Curtain Call

UCPAC is a blast from the past.

By Mark Stewart

The year was 1928. Nearly 1,500 people settled into their seats on a Tuesday evening to hear the first notes played by the great Chet Kingsbury on central New Jersey’s newest entertainment attraction, a $20,000 Wurlitzer pipe organ. Above the audience sparkled a magnificent, 13-foot tiered-crystal chandelier. Before them was a full orchestra pit, its musicians ready to accompany the two films scheduled to play, one starring Dolores Costello and Conrad Nagel, the other Myrna Loy. It was opening night of the million-dollar Rahway Theatre.

Later that evening, as patrons exited the building under the 2,500-light marquee, it was difficult to imagine the fun would ever end. The Rahway Theatre was a state-of-the-art entertainment palace built at the height of the Roaring ’Twenties. It could accommodate moving pictures, vaudeville revues, stage plays and concerts. No expense was spared. It even had a nursery to look after children while their parents were enjoying a show.

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And yet, there were changes in the wind. The stock market crashed, movie studios started turning out talking pictures and vaudeville died. The Rahway Theatre soldiered on, providing an inexpensive diversion during the Depression and World War II. It hosted rock n roll shows in the 1950s and continued to thrive as a movie house well into the 1960s. Little by little, however, the venue lost its glittering opulence and fell into disrepair. By the 1980s it was in danger of falling to the wrecking ball.

In 1984, title to the Rahway Theatre was transferred to Rahway Landmarks, Inc. A major restoration effort was initiated and one year later it was renamed the Union County Arts Center. First the interior was restored. Next the façade underwent a facelift. As the theatre regained its footing, the city’s Arts District grew up around it. Now called the Union County Performing Arts Center, the theatre is actually one of three performance venues under the UCPAC umbrella—including the 60-seat blackbox-style Loft and the plush 199-seat Hamilton Stage down the street.

“This theatre has served as a community cornerstone for nearly nine decades,” says UCPAC executive director Lawrence McCullough. “Our mission is to present programming that is diverse and accessible and fosters the new generation of young artists and audiences.”

First-time visitors to the old building today have the same reaction as audiences did back in the 1920s: a sense of wonder and awe at its golden-age grandeur. And yes, the old Wurlitzer is still there. It sounds better than ever.

Editor’s Note: For a schedule of upcoming events at all three performing arts center venues, log onto ucpac.org or call (732) 499-8226.

The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

The Office Beer Bar & Grill • Truffled Tots

728 Thompson Ave. • BRIDGEWATER 32–34 Chestnut St. • RIDGEWOOD 1–7 South Ave. • CRANFORD 61 Union Pl. • SUMMIT
619 Bloomfield Ave. • MONTCLAIR 411 North Ave. West • WESTFIELD

Not your average tater tots, these are handmade tater tots infused with herbs and fried until they are crispy golden brown. They are served with white truffle aioli and sprinkled with sea salt.

Paragon Tap & Table • Beer Brined Pork Chop

77 Central Ave. • CLARK
(732) 931-1776 • paragonnj.com

Our pork chops are brined for thee days and served on top of a creamy bacon mac and cheese. It’s one of the highlights of our gastropub menu.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

The Black Horse Tavern & Pub • Goffles Farm Chicken Breast

1 West Main Street • MENDHAM
(963) 543–7300 • blackhorsenj.com

Prosciutto wrapped Goffles Farm Chicken Breast with roasted new potatoes, marsala herb butter & crispy sage. 

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Piattino Neighborhood Bistro • Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon

88 East Main Street • MENDHAM
(973) 543-0025 • piattinonj.com

Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon paired with a lemon herb risotto, piccata butter and crisped baby arugula.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

George and Martha’s American Grille • Crispy Jumbo Lump Crab Croquettes

67 Morris Street • MORRISTOWN
(973) 267-4700 • georgeandmarthas.com

Crispy Jumbo Lump Crab Croquettes with Lemon infused Aioli and Roasted Corn Relish.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

The Office Tavern Grill • Maryland Blue Crab Dip

3 South Street • MORRISTOWN
(973) 285-0220 • officetaverngrill.com

Maryland Blue Crab Dip Sour Dough Bread Bowl filled with Jumbo Lump Crab Dip, served with Old Bay Flour Tortilla chips.

