Fresh Produce Delivery Service Starts Up in South Jersey

They say necessity is the mother of invention.

Two brothers, originally from Cherry Hill, started Camden County-based Veggie Carriage so that families and vulnerable individuals can have affordable fresh produce delivered to their homes.

Since the coronavirus crisis began, the state of New Jersey encouraged folks to stay at home or shelter-in-place, prompting people to venture out only when necessary. While grocery stores and supermarkets remain open as essential businesses, lines are long and there are still many risks even when social distancing. The need to have groceries and food delivered has become increasingly vital.

Third-party services such as Instacart, Fresh Direct, and Amazon Fresh are being slammed right now, with delivery dates selling out quickly and sometimes being more than a week away. Seeing this essential need, Veggie Carriage was born to lend a helping hand to communities in South Jersey. Currently, they’re servicing most of Camden County and hope to expand to other areas in the coming weeks.

As a wholesale produce company, they are able to procure fresh produce at wholesale prices and pass along the savings to their customers, especially the elderly and families who are on a fixed income.

Additionally, as a way to help those economically-impacted, they are offering FREE next-day delivery on all orders above $25.

Word has spread around via local Facebook groups and they are using social media (Facebook and Instagram) to promote their service. As of now, they’re serving approximately 100 families a day and intend for that number to reach over 200 in the next two to three weeks. 

They will also be donating some produce baskets to those who are economically distressed during this time.

Folks wishing to place an order can visit the website to see if delivery is available to their zip code. They prefer orders to be placed online but will accept orders by phone especially from those who do not have access to a computer. Call 856-630-0112.

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Three South Jersey Food Trucks Feeding the Frontline

Mary Hilbert of Mary’s Mobile Diner is on a mission to make sure the essential healthcare workers and first responders at Cooper Hospital in Camden are supplied with fresh hot meals made to order during this difficult time.

Mary recruited fellow South Jersey food trucks Red’s Rolling Restaurant and Not Your Mama’s Tacos to line up outside of Cooper’s Emergency Room every night usually between 11PM-2AM (hours may vary) to feed the tireless medical professionals who are risking their own lives during the COVID-19 crisis.

Additionally, Mary is asking for the public’s help and is accepting donations via Venmo that will go towards hot meals for the hospital workers, EMTs, and police officers who are dealing with this healthcare crisis. So far, over 400 meals have been donated, but her goal is to grant at least 1,000 meals to these local heroes.

“These folks are working hard and we want to make sure they’re taken care of,” says Mary. “We’re happy to support these amazing people!”

If you’d like to donate a meal, Venmo @FTFL-Cooper.

Learn more about how you can help Cooper Hospital during this challenging time here.

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South Jersey Restaurants Offering Family-Style Meals

South Jersey restaurants can only provide takeout and delivery only during the COVID-19 crisis. Many are offering family-style meal options in addition to a la carte. In some cases, they’re also making alcohol available with orders. Here are a few restaurants offering family-style meals to go or delivered during this challenging time.

Seasons 52 – Cherry Hill

Seasons 52 in Cherry Hill is offering a streamlined menu for family-style meals enough to feed a family of four. You select 1 family-sized salad, 1 entree that feeds four, 2 sides, and 4 individual desserts. See the menu below. Because they want to remain as sanitary as possible, they would prefer you to pay over the phone prior to coming in to minimize contact at this time. Mention Neighbor to Neighbor and you’ll get 20% off your order! Call Seasons 52 at (856) 665-1052 to order between 12-8PM. Seasons 52 is also giving away TWO FREE MEALS to deserving families. Click here for details.

Tortilla Press (Collingswood) & Tortilla Press Cantina (Pennsauken)

Chef Mark Smith of Tortilla Press and Tortilla Press Cantina wants to help feed people during this difficult time without breaking the bank. He’s put together a Tasty Taco Table family-style meal enough to feed a small group or family. Fixings to make 26 tacos include crunchy corn and soft flour shells, taco beef and red salsa chicken breast, shredded cheese, lettuce, pickled jalapeno, pico de gallo, Mexican crèma for just $49. Available as pick up at the restaurants or delivery through Door Dash, EZ Cater or Caviar. Call 856-869-3345 in Collingswood or 856-356-2050 in Pennsauken.

Just Fork It – Haddon Township

Yard House – Moorestown

Yard House just started offering family-style meals that serve a family of four plus they’re offering 15% off all takeout orders (with promo code) from their Moorestown Mall location. Select from Mac & Cheese Meal ($50), Pizza, Wings & Salad Meal ($50), Chicken Meals ($60), or Steak & Salmon Meals (starting at $65). Click here for more details or call (856) 722-5620.

Bonefish Grill – Marlton

Bonefish Grill is offering Family Bundles that feed up to 5 family members starting at $30. Call 856-396-3122.

