Valente’s Cucina, 7 Kings Court in Haddonfield, announced that it will be expanding its dining room paving way for more seating indoors. They will be taking over space next door where a tailor used to be.
“Nothing like opening a restaurant during a global pandemic and shutdown and then trying to expand on the brink of another shutdown,” Marcello De Feo, owner, told South Jersey Food Scene.
New Jersey restaurants are still operating on 25% capacity for indoor dining. For a small restaurant with already limited seating, this makes it tough to survive.
Demo and construction will begin “soon” and he’s hoping to have more diners inside, socially distanced of course, by the middle of January.
In the meantime, De Feo is able to run a take-out and delivery “ghost kitchen” business, with offerings not available as Valente’s. This will supplement the business until the new dining space opens up.
Basta offers starters, sandwiches, steaks, salads, pasta dishes, and some entrees for lunch or dinner.
Marcello’s Ristorante, located at 300 E. Greentree Road in Marlton, recently underwent a rebranding and is now known as Marlton Bistro.
Managing Partner Vic Ram, 33, originally from Moorestown, took ownership three years ago and came to the realization that the area didn’t need another Italian restaurant or pizza shop. He got to know the customers and what they wanted.
“This change had been in the works since before the pandemic,” Ram told South Jersey Food Scene. “We’re not restricted by it. In fact, our take-out and delivery are thriving. We just felt it was time for a change.”
In addition to the name change, the dining room has undergone a “refresher” with some updates to the menu. While popular Italian-style items from Marcello’s remain, they’ve added some new dishes like burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and a couple of charcuterie boards on the appetizer menu.
The biggest change is a brand new Brunch menu available on Saturday and Sunday from 8AM to 2PM, which includes popular items such as omelettes, French toast, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches and wraps, and bagels & lox.
The restaurant is BYOB and reservations can be made on Open Table.
Guests are welcome to dine inside at 25% capacity.
It comes as no surprise to hear that another sit-down food business has converted at least part of its space into a food market.
Last month, cozy French bistro The Little Hen located at 220 Kings Highway East in Haddonfield announced it was transforming its restaurant into a small grocery store offering cheeses, provisions, and kitchenwares. They also scaled back the restaurant menu to offer French-inspired sandwiches only for takeout.
Earlier this month, popular Haddonfield coffeeshop Jersey Java and Tea at 140 North Haddon Avenue announced its own evolution into a pandemic-inspired specialty boutique market to take up unused space due to continued indoor restrictions.
“We can only seat 10 people inside,” owner Mary Burke tells South Jersey Food Scene. “Needless to say, that left a lot of empty space.”
Working with Jonathan Raduns of Merchandise Food to create a retail-friendly environment, Burke brought in refrigerated display cases for perishable food and shelves to merchandise non-perishable food products.
“We want to carry as many local, small vendors as much as possible,” Burke noted. “We’re offering Hillacres Pride cheese from Peach Bottom, PA, Heirzoom Hungarian Pastries from Turnersville, NJ, iSwich ice cream sandwiches from West Chester PA, TBJ Gourmet Bacon Jam also from West Chester, and many others. We’re still in the process of sourcing local products to put our shelves.”
“We’re also setting up a mixer section for customers to take home to make drinks. A popular addition to this section is a Grapefruit Rosemary syrup,” Burke mentioned. “We also have a DIY gift section including Kombucha kits, hot sauce kits, donuts, gingerbread cookies, and bagels.”
They also still offer Square One coffee (from Lancaster, PA) and their own homemade pastries and quiches.
Small businesses such as Burke’s Jersey Java have had to pivot creatively to keep the lights on during the pandemic. Consider supporting these small businesses even more during the holidays.
Do you know what South Jersey needs more of? Fried chicken!
And not just any fried chicken, but succulently juicy and extra crispy Korean golden fried chicken. Have I got your attention?
Owner Sam Li expects to debut his BB.Q Chicken franchise in the Marlton Crossing Shopping Center at 125 Route 73 South during the first week of December for a soft opening, then a grand opening the following week.
In addition to the Korean fried chicken that the global BB.Q Chicken chain, which operates over 3000 stores worldwide, is famous for, this location will also feature Bubble tea, and Thai rolled ice cream (thanks to a partnership with Frozen Boba). Kind of a one-stop-shop for all things sinfully delicious, if you ask me.
Grand Opening specials will include BOGO on all bubble teas. They will also be hosting social media contests and giveaways.
Li also owns and operates OSushi in the Marlton Crossing Shopping Center and Oriental Palace in Lawnside.