— Kevin Felice, 40North Executive Chef

Daimatsu • Sushi Pizza

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE
(908) 233-7888 • daimatsusushibar.com

This original dish has been our signature appetizer for over 20 years. Crispy seasoned sushi rice topped with homemade spicy mayo, marinated tuna, finely chopped onion,  scallion, masago caviar, and ginger. Our customers always come back wanting more.

— Momo, Chef

Publick House • Roasted Long Island Duck Breast

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE
(908) 233-2355 • publickhousenj.com

New to our menu this season is the roasted long island duck breast. The duck is seasoned with salt and pepper and slowly roasted to temperature. Paired with creamy, sweet celery root puree and earthy oven roasted portobello mushrooms, the balance of flavors compliments the fat of the duck breast perfectly.

— Bernie Goncalves, Owner

Morris Tap & Grill • Tuna Tartare Flat Bread

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH
(973) 891-1776 • morristapandgrill.com

Fresh ahi-grade tuna tossed in a light ginger scallion sauce served on top of a wasabi brushed lavash crisp.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Thai Amarin • Duck Rad Prig

201 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD
(973) 376-6300, (973) 376-6301 • thaiamarinnj.net

A customer favorite, our crispy boneless duck topped with a sweet and spicy chili and garlic sauce is unique only to us. Topped with aromatic basil and lime leaves, our Ped Rad Prig will have you wanting more.

— Amy Thana, Owner

Café Z • Hot “Z” Shrimp

2333 Morris Avenue • UNION
(908) 686-4321 • CafeZNJ.com

Jumbo shrimp encrusted with panko bread crumbs served with our hot and spicy marinara sauce that we make here.

— Patricia Inghilleri, Owner

Chestnut Chateau • Black Seabass

649 Chestnut Street • UNION
(908) 964-8696 • chestnutchateaunj.com

As the cold weather is in full swing, everyone bundles up and likes to stay warm. I embrace the cold and use the best fish caught in the deep blue waters of our east coast. Black seabass is great whole or filleted. The flaky white meat is served with a browned butter sauce that’s garnished with capers, baby croutons, parsley and lemon supremes.

— George Niotis, Chef

Mario’s Tutto Bene • Vinegar Pork Chops

495 Chestnut Street • UNION
(908) 687-3250 • mariostuttobene.com

Our vinegar pork chops feature three thin-cut Frenched chops that are coated with Italian breadcrumbs and sautéed with sweet vinegar peppers, prosciutto and garlic. They arrive with house-made roasted or mashed potatoes. Our regulars love this entrée.

— John Garofalo, Owner

The Manor • Surf and Turf

111 Prospect Avenue • WEST ORANGE
(973) 731-2360 • themanorrestaurant.com

I pair pan-seared prime filet mignon with a butter-braised lobster, along with fresh seasonal vegetable accents. An airy shellfish emulsion and the creamiest mashed potatoes you will ever taste make for the perfect partners to this classic dish, which has helped The Manor successfully define the art of fine dining for over a half-century.

— Mario Russo, Chef de Cuisine

EDGE is not responsible for any typos, misprints or information in regard to these listings. All information was supplied by the restaurants that participated and any questions or concerns should be directed to them.

It Is What It Is…

…and 21 other expressions that drive me crazy.

By Mark Stewart

I have issues with I have issues. In my career as a writer and editor, I find myself sideswiping people in the financial, legal, medical, tech, sports, publishing and public relations industries who subject me to what I consider to be an inordinate number of expressions that either don’t say what they mean, don’t mean what they say, are utterly redundant or are subject to serial misuse.

I’m not talking about industry-specific jargon; that at least has a cultural component. The words and phrases that burrow under my skin are ones we all employ on a regular basis without even listening to the jibberish spilling out of our mouths. Perhaps the most annoying aspect of these overwrought expressions is that I catch myself using them all the time. Like the rest of the world, I have my lazy, semiliterate moments—even though I am paid not to.

