Salem County Pasta Maker Follows His Passion for Cooking

Bridgeton-native Matt Fazzio, 29, started making pasta as a young child with his grandmother Vivian Fazzio at her home in Pitman, NJ. He recalls fond memories of her teaching him and his brothers how to make fresh pasta in her kitchen. He would crank the pasta machine as his older brother, Mark, fed the machine with a pasta sheet, and younger brother Patrick assisted. This family tradition started Matt’s lifelong love of pasta making and a passion for cooking.

Matt Fazzio of Fazzio's Pasta Company
Matt Fazzio shown in his Woodstown kitchen

It wasn’t until he was in his early 20s when he realized that making food was his calling. After backpacking and working odd jobs around the country and stumbling upon small family-owned restaurants, he decided to do brief stints as a cook to learn the ins and outs of working in restaurants. Traveling by bus across the country, he spent time in Ohio, Florida, Missouri, California, and eventually Kentucky.

“I found my passion again at a small, family-run restaurant in Maysville, Kentucky, where I was a short-order cook,” Fazzio reminisced about his formal training on the road. “The owner of Syleetos taught me everything he knew about cooking, right down to cutting onions the proper way.” 

When he decided to close the chapter on his nomadic life and move back to New Jersey in 2017, he settled down in Woodstown. He began working as a prep cook at a restaurant in Atlantic City, eventually working his way up to kitchen manager. Then, in 2018, he got married and started a family. The long commute and late hours of work started to wear him down, especially as a new father of twins.

“Cooking is my passion, but I didn’t like working for other people,” Fazzio offered readily. “I felt it was time for me to work for myself.”

So, in 2019, he launched Fazzio’s Pasta Company with a single gnocchi board, all while taking the responsibility as a stay-at-home Dad. 

Fresh Jumbo Cheese Ravioli by Fazzio’s Pasta Company

Specializing in handmade pasta, such as various gnocchi, fresh jumbo ravioli, St. Louis-style toasted ravioli, spaghetti, and fettuccine, he’s slowly built up a solid customer base. He delivers to the deep South Jersey counties of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem. 

Fazzio is very experimental in the kitchen, working non-traditional flavors into his pasta, such as buffalo chicken ravioli, purple sweet potato gnocchi, and vegan spinach fettuccine.

He’s a big fan of exotic and game meats and incorporating them into the pasta. He makes ravioli with antelope, elk, bison, and boar to name a few. Alligator gravy – sweet basil and tomato sauce with freshly cooked alligator – is another way he rethinks classic Italian fare.

Fazzio’s menu also features seasonal specials, homemade meatballs, and baked goods like cookies, biscotti, cannoli, and more.

Fazzio’s Pasta Company Menu

This business model has served him well until now, especially during the pandemic. Still, he’s looking to expand the business and open a full-service, brick-and-mortar restaurant soon. He found a location in the City of Salem, which he hopes to open sometime this summer. Details will be coming soon.

In the meantime, he launched a Go Fund Me to help raise funds to purchase commercial restaurant equipment and to cover other restaurant start-up expenses. 

“It’s important to me to pass on the family traditions to my own children,” Fazzio said proudly. “Opening this restaurant will keep the family legacy alive, and it is something I can pass down to them.”

Fazzio takes orders by email [fazziospastacompany@gmail.com], Facebook messenger, or phone: (856) 803-8857 (text orders welcome!)

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Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Debuts Two Coming to America Inspired Beers for McDowell’s Popup at Cherry Hill Mall

A Forgotten Boardwalk Beer Garden is coming to the McDowell’s Popup at the Cherry Hill Mall on consecutive weekends beginning April 16th! Get ready to be drinking a Soul Glo Hazy IPA with your Big Mick on a non-seeded bun or a Queen To Be “Zamunda Style” cream ale brewed with African Queen Hops.

These limited edition beers will be available in canned four-packs to go as well as on tap both weekends. You may pre-purchase your four-packs to go via presale, and pick up during your McDowell’s reservation time. The outdoor beer garden is open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis, adhering to social distancing guidelines between the hours of 11am-8pm both weekends.

To pre-order your beer for pickup at either the Forgotten Boardwalk tasting room or the McDowell’s Popup & Beer Garden, please head to www.forgottenboardwalk.com/mcdowells

Beer will be available to pickup beginning April 16th.

Please note that Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing is not involved in the food portion nor reservation system.  For any inquiries regarding the restaurant, please visit www.mcdowellspopup.com

SOUL GLO – HAZY IPA – 6.9% ABV

This Hazy IPA is bursting with citrus and peach notes.  Soft mouthfeel, medium bodied, you’ll also see notes of mango shining through!  Feeling oh so silky smooth – enjoy responsibly!