PrimoHoagies, known for its gourmet hoagies with high-quality meats and cheeses piled high on fresh-baked rolls, announced today the grand opening of its first location in Somers Point, New Jersey and its third store in Atlantic County, is set for Friday, November 20 at 10 a.m. Owned by Robert (Bob) and Stephanie Neville, the franchise is located at 278 New Road (Route 9) in Somers Point.
PrimoHoagies will give the first 100 customers* in line at the Somers Point location on November 20 a free Primo Size Hoagie. For the rest of the grand opening day, customers in the rewards program will enjoy Primo Size Hoagies for just $6.99.
Using recipes passed down through the generations for its iconic hoagies, PrimoHoagies layers Thumann’s gourmet meats and cheeses, a secret blend of spices, and locally sourced, fresh vegetables onto award-winning, seeded rolls that are baked fresh throughout the day. The casual restaurant’s diverse menu features a wide variety of cold and hot hoagies, cheesesteaks, wraps, vegetarian options, sides, chips, drinks, cookies, desserts, and more.
“My family and I have been enjoying PrimoHoagies for years and we really believe the quality ingredients and commitment to freshness set PrimoHoagies apart from the competition,” says owner Bob Neville. “We’re excited that now we get to share our favorite hoagies with our neighbors in Somers Point!”
Originally from the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, Bob and Stephanie have raised their two children, Hailey and Robby, in Upper Township, NJ, where Bob volunteered as a coach for various youth softball and baseball teams.
The 2,000-square-foot retail store, expected to employ 15 people, will offer takeout, delivery, and limited indoor seating. PrimoHoagies also offers catering, including their popular hoagie trays – perfect for special events, gameday, beach days, and luncheons.
This location will be open Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about PrimoHoagies, visit: https://www.primohoagies.com.
PrimoHoagies is committed to customer and employee safety as New Jersey recovers from COVID-19. Employees will wear masks and gloves at all times. High-touch surfaces will be frequently sanitized and the store will remain in compliance with all state and federal guidelines. Customers will be asked to maintain a six-foot distance from each other and plexiglass barriers have been installed throughout the store. The store has minimal indoor seating.
*Opening Day hoagie special and giveaway are available for customers who join or are currently enrolled in the complimentary Rewards Program. Text “Primo” to (484) 270-4000 to join the rewards program and start saving with special offers.
Volley, the awarding-winning tequila seltzer made with just three clean ingredients: 100% blue agave tequila, sparkling water, and organic juice, founded by husband and wife duo Christopher Wirth and Camila Soriano is now available in New Jersey.
As the first hard seltzer of its kind crafted without added sugars, natural flavorings, or preservatives, Volley launched this past July, stirring up the booming ready-to-drink category.
Volley is available in four guilt-free flavors: Zesty Lime, Spicy Ginger, Sharp Grapefruit, and Tropical Mango.
Chef Ralph Patrick Fernandez has over 30 years experience in the restaurant business as an Executive Chef and Culinary Director working at notable restaurants such as Moshulu in Philadelphia and Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino. Now running his own hospitality group, he helps open other restaurants by providing consulting on design, kitchen operations, and menu development.
While doing some restaurant consulting in Boca Raton, FL last year, he came across poke bowls and fell in love with them. He had embarked on a healthy journey that saw him losing more than 60 pounds. He attributes his weight loss to eating fresh, clean, and raw meals. Poke bowls fit right into his new healthy lifestyle and diet.
So, when COVID hit, he wanted to create a concept that would appeal to the new restaurant industry (fast take-out/delivery) and something healthy and delicious. He immediately decided poke bowls would tick all of the boxes.
“I just really love poke bowls. They are not only healthy, but quite satisfying and you don’t have to sacrifice flavor,” Chef Fernandez told South Jersey Food Scene.
He launched Poke Xpress as a popup operating out of Denim BYOB at 116 Kings Highway East in Haddonfield. He and Chef David Murray worked together at Denim American Bistro when it was in Cherry Hill. He was a consulting chef in 2019. When he needed a space to create and sell his poke bowls, he turned to Murray.
Murray had temporarily shut down Denim BYOB in August to go on vacation and prepare for reopening in September, which he is hoping will include indoor dining at a limited capacity. In fact, he’s added a new upstairs dining area which will allow for more socially distanced indoor dining. He was more than happy to help his friend Ralph use the restaurant’s kitchen to host the poke popup.
“I couldn’t be happier to see my friend and former chef’s dream become a reality,” said Murray. “A month ago when we launched Poke Xpress out of the Denim kitchen for a one-day pop-up the positive response was so strong, Ralph decided to turn it into something. I will offer as much support as I can and know he will be a welcome addition in town.”