So here are my Top 20. How many do you hear in a given day? Be honest…how many are you guilty of using?

Absolutely!

This is often the one-word response to something that requires nothing more than the word Yes or even a simple head-nod. I’ve noticed that a lot of service people have started using the word. “May I have some water when you come back to the table?” Absolutely. It’s become a kissing cousin to the word Obviously, which people use when something is not at all obvious.

At the end of the day…

I don’t know about you, but the end of my day rarely brings resolution to anything other than being awake. I wonder, do people who work the night shift ever say At the end of the day…? If so, wake me up so I can slap them. Actually, this expression has some history behind it: In the early 1800s, when the day ended, there was only (poorly lit) night, so everyone had to stop whatever they were doing until it was light again.

At this point in time…

Just to be clear, this is really code for Until I tell you otherwise, because it covers way more time than a single point in time.

Everything happens for a reason.

Well, technically this is true. My issue with the phrase is that, while brilliant minds like Einstein and Hawking spend their lives trying to express this concept in mathematical terms, the rest of us dullards use this old saying when we have no clue what the reason for something is.

If I would have…

This is a tense with which I am unfamiliar. It’s like a mad twisting of the subjunctive. In truth, it’s not a tense at all. The correct construction is either Had I… or If I had…

I have to say…

Fine. Go ahead. You don’t need anyone’s permission.

I have issues with…

If these issues are important topics of debate, I’m all for a lively discussion. If these issues are only inside your head, work them out and get back to me.

I mean…

Wait. Did you just say something you didn’t mean?

I’m not comfortable with…

Your comfort is not my concern, so find another way of saying I disagree or That’s a bad idea.

It is what it is…

Annoying because it relieves the utterer of any responsibility for analyzing or responding meaningfully to a situation. Doubly annoying because often it is not what it is, but something entirely different.

It’s all good.

Rarely, if ever, is it all good.

No-brainer

So are you saying this is a good idea or a stupid one? Or that it’d be stupid not to think it’s a good idea? Or that giving it more thought would require no brain? Now my head hurts.

No worries!

I’m sorry. Are you Australian? I didn’t think so. For future reference, It’s okay or Don’t worry will do just fine.

Old school

The more I think about this adjective, the more it annoys and confuses me. First of all, it should be hyphenated, yet never is. Second of all, its meaning is different when a young person uses it and an old person uses it. Third of all, let’s face it, young people have almost no concept of what old people were doing when they were young. And fourth of all, if you took courses at the New School in New York City back in the 1980s, is everything you learned now considered Old School?

Personally…

C’mon, is this any way to start a sentence? I assume whatever observation or opinion you are about to offer is personal, because you are saying it.

Same difference

Thankfully, people don’t use this much when they’re being serious because, seriously, does anyone really understand what it means?

Thanks in advance…

I am guilty of using this phrase in the manipulative way it was intended, as a means of saying to someone In case you were thinking of not doing this annoying thing I want you to do, forget it—you now have no choice because I’ve already thanked you. It’s like warning someone not to go back on a promise they haven’t even made yet.

That’s a great question.

This is a very “versatile” response. It can mean Wow, I never thought of that and I probably should have or That question was idiotic, but you’re my boss or client and I’d rather not be fired today. Often, it is a way of drawing someone timid into a group conversation, which I guess is a fairly benign use of the phrase. Ironically, there is one time when you almost never hear people say, “That’s a great question”—when someone actually asks a great question.

To be honest…

Hold on a second. At what point were you not being honest? When I hear someone say this, I instantly assume that some part of what they are about to say might be a lie.

What’s done is done.

Technically true, but that’s no reason to give up on something you might still be able to change or fix.

With all due respect…

There are certain people who’ll begin a sentence with With all due respect… and you just know that what’s coming next is going to be the most disrespectful thing you have heard all day. Admit it, you know at least one person like this.

YOLO

Short for You only live once. I don’t hang out with people who actually use this word, but it irritates me just to know that these people exist. I wonder if Hindus ever say YOLO…because I’d have an issue with that.