QUEEN TO BE – “ZAMUNDA STYLE” CREAM ALE – 5.5% ABV
She’s your Queen to be!  Crisp, and light, this beer is gently hopped with African Queen hops for a royal touch.  Quench your royal fire and enjoy responsibly!

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Where to Get Trendy Birria Tacos in South Jersey

Birria tacos are a hot new food trend sweeping the country and with good reason – they are delicious as I recently discovered. Birria tacos contain a stew traditionally made with goat or lamb, chilies, and spices and served in a crispy taco shell with cheese, onion, and cilantro alongside a cup of hot consommé to dip the taco in.

So where to get birria tacos in South Jersey?

Avocado Fiesta – Merchantville

I recently tried the goat birria tacos at Avocado Fiesta, a new Mexican restaurant located at 134 Park Avenue in Merchantville. The birria tacos are available as a special on the weekends only. Best to call (856) 454-9777 or follow on Instagram to check when they’re available.

El Mariachi – Glassboro

El Mariachi, a Mexican BYOB restaurant in Glassboro, is serving up beef birria tacos at 512 Delsea Drive near the Rowan University campus.

El Mariachi San Lucas – Voorhees

El Mariachi San Lucas, a popular Mexican BYOB in Voorhees, located at 118 White Horse Road, has offered birria tacos as a special from time to time. A “quesabirria” is also featured, which is a combination of a quesadilla and birria taco.

La Cita Authentic Mexican Cuisine – Cherry Hill

Much like Avocado Fiesta, popular Cherry Hill Mexican restaurant La Cita, located at 911 Marlton Pike (Route 70), only offers birria tacos on the weekends. They feature slow-braised marinated beef in their birria.

Ma & Pa’s Tex-Mex BBQ – Mount Laurel

Ma & Pa’s Tex-Mex BBQ, located at 116 Creek Road in Mount Laurel, recently added carnitas birria tacos to their everyday menu for the “foreseeable future.” This popular foodie destination is located in the Rancocas Woods Village Shops.

San Lucas Mexican Restaurant – Camden

San Lucas, located at 2600 Federal Street in Camden, offers a large menu of authentic Mexican cuisine, so it is no surprise birria tacos with shredded beef are available here.

Taco Loco – Camden

Taco Loco, located at 2311 Federal Street, just three blocks from San Lucas, also offers birria tacos on the menu. It looks like they spend some time on the grill, though.

Are you a fan of birria tacos?

Check out some other birria taco destinations here.

1st Annual Haddonfield Paddy Bash

Why celebrate St. Paddy’s Day for one day, when you can celebrate for five?

Multi-day celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day are a tradition and can be found all over Ireland, especially in Dublin.

Haddonfield’s 5-day celebration, Paddy Bash, kicks off on March 17 (that is said to be the date of St. Patrick’s death in the late 5th century, circa A.D. 493) and runs through Sunday, March 21.

The reason for having the event over five days is more than just tradition, or an excuse to extend the celebration, the hope was to spread the crowd out over five days to help with social distancing.

The idea originated with Ian Whitfield, chef/owner of The British Chip Shop in Haddonfield and who is of Irish/English descent. The goal was to create a fun and safe way to celebrate the holiday and drive traffic to Downtown Haddonfield.

Due to the safe, socially-distant, and successful multi-day celebration of Oktoberfest in the fall, Ian collaborated with Bob Hochgertel, co-owner of King’s Road Brewing Company, and Paddy Bash was born.

The 1st Annual Haddonfield Paddy Bash will be taking place from March 17 – March 21, 2021. Participating businesses will be offering specials throughout the week!

This event is FREE and open to the public. Tickets are not required, although some restaurants may require reservations. Participating businesses are located throughout Downtown Haddonfield and will be offering special Irish products, deals, and meals throughout the week, including gifts and books, food and beverage to-go options, in-house dining options, and more! 

As of March 11th, the following businesses have committed to participating in the 1st Annual Haddonfield Paddy Bash, and more businesses will be added soon: 

Denim BYOB
Downtown Cookies
Ends of the Earth
English Gardener Gift Shop
Haddonfield Fitness
Inkwood Books
King’s Road Brewing Company
Mecha Chocolate
Pizza Crime
Sparrow’s
TAL32 Bespoke Confectionery
The British Chip Shop

Visit https://www.opensouthjersey.com/paddybash for updates and details, as more businesses will be added daily.