Poke Xpress offers a few signature poke bowls ($14.50) or your can build your own ($12.50) starting with a base, protein, sauce, choice of toppings, crunch, and extras. Base options include white rice, brown rice, quinoa, or a mix of all three. Protein options include ahi tuna, salmon, spicy tuna, spicy salmon, cooked shrimp, or cooked chicken.
The menu also features signature salads with your choice of chicken, salmon, or shrimp.
Hours are Monday thru Saturday from 11 am until 8 pm. You can place an order on the Toast app to pay with a debit or credit card or call (856) 520-8114 if paying by cash.
Unfortunately, delivery is not available at this time. Orders must be picked up at the restaurant. They will happily bring it to your car on Kings Highway or in the parking lot in the back.
The goal is to find a permanent strorefront in downtown Haddonfield. They’ve got a strong lead and hope to be securing it very soon. An annoucement will be made as soon as it is a done deal.
The Cherry Hill Mall and Kamp for Kids will host a Food Truck Festival on Sunday, August 23rd from 12 PM to 6 PM outside of Macy’s in the adjacent parking lot. 100% proceeds from this event benefit children with autism and their families.
Pre-ordering and pre-paying is greatly suggested to cut down on waiting times.
Guests will enter the Macy’s far parking lot where they will be directed to the Food Truck of their choice.
There will be separate drive-thru lines set up for each truck.
You can then pick up your order from the food truck you selected, where a person wearing personal protective equipment will deliver your food to you.
The event will not have any on-site seating available. Admission is free.
Mama’s Meatballs has reopened at 2673 Haddonfield Road in Pennsauken under new ownership. The take-out & delivery brick & mortar restaurant and the popular food truck were sold to Joseph and Katherine Argento in June and reopened on July 31 adding pizza and hoagies to the menu.
“I’ve been in the pizza business my whole life,” said Joseph Argento, 34, of Marlton told South Jersey Food Scene. “I started working in my grandparent’s pizzeria when I was 8 years old and started making pizza when I was 13. They owned many pizza shops going back for 40 years when they emigrated from Sicily. Pizza is my passion because it’s always been my family’s business.” Some locations owned by other family members in Pottstown, PA, and Boyertown, PA remain in business.
Katherine and Joseph, both originally from PA, had been in living in South Jersey when they married in 2016. In 2017, they moved to Wyomissing, PA in Berks County, and opened Argento’s Pizza Palace in rural Richland, PA in Lebanon County. Earlier this year, they made the decision to sell the restaurant and move back to South Jersey.
“Katherine wanted to get back into the business and initially wanted to open a food truck. I wanted to open a storefront in Marlton, but that fell through. So, when we heard that Mama’s Meatballs was for sale, we felt it was exactly what we were both looking for,” Argento said.
As parents to five children, they are putting down roots in South Jersey and have big plans for Mama’s Meatballs & Pizzeria. In addition to adding pizza and hoagies to the menu, there are many new items in the research and development stage, including brand-new meatballs. They are keeping the exact details close to the chest for now, but promise not to change the originals that made Mama’s gourmet meatballs so famous.
“We plan to introduce some new meatball recipes, styles of topping them, and sauces to offer a variety of options for people,” Argento noted.
Joseph is also looking to perfect his pizza-making skills and learning better methods of dough fermentation. He is seeking to become certified in the Neapolitan technique of making pizza by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the official professional organization of Naples-style pizza.
“I am working towards becoming part of the USA pizza team and competing on a national level with my recipes and creations,” Argento proudly stated.
The pizza menu features a large selection of gourmet 16″ New York pies, and 16″x16″ Sicilian and Grandma-style pizzas. (Editor’s note: we tried the “Jumpin Juju” which is a tomato pie featuring a savory tomato sauce and chewy crustand it was delicious!)
Each meatball order features four balls served in a bowl with sauce, arugula, and shaved parmesan along with a salad or it can be ordered as a regular meatball sandwich with sauce, arugula, and parm (“Big Mama”) or Parm-style with sauce, shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan served on a rustic, seeded roll.
There are seven hoagies from “Mama’s Deli” to choose from or you can build your own.
A few salads and sides such as arancini, garlic knots, stuffed long hots, pepper shooters, Sicilian potato salad, tortellini salad, chicken tenders, and fries round out the menu.
The food truck is booked for a few socially distant events until the winter, and they have high hopes for the food truck, too.
“We have a grand vision for Mama’s Meatballs & Pizzeria. We don’t only want to be known as the best pizza in Pennsauken, but in the nation.”