Editor’s Note: In case you were wondering, the author’s #23 most annoying expression was My bad. Visit the EDGE Facebook page to add your pet peeves to the list—including Pet peeve (which came in at #32).

The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside  

the area’s most creative kitchens.

 

Grain & Cane Bar and Table • Miso Glazed Salmon 

250 Connell Drive • BERKELEY HEIGHTS

(908) 897-1920 • grainandcane.com

Our savory Miso Glazed Salmon—accompanied with jasmine shrimp, fried rice and an aromatic citrus yuzu coconut sauce—is one of many sensational seasonal menu items. Order online!

 

The Thirsty Turtle • Pork Tenderloin Special 

1-7 South Avenue W. • CRANFORD

(908) 324-4140 • thirstyturtle.com

Our food specials amaze! I work tirelessly to bring you the best weekly meat, fish and pasta specials. Follow us on social media to get all of the most current updates! 

— Chef Rich Crisonio

 

The Thirsty Turtle • Brownie Sundae  

186 Columbia Turnpike • FLORHAM PARK

(973) 845-6300 • thirstyturtle.com

Check out our awesome desserts brought to you by our committed staff. The variety amazes as does the taste!

— Chef Dennis Peralta

 

 

The Famished Frog • Mango Guac 

18 Washington Street • MORRISTOWN (973) 540-9601 • famishedfrog.com

Our refreshing Mango Guac is sure to bring the taste of the Southwest to Morristown.

— Chef Ken Raymond

 

 

 

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Pork Belly Bao Buns 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 • partyonthegrill.com

Tender pork belly, hoisin sauce and pickled cucumber served on a Chinese bun. 

 

 

 

 

LongHorn Steakhouse • Outlaw Ribeye 

272 Route 22 West • SPRINGFIELD 

(973) 315-2049 • longhornsteakhouse.com

Join us for our “speedy affordable lunches” or dinner. We suggest you try our fresh, never frozen, 18 oz. bone-in Outlaw Ribeye—featuring juicy marbling that is perfectly seasoned and fire-grilled by our expert Grill Masters. Make sure to also try our amazing chicken and seafood dishes, as well.

— Anthony Levy, Managing Partner

Ursino Steakhouse & Tavern • House Carved 16oz New York Strip Steak 

1075 Morris Avenue • UNION 

(908) 977-9699 • ursinosteakhouse.com

Be it a sizzling filet in the steakhouse or our signature burger in the tavern upstairs, Ursino is sure to please the most selective palates. Our carefully composed menus feature fresh, seasonal ingredients and reflect the passion we put into each and every meal we serve.

 

Support Our Chefs! 

The restaurants featured in this section are open for business and are serving customers in compliance with state regulations. Many have created special menus ideal for take-out,  delivery or socially distant dining, so we encourage you to visit them online. 

 

Do you have a story about a favorite restaurant going the extra mile during the pandemic?  Post it on our Facebook page and we’ll make sure to share it with our readers! 

‘Tis the Season

Fresh out of ways to stay busy at home this winter?  These products will get you thinking outside of the box. 

Growth Spurt 

If you live in New Jersey, finding farmstand-fresh garden herbs and vegetables during the winter months can be an exercise in futility. And a decent tomato? Soul crushing. Which is really all the convincing you should need to check out one of the new artificially intelligent indoor produce-growing devices. We like the Smart Garden 9 by Click & Grow, a company run out of San Francisco (with a second office in Estonia—we don’t know why). It features a professional-caliber grow light and nano-material “smart soil”  that releases nutrients, oxygen and water to as many as nine different plants. The product also comes with little biodomes to fast-track sprouting.   

Image Conscious 

Your phone is filled with great photos. You’ve got boxes of old-school color prints somewhere and, oh yeah, all those albums. Hey, don’t forget the family archives of black-and-white ancestors. What to do with all of these pictures? A number of companies will make blankets, throws and other large decorative products featuring a collage of your most cherished, unforgettable images. Collage.com is a good starting point. It has actually become a competitive business, which is good for you. Pay attention to the quality of fabric you’re ordering—that makes a difference in terms of usability and durability. Done well, these blankets could just be the hit of the holiday gift-giving season. Done poorly, they will embarrass your sensitive teenager for years. In other words, you win either way!  