Haddonfield Restaurant Week with a “Share the Love” Twist

The 2nd Annual Haddonfield Restaurant Week presented by the Haddonfield Food and Beverage Collective and sponsored by Haddonfield Financial Planning and The Haddonfield Film Company will be held March 9-14, 2021.

Haddonfield Restaurant Week is FREE and open to the public. Tickets are not required, although some restaurants may require reservations. Participating businesses located throughout Haddonfield will be offering special deals throughout the week, including to-go options, in-house dining options, and more! 

King’s Road Brewing Company will have outdoor seating available and will be offering 2 for $20 flight paddles and 3 for $35 64oz. growler fills featuring select beers. Glass growlers are extra or you can BYOG (bring-your-own-growler).

Photo by Bob Hochgertel (King’s Road)

William Heritage Winery will offer two sparkling flights for $20.

Photo by Lizze McEvoy (Heritage Winery)

In addition to restaurant week specials, participating businesses involved in Haddonfield Restaurant Week will be collecting non-perishable food donations in partnership with NJ Farmers Against Hunger, Food Bank of South Jersey, and Cooks Who Care.

2021 Food Drive Items

–          Pasta

–          Rice

–          Canned veggies/fruit/meat

–          Pasta sauces stored in cans, no glass please

–          Trail mix

–          Fruit snacks

–          Tuna

–          Instant pancake mixes

–          Instant stuffing

–          Peanut butter

–          Cereals

–          Shelf-stable milk

–          Paper plates, napkins, paper towels

–          Bottled water

“March 2020 saw Haddonfield’s first-ever restaurant week and it was extremely successful for all who participated. We did not want to lose any momentum gained last year, so we are having the event again, but with socially distanced seating and many to-go options. In addition, it gives us an opportunity to collect food items for those that are food-challenged during this difficult time. Haddonfield Here For Good has many meanings and I’d like to believe this event embodies all of them.” Bob Hochgertel, Co-owner, Managing Director, King’s Road Brewing Company

NJ Farmers Against Hunger is thrilled to be celebrating 25 years of connecting healthy food from farms to families. Farmers Against Hunger (FAH) is thrilled to partner with Open South Jersey and Cooks Who Care for Haddonfield’s 2nd Annual Restaurant Week. The FAH mission – connecting healthy food from farms to families – has always been important, but it is even more so now, as so many of our neighbors are struggling with pandemic-driven food insecurity. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we look forward to new collaborations to increase healthy food access in our South Jersey communities.

The Food Bank of South Jersey exists to provide an immediate solution to the urgent problem of hunger by providing food to people in need, teaching them to eat nutritiously, and helping them to find sustainable ways to improve their lives.

Cooks Who Care is a Philly-based nonprofit that is committed to supporting the health and well-being of the hardworking people of the Food & Beverage Industry. Since we launched our 100% Committed Campaign in September 2020 – a response to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – we have served close to 750 meals to people working in 50+ food businesses in the greater Philadelphia area. We are excited to partner with Segel Associates & NJ Farmers Against Hunger for the 2nd Annual Haddonfield Restaurant Week to spread our mission of serving and supporting those who are serving others to South Jersey.

Information about specials and the non-perishable food drive is available on OpenSouthJersey.com.

Red’s Cafe to Open in Marlton

On February 1st, 2021, Red’s Cafe, a new takeout kitchenette, will open in One Greentree Centre, 10000 Lincoln Drive East in Marlton, NJ.

Owned and operated by Megan Hilbert of Red’s Rolling Restaurant in collaboration with Mary’s Mobile Diner. This will be the first foray into a brick and mortar business for the mother-daughter food truck owners.

The menu will offer breakfast and lunch options, including breakfast sandwiches, paninis, flatbreads, quesadillas, Mac & Cheese, smoothies, soups, and more.

The cafe will be open Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm.

More info as we get it!

Karachi Kafe Brings Taste of Pakistan to Voorhees

Last month, Karachi Kafe opened at 2999 E Evesham Road in Voorhees, serving Pakistani cuisine. Owner Anny Khan named the new restaurant after Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, where she was born and raised.

The restaurant’s menu features many traditional Pakistani dishes, including several made with a tandoori grill, and some “fusion” dishes including Naan pizzas, burgers and chicken sandwiches, and chicken wings.

The dining room is decorated in colorful furniture, with murals paying homage to Karachi, known as the “City of Lights,” adorning the walls.

The restaurant is open Tuesday to Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Currently limited to 25% capacity for indoor dining, the restaurant is also offering takeout. So give it a try and let us know what you think!

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New Nutrition-Focused Cafes Open in Moorestown and Palmyra

New Year, New You?