Know of any other restaurants that are offering family-style meals? Let me know and I will add them here.

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South Jersey Restaurants Struggling During COVID-19

Unless you’re living under a rock. Things royally suck right now.

This is an especially challenging and disheartening time for the restaurant business all over the country. South Jersey restaurants are definitely getting hit hard even though they’re still offering take out and delivery. Many restaurants have decided to close altogether and wait it out until it’s safe. It’s heartbreaking to think that some of these restaurants may not be re-opening when it’s all over.

I reached out on Twitter to ask restaurants how they’re holding up during this difficult time. Not only to see how business is, but to see how they’re coping and to give them a little love.

Criollo’s Latin Cuisine in Millville, NJ

Scott Guzman of Criollo’s Latin Cuisine in Millville, NJ responded…

“Already had to lay off staff. Sales are down easy 40% if not more you can see it in the streets traffic is just dead. I heard a rumor Uber and Lyft might be canceled if it hasn’t already. And if that happens, we might lose Grubhub UberEats Doordash etc. Delivery has spiked slightly perhaps maybe just 15% however one would have thought delivery would have spiked a whole lot more.”

“If you think about it, we just got over the slowest time for restaurants which is the winter months and we look forward to the tax return season to create a boost in business and this is typically our black Friday season or holiday season, if you will, where most restaurants get out of red and put away for winter. I feel we just didn’t do enough to contain this early on and now it’s just too late…”

Are you a restaurant experiencing a significant loss of business and severe economic distress during this unprecedented time? Contact me so that I can feature you here. I don’t know how much it will help, but I just want to give you some love because my heart is going out to you and all of the service industry workers.

WASH YOUR HANDS! STAY THE HELL HOME! ORDER TAKE OUT OR DELIVERY!

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Main Street Laundromat Cafe Opens This Saturday

A new business is opening up at 120 West Main Street in Maple Shade that is half-laundromat and half-cafe. At the Main Street Laundromat Cafe, you’ll be able to do your laundry and enjoy a coffee drink and take advantage of free wifi.

On the cafe side, they will offer hot drinks such as coffee, hot chocolate, cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos in a variety of flavors including sugar-free options.

Sweets, pastries, and decadent desserts such as croissants, pies, cinnamon buns, baklava, danishes, and more from nearby bakeries like Sweet Eats of Voorhees and Duffields of Sewell will be available. The baklava will be sourced from Shatila Bakery in Dearborn, MI which specializes in Middle Eastern pastries.

They’re currently in talks with a local chef to offer savory foods such as soups and sandwiches to grab and go.

Operating hours will be 8AM-8PM.

The Main Street Laundromat is owned and operated by Liat Weeks of Washington Township.

More info as we have it!

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Where to Eat During Atlantic City Restaurant Week

Atlantic City Restaurant Week is back again for another year of wonderful dining options. From March 8th to the 13th, participating restaurants in and around Atlantic City are offering prix fixe dinners for $35.20 and prix fixe lunch specials for $15.20. You can see all the participating restaurants at www.acrestaurantweek.com.

While we can’t talk about every restaurant that will be part of Restaurant Week (hint: there are a LOT), here are some options to consider:  

Restaurants at the Casinos

When Revel came back as Ocean and announced that some of the restaurants would be returning, I was sure hoping one of them would be Amada. Thankfully it was, and thankfully it is just as good as before. The menu available for Restaurant Week showcases Chef Jose Garces’ spin on Spanish cuisine. Amada lets you choose two appetizers and two entrees, so expect smaller plates but lots of flavor.  

American Cut also returned to Ocean. A modern take on the steakhouse from Chef Marc Forgione, American Cut is offering a six-ounce filet mignon as one of the entrees as well as double smoked bacon as an appetizer. 

This restaurant doesn’t get the same press as other restaurants in Tropicana, but Broadway Burger Bar is my favorite place for a burger and a drink in Atlantic City. The restaurant’s Signature Beef Burger is available for lunch and dinner during Restaurant Week.   

I give Tropicana credit for taking over The Chelsea and bringing back the former Chelsea Prime restaurant under the name Chelsea Five Gastropub. Swanky supper club feel with great views of the ocean. Entrée options for Restaurant Week include shrimp & grits, buttermilk fried chicken and filet mignon.  

Old school upscale Italian done right – that’s what Il Mulino Trattoria at Hard Rock Hotel Casio means to me. Throwback with no apologies. Nothing on the menu will surprise you, yet everything will be worth savoring. The service, by the way, is top-notch.    

Hungry for Japanese? Izakaya Modern Japanese Pub at Borgata has been a popular dining spot since it opened in 2008 and shows no signs of stopping. The Restaurant Week menu has several ‘courses’ that goes from Cold to Hot to Crispy, then a Robatayaki (“fireside cooking”) course, a Meat & Fish course with a side, and a Sushi or Sashimi course. Sounds like a good time to me.  

