancake Breakfast and a Sunday Dinner. Quaint, yes; precious, no—this is pure, scratch-made, thoughtful American cooking suffused with homegrown expertise. Canal House Station, 2 Bridge Street, Milford; 908-995-7200
—We reported back in July that Legal Sea Foods at the Mall at Short Hills was taking a summer break for renovations, but they’re back in action as of September 6. The rapid-fire total gutting and refurbishment took place largely over August, courtesy of CMS Architecture and Design in New York. The look is modern nautical, with natural tones (sage green booths, blue and gray tiling) and touches like exposed natural wood and (we’re assuming) sea-worthy rope draped from the ceiling. There’s also a boat-shaped bar and fishermen’s net chandeliers (owing to restraint and clean lines, nothing here piles up into kitsch). Seafood lovers should check it out sooner rather than later: from September 12 through October 9, Legal Sea Foods is running its 11th Annual Oyster Festival, with oyster season driving prices down as quality bivalves pile up. Legal Sea Foods, 1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills; 973-467-0089
—For those of us counting New Jersey donut spots, add another to the list: Glaze Donuts from father-daughter team Jule and Christina Hazou is opening its third location in Fort Lee on September 26. The Fort Lee location joins New Milford and West Caldwell (there’s also a Queens location in the works).
NBC 4’s “New York Live” actually visited the New Milford location not long ago, giving the currently donut-less among us some footage to salivate over (among other creations, Glaze is home of the original Italian Rainbow Donut). Glaze claims it’s the first New Jersey donut shop to use “soy free zero trans fat shortening” (as well as using no preservatives or high fructose corn syrup), and while we still can’t think of something like this as being at all healthy for us, it’s still good to know some effort’s been made in that direction. Like any good donut shop, they’ll also have coffee, including nitro cold brew, on tap. Glaze Donuts, 2151 Lemoine Avenue, Fort Lee; No phone yet.
IN THE WORKS:
—Bar Bacoa, a Mexican smokehouse specialty cantina, is opening sometime this fall in the space next to Summit House on Maple Street. Like Summit House, the restaurant is the brainchild of All My Friends restaurant group. Chef Justin Antonio will oversee both the Summit House menu and Bar Bacoa, which will feature hickory wood-fired and smoked meats alongside its taqueria-style fare. A fan favorite on Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” in 2012, Antonio has worked as sous chef at the 21 Club in Manhattan and as chef de cuisine at Bin 14 and Anthony David’s in Hoboken (between Ramsay’s temper and fast-paced, highly popular restaurants, Chef Antonio’s no stranger to pressure). Antonio has been cutting his teeth at the Summit House for a few months now, theoretically priming himself for the eventual opening of Bar Bacoa (so far, the only word is Fall 2019). No preview images of food just yet, though once the bar is open, expect the tequila and mezcal and cocktails to flow. Bar Bacoa Cantina, Taqueria, Smokehouse, 10 Maple Street, Summit; 908-273-6006Click here to leave a comment