If you want to get healthier this year, you might be pleased to hear that two new nutrition-focused cafes opened in South Jersey, one in Moorestown and another in Palmyra.

Moorestown Nutrition (115 West Main Street in Moorestown) opened in October and Top Notch Spot (537 Cinnaminson Avenue) opened most recently in January.

Both cafes serve smoothies, shakes, energy drinks, juices, and coffees (hot or iced). Top Notch Spot also serves a small menu of breakfast-centric food items such as donuts, waffles, and smoothie bowls all of which boast high protein and low-calorie counts.

Moorestown Nutrition is owned by Erica and Steven Koehl, who’s been in the Air Force for 13 years, and live on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. They opened Easthampton Nutrition at 1307 Woodlane Road in Westhampton, NJ last year and plan to open Westampton Nutrition later this month at 897 Rancocas Road in Westhampton, NJ.

Since opening in Easthampton, the Koehl’s sold the business to Caly and Timm Williams. Once up and running, Bob and Lori Kirkpatrick will be the sole owners of the Westhampton location.

The Koehl’s love giving back to the community. During Christmas, they fundraised for a local charity, Camp No Worries.

Top Notch Spot in Palmyra is a family-owned business operated by Jensy Urena and his wife Yahaira Pena, who noticed that there were not too many spots for healthy eats in the area. The location, formerly Mama’s Cookies and Love, Live, Donuts before that, is kid-friendly.

If you’re looking to be more health-conscious this year, check out these two new nutrition-focused cafes in South Jersey.

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South Jersey Hot Chocolate Trail

Do you know what we need (or what we didn’t think we needed) right now?

A hot chocolate trail.

That’s right! Winter is here and it’s time to indulge in a luxurious hot cocoa drink!

Visit South Jersey has assembled this trail map of South Jersey’s must-visit spots where you can get your hot chocolate fix!

Do you have a favorite place to get hot chocolate in South Jersey? Let us know in the comments!

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Get Mariah Carey’s Cookies Delivered in South Jersey

Want to try Mariah Carey’s cookies? If you’re in the Cherry Hill area, you can!

A couple of weeks ago, Mariah Carey launched her own delivery-only cookie brand just in time for the holidays. Cherry Hill is one of the “30 major markets” where the concept launched and is apparently running out of a possible ghost kitchen on Haddonfield Road in the Towne Place at Garden State Park shopping center.

I haven’t had a chance to go over there to scope out the location, but I noticed another concept called “Wing Squad” that shows up on Grubhub operating from that address so I’m kind of guessing.

Anyways, Mariah’s Cookies offers boxes of a dozen or half-dozen cookies in various flavors such as:

  • Chocolate Chunk
  • Triple Chocolate Chunk
  • Heath Bar
  • Lemon Cooler
  • Spiced Oatmeal Raisin
  • Pumpkin (seasonal)
  • Gingerbread (seasonal)
  • White Chocolate Cranberry (seasonal)

Cookies are available to order via delivery apps including Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats, and Seamless. You can build your own box and pick the flavors you would like.

We ordered a box with a half dozen cookies from Grubhub tonight and had one of six flavors delivered (Heath Bar, Lemon Cooler, Spiced Oatmeal Raisin, Pumpkin, Gingerbread, White Chocolate Cranberry).

Mariah’s Cookies

While the cookies were tasty, by the time we ordered them (5:45 pm) and they were delivered (6:45 pm), they did not seem fresh. In fact, they were probably made earlier in the day and had been sitting around. They were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside—certainly not stale at all—which didn’t bother me, but if you’re looking for fresh from the oven, you may not find that here. Or, try to order as early in the day as possible maybe?

As you can see from the photo above, the sizes are also inconsistent. Some are very large (gingerbread), while others are rather small (spiced oatmeal raisin). Not a huge deal, but it would be nice if they were similar sizes. I’d say the Lemon Cooler and the White Chocolate Cranberry were my favorite as each had a good flavor. The lemon especially comes through on the lemon cookie.

A half-dozen cookies costs $11.99. Additional cookies can be added for $1.99/piece. A dozen cookies costs $21.99.

With fees, tax, and tip, I ended up spending $21.68 altogether. A bit steep for six cookies, but I felt I was doing important cookie research. 😉

And while I’m not a big fan of Mariah Carey, I love cookies and had to see what these were all about. The cookies are okay, but I probably don’t see myself spending that much money on them again. YMMV.

@mariahcareyscookies

Let me know what you think if you try them! Comment here or tag me on social @southjerseyfoodscene.

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