If you want that classic steakhouse vibe, look no further than Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse at Golden Nugget. Yes, it is a chain, but do not let that sway your judgement for one nanosecond. Expect great food and excellent service.     

Restaurants in the City of Atlantic City

Restaurant Week is the perfect time to see what’s happening in the Orange Loop. What’s the Orange Loop? It’s Tennessee Avenue, New York Avenue and St. James Place – the ‘orange’ properties in that famous real estate board game based on Atlantic City (you know the one). Bourré on New York Avenue brings a little New Orleans to Atlantic City and the lunch and dinner menus give you a good sampling of this. Finish either meal with the choice of bourbon bread pudding or beignets for dessert. 

Photo: Bourré

Stroll on over to Tennessee Avenue for several dining options, such as Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, Rhythm & Spirits, and my personal favorite The Iron Room (featuring dessert from MADE Chocolate). Yes, I’ll take that vanilla glazed thick-cut bacon and vindaloo croquettes, please. 

If you want to go old school Atlantic City, look no further than Dock’s Oyster House and Knife & Fork Inn, which were around long before the modern casino boom. You walk into Knife & Fork and you really feel like you have stepped back in time to a more civilized age of dining.   

Photo: Girasole

I don’t like to use the term ‘hidden gem’ – but if I did use that phrase, Girasole would be that kind of place. A beautiful dining area with food to match, and pizza chef who knows how work a brick oven. Just go and know that everything on the plate will be delicious.   

If there was one restaurant I wanted to try during Restaurant Week, it would be Setaara Afghan French Cuisine. Afghan French fusion is a unique combination, and it would be hard to select just one appetizer and one entrée from the Restaurant Week menu, But, them’s the rules, so go and have fun! 

Restaurants Surrounding Atlantic City

I have never, and I mean never, heard a bad word said about Assaggio! In Galloway. This is a neighborhood Italian restaurant that has been making diners happy for years now with their homemade pasta and other delights. The Restaurant Week menu offers a number of gluten-free options.    

What can be said about Steve & Cookie’s By The Bay in Margate that hasn’t already been said? If you’re new to this restaurant, just know that Cookie Till is currently a James Beard Award semifinalist for outstanding restauranteur and go without worries about your meal. 

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Where to Eat Filipino Food in South Jersey

Filipino food is finally having a moment in the spotlight this year and South Jersey is getting in on the action. While other Southeast Asian cuisines such as Thai and Vietnamese have always been well-represented here, Filipino fare was harder to find on this side of the bridge. It has been gaining more popularity in recent years as the Filipino population in South Jersey grows and people develop more adventurous palates.

According to Wikipedia, Filipino dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to fish curry, chicken curry, complex paellas and cozidos of Iberian origin created for fiestas. Popular dishes include: lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), dinuguan (pork blood stew), kaldereta (meat stewed in tomato sauce), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), pochero (beef and bananas in tomato sauce), afritada (chicken or pork and vegetables simmered in tomato sauce), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), pinakbet (kabocha squash, eggplant, beans, okra, and tomato stew flavored with shrimp paste), crispy pata (deep-fried pig’s leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).

Here’s where to eat Filipino food in South Jersey:

Bahay Kubo in Egg Harbor Township

Bahay Kubo
3003 English Creek Ave
Egg Harbor Township, NJ
609-383-9400

Various members of Bonilla, Ronas, Alumia, Davadilla, and Santos-Schiff families took over ownership and management as of January 2020 which opened in 2019 under different owners. When asked what sets them apart from other Filipino restaurants, “When you are at the Kubo, you are family!”

Manila Café and Market in Mount Laurel

Manila Café and Market
200 Larchmont Boulevard
Mount Laurel, NJ
856-222-0604

Arlyn Baker opened Manila Café in November 2010 with the purpose of serving fellow Filipinos in the area, as there weren’t a lot of options for Filipino food at that time. But since then, it has developed a loyal following of non-Filipino customers as well who rave about the food.

Reyta’s Filipino Cuisine in Cherry Hill

Reyta’s Filipino Cuisine
1490 Haddonfield Berlin Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
856-651-7470  

Mark Reyta, along with his uncle Marcos Medroso, opened Reyta’s in the Woodcrest Shopping Center in November 2019 and it has seen steady business ever since. The restaurant offers a combination of “Turo-Turo” (which means “point point” in Tagalog) buffet-style where you choose from many different popular Filipino dishes, as well as à la carte with freshly cooked dishes such as Sisig, Palabok, BBQ, and variety of grilled dishes.