Scrap Collector 

Every home, it seems, has that one closet shelf piled high with material scraps and random textiles from  the ghosts of projects past, present and future. Well, could there be a better time than now to pull them together into a killer quilt? Coronavirus has pretty much ruled out the quilting-bee option, which means you’re on your own. Before you begin, consider a sewing machine built with quilting specifially in mind. There are a lot of choices at a wide range of price points, starting in the hundreds and creeping into the thousands. One  of the more popular and affordable machines is Brother’s HC1850. It comes pre-programmed with 185 different stitching patterns and a wide table for quilting, plus—and this is important—free access to an actual human to answer quilting questions for  as long as you  own it.  

Be Still My Heart 

Tempting as it may be, day-drinking is never a good idea. But making your own booze anytime is now an option with one of the new-fangled high-tech home stills that are on the market. We’re talking moonshine, of course, a product that has found its way out of the hills and into the suburbs in recent years as a liquor of choice. Among the many food-grade home “hobbyist“ kits on the market is the Stainless Steel Stovetop Still made by How to Moonshine, a Canadian company doing brisk business in the United States. It’s a five-gallon, food-grade piece of equipment that can produce three liters in a couple of hours, and works on a gas burner, induction cooktop or electric hotplate. Yes, it’ll make your kitchen look a little like Walter White’s cook room, but creating your very own batch of firewater to your own particular taste sounds like a lot of fun.     

Tunnel Vision 

Are you one of those Why should I do all the work people? Perhaps one of Wall Colony’s Woodframe Ant Farms is calling your name. These relentless tunnelers create an ever-changing natural landscape and are a  daily reminder of what can be accomplished when  we all work together. The frames come first—in walnut, oak or cherry—and the ant colony follows a few days later after you’ve done a simple set up.     

Where’s the Beef? 

Have you noticed that the quality of meat at your local grocer has improved over these last few months? Where “choice” was often the best choice, now “prime” cuts are showing up—often at choice prices. With so many restaurants either shuttered or working at low capacity, meat purveyors have had to forge new relationships with supermarkets. Who knows how long this will last? One way to take advantage of this fortuitous glitch in the supply chain is to use these prime cuts to make delicious jerky. To do that, you’ll need a machine. Some are big, bulky and expensive. But others are not. Unless you plan on opening a side hustle, then the Nesco Snackmaker Pro will do just fine. It’s technically a dehydrator, which means you can use it for fruits and vegetables if you like, but jerky aficionados give it solid reviews. You’d be surprised how many closet jerky lovers there are out there, and with retail prices soaring for even the most modest portions, you may want to increase production once friends and family find out what you’re up to. This model is actually expandable, so no problem there.

Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

Grain & Cane Bar and Table • Maine Lobster Benedict 

250 Connell Drive • BERKELEY HEIGHTS

(908) 897-1920 • grainandcane.com

Butter poached lobster, cage-free poached eggs and bernaise sauce. The flavors combine to create a beautifully silky dish that will be a weekend brunch favorite.

The Thirsty Turtle • Pork Tenderloin Special 

1-7 South Avenue W. • CRANFORD

(908) 324-4140 • thirstyturtle.com

Our food specials amaze! I work tirelessly to bring you the best weekly meat, fish and pasta specials. Follow us on social media to get all of the most current updates!  

— Chef Rich Crisonio

The Thirsty Turtle • Brownie Sundae  

186 Columbia Turnpike • FLORHAM PARK

(973) 845-6300 • thirstyturtle.com

Check out our awesome desserts brought to you by our committed staff. The variety amazes as does the taste!

— Chef Dennis Peralta

 

The Famished Frog • Mango Guac 

18 Washington Street • MORRISTOWN (973) 540-9601 • famishedfrog.com

Our refreshing Mango Guac is sure to bring the taste of the Southwest to Morristown.

— Chef Ken Raymond

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Pork Belly Bao Buns 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 • partyonthegrill.com

Tender pork belly, hoisin sauce and pickled cucumber served on a Chinese bun. 

LongHorn Steakhouse • Outlaw Ribeye 

272 Route 22 West • SPRINGFIELD 

(973) 315-2049 • longhornsteakhouse.com

Join us for our “speedy affordable lunches” or dinner. We suggest you try our fresh, never frozen, 18 oz. bone-in Outlaw Ribeye—featuring juicy marbling that is perfectly seasoned and fire-grilled by our expert Grill Masters. Make sure to also try our amazing chicken and seafood dishes, as well. 

— Anthony Levy, Managing Partner

Ursino Steakhouse & Tavern • House Carved 16oz New York Strip Steak 

1075 Morris Avenue • UNION 

(908) 977-9699 • ursinosteakhouse.com

Be it a sizzling filet in the steakhouse or our signature burger in the tavern upstairs, Ursino is sure to please the most selective palates. Our carefully composed menus feature fresh, seasonal ingredients and reflect the passion we put into each and every meal we serve.

Support Our Chefs! 

The restaurants featured in this section are open for business and are serving customers in compliance with state regulations. Many have created special menus ideal for take-out,  delivery or socially distant dining, so we encourage you to visit them online. 

Do you have a story about a favorite restaurant going the extra mile during the pandemic?  Post it on our Facebook page and we’ll make sure to share it with our readers!  

 

Bending, Not Breaking

In COVID-19 times, it’s business as UNusual in New Jersey. 

By Christine Gibbs 

At 1,200 people per square mile, New Jersey is America’s most densely populated state. We paid the price for that honor in disrupted and lost lives when COVID-19 struck. New Jersey’s 800,000 businesses, which employed nearly a quarter of its 8.9 million residents when the pandemic arrived, felt this pain deeply, too. The numbers won’t be pretty when it is all said and done, but the state’s economy is resilient and our people are tenacious and talented. Indeed, amid the crushing reports of store closings, bankruptcy proceedings, and other bad news, there seems to be a new story every day about innovative thinking or inspired action that has enabled a business here to survive and even thrive in the face of the most daunting conditions.     

Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult to draw a through-line connecting a noodle shop, a church, a college, a dog groomer, a barbecue rub, and a brewery. But here we are in the new normal, and these are some of the folks who refused to let the virus stand in their way. 

Photo courtesy of Ani Ramen

USING HIS NOODLE   

A few years back, EDGE ran a glowing review of Ani Ramen, an authentic Japanese noodle house that opened in Montclair and added a second location in Jersey City in 2017. When the coronavirus arrived in March, founder Luck Sarabhayavanija was up to five restaurants with four more on the drawing board. When dine-in privileges were revoked, he quickly switched gears in order to support the staff and the greater community. Luck recast Ani as a nonprofit “pop-up” to provide for the hungry, the needy, and first responders. The result: Rock City Pizza Company and Bang Bang Chicken shops, from which customers could order Detroit-style pizza or Chinese-style rotisserie chicken…and get another one at half price to donate. These new ventures were an immediate success, but demands from patrons of Ani’s original ramen chain prompted the opening of Ani Express, a takeout location featuring some of the company’s top-selling bowls. Customers picked up easy-to-assemble kits (to avoid cold or soggy noodles) to bring home, reheat, and Slurp-Sip-Repeat—Ani’s recommended technique for fully embracing the Japanese noodle experience. Ani’s noodles are alive and well thanks to its unique, outside-the-box response to COVID-19. The non-profit is humming along and Luck is already thinking ahead to reopening his original five restaurants and resurrecting his tabled plans for four more when the pandemic passes. 

Photo courtesy of Carton Brewing Company

BEER NECESSITIES    

“We are just keeping the lights on, surviving not thriving…in this business, you have to be nimble, you have to hustle, you can’t waste time just believing, you have to start thinking.” So says Augie Carton of the Carton Brewing Company, one of the top craft beer producers in the state when the pandemic struck. With bars and restaurants shuttered, he and cousin Chris Carton immediately started thinking local. They ramped up production of a beer named 077XX—those three numbers start the zip codes of most Jersey Shore towns—which they had already been developing based on a “flavor commonality