Valente’s Italian Specialties Opens in Haddonfield

Plus: Other openings in Hasbrouck Heights, Mahwah, Edgewater and beyond.

* Two years after Marcello de Feo launched Valente’s Italian Specialties at local farmers’ markets, it now has its own brick-and-mortar shop in Haddonfield. It’s a multi-functioning space, with seasonally-inspired, refined Italian grab-and-go meal options like Bison Meatballs and Scrippelle ‘Mbusse (Parmigiano crepes in broth), as well as retail specialty products like fresh pasta, sauces, meats and cheeses. Valente’s will also offer private in-home cooking classes. Valente’s Italian Specialties, 7 Kings Court, Haddonfield; 856-298-1937

*Philly Pretzel Factory just opened a new location on Route 17 in Hasbrouck Heights, across the highway from Sonic. Get your soft pretzel fix or opt for a bit more in the way of protein and fat with options like the Pepperoni Pretzel Melt or Cheesesteak Pretzel. Dips range from “super hot” and “cheddar cheese” to “buttercreme,” so choose carefully. Pretzels are not so much “artisan” as available. Philly Pretzel Factory, 155 Route 17 South, Hasbrouck Heights; 201-288-1800

*Harvest Dish at MacArthur Plaza in Mahwah is the kind of spot to stop in for a vegan smoothie or an acai bowl. But the recently-opened, healthy casual restaurant also does breakfast, lunch, and dinner—including Avocado Toast topping options like sriracha and pink Himalayan sea salt, Hudson Valley maple syrup and bacon. Harvest Dish, 320 Ridge Road, Mahwah; 201-962-9711

*Lucco Cucina & Bar in Florham Park is about to round out its first three months and first-ever summer season. The team seems to be having little trouble putting out a menu built on solid pizza, specialty meatballs, seafood and delicate pastas in the dining room’s bright open space (noise seems to be the only design complaint). Lucco Cucina & Bar, 207 Ridgedale Avenue, Florham Park; 973-822-0066

*Menu options veer from traditional Korean to modern globalism at Madang on Sylvan Avenue in Englewood. You’ll find familiar items like bulgogi bibimbap and kimchi fried rice alongside dishes like Avocado & Egg Tartine, Bulgogi Cream Tagliatelle and a Galbi (Korean short rib) Cheeseburger with Fried Egg. Soups like Dulke Tang, made with perilla seed and Abalone Mixed Rice with raw egg yolk, call out to diners looking to try different Korean flavors. Shave ice is available on the short dessert menu. Madang, 11 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs; 201-345-0888

*Small-town Texas native Lisa Johnson named Bobcat’s Texas BBQ in Ramsey after her father, Robert “Bobcat” Johnson Sr., who originated the family’s “moppin’ sauce,” and the hope is to bring that same spirit to the second location in Edgewater. Bobcat’s is old school, purist slow-smoked Texas barbecue, with meat by the pound, collards on the side, and stacks of St. Louis and baby back ribs. Bobcat’s Texas BBQ, 725 River Road, Edgewater; 201-941-0196

In the Works:

*No word yet on whether the weekly “Dueling Pianos” show at the Hoboken House of Que will be recreated in its new location in Weehawken, but the game plan for the menu seems to be the same: 18 hours low-and-slow-cooked brisket, ribs, chicken, pork, and sausage. The second “HOQ” location is set to open in the Fall (they say about a month or so), with Texas style barbecue with classic, hearty apps and sides, but two full bars and a waterfront view will veer it decidedly away from any kind of “low key” country vibe. House of Que, 500 Avenue at Port Imperial, Weehawken; no phone yet

*Not much is known about Alberto’s Gourmet except that it’s a Latin restaurant set to open in Dumont in Bergen County in the space that was formerly Lula’s. Alberto’s Gourmet, 20 East Madison Street, Dumont

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