Tropical Hut in Somerdale

Tropical Hut
20 South White Horse Pike
Somerdale, NJ

With five total locations, the Tropical Hut in Somerdale is the only one in South Jersey. Owned and operated by Philippine-born Leo Alquiros where his motto is “As long as you’re happy, I’m happy.” 

Do you enjoy Filipino food? Where do you eat Filipino food in South Jersey?

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The Cubby Hole Moves Into New Digs in Moorestown

Cubby Hole’s Former Dining Room at 55 East Main Street [Photo: The Cubby Hole]

The Cubby Hole, a popular spot for American breakfast, lunch & brunch in Moorestown, has relocated from 55 East Main Street to 37 East Main Street. The former dining room seated approximately 12 people inside with a couple of tables outside so it made sense for them to move into a bigger space.

The Cubby Hole’s New Digs at 37 East Main Street [Photo: Marilyn Johnson]

The new spot on the first floor of the building that it shares with marketing firm The Idea Lab at 37 East Main Street more than doubles the inside seating of the previous location yet retains its charm. The brick courtyard out front will allow them to seat many more in nicer weather.

The Cubby Hole’s Blackboard Menu [Photo: Marilyn Johnson]

The blackboard menu lists several breakfast and lunch items available every day with a few special dishes listed on a separate small board on the counter. Prices have remained reasonable with everything under $10.

Specials at The Cubby Hole [Photo: Marilyn Johnson]
Pecan Pie French Toast at The Cubby Hole [Photo: Marilyn Johnson]
Scrambled Eggs with Home Fried Potatoes at The Cubby Hole [Photo: Marilyn Johnson]

We enjoyed our recent visit even though there was about a 20-minute wait, but it was worth it. Service was friendly, food was outstanding, and they serve local coffee by Collingswood’s Revolution Coffee. Definitely add this brunch destination on your list!

The Cubby Hole
37 East Main Street
Moorestown, NJ
(856) 234-4372

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Haddonfield Restaurant Owners Form Food & Beverage Collective

“Collaborate, Not Compete” is the motto of the newly formed Haddonfield Food & Beverage Collective, a group of Haddonfield restaurant owners and other food and beverage based businesses that seek to shine a bright spotlight on the town’s burgeoning food scene. In fact, the historic town is experiencing something of a restaurant renaissance.

In the past couple of years alone, approximately 12 new restaurants have opened in the town, a brewery opened in 2017 and then expanded in 2019, and a winery tasting room is opening all just a few blocks from each other.

Founding members of the Haddonfield Food & Beverage Collective consist of:

  • Marcello DeFeo (Valente’s Italian Specialties, Cilento Sandwich Co.) – President
  • Bob Hochgertel (King’s Road Brewing Company) – Vice President
  • Walter Gouldsbury (The Custard Cart) – Treasurer
  • Dave Murray (Denim BYOB) – Secretary
  • Kathy Gold (In the Kitchen Cooking School) – Board Member

Haddonfield Restaurant Week

Haddonfield Restaurant Week is Tuesday, March 3 through Sunday, March 8, 2020. It is a celebration of food and beverage in historic Downtown Haddonfield. Participating restaurants will feature specials including two items for $20 and/or three items for $35; food boutiques and the brewery will offer specials at the same price points, highlighting some of the best of what Haddonfield’s food scene has to offer.

This event includes all participating food and beverage businesses in Downtown Haddonfield, including those on Kings Highway, Haddon Avenue, King’s Court, Ellis Street, Mechanic Street, and Tanner Street.

For more information, visit https://www.haddonfieldrestaurantweek.com/.

Grubr Kitchen in Medford to Expand with Full-Service Cafe

Grubr Sit & Eat will open in April 2020 [Photo: Grubr Kitchen]

Grubr Kitchen currently operates a grab-and-go storefront offering healthy prepared meals that are 100% gluten-free at 13 Jackson Road in Medford. After two very successful years, the meal plan and catering company is in expansion mode.

Chef and owner Ed Mangione announced last week his plans to open a full-service cafe next door at 15 Jackson Road. The sit-down restaurant will offer a scratch-free menu featuring 100% gluten-free, soy-free, antibiotic-free, sustainable ingredients that will meet the needs for a variety of dietary restrictions. It’s a dream come true for those with health issues that require them to be on a gluten-free diet. But also good for those following popular diets such as Keto, Paleo, Whole 30, and more. There will be options for vegans and vegetarians as well.

Healthy Eats by Grubr Kitchen [Photo: Grubr Kitchen]

He’s expecting Grubr Sit & Eat to open in April sometime. The BYOB cafe is expected to seat 30. Hours have yet to be determined and will be announced closer to the opening so stay tuned! Follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Grubr Eats offers home delivery of reheatable prepared meals on Wednesdays and Sundays. Delivery is available throughout South Jersey. A minimum order of $50 is required for home delivery. Orders can be placed via the website or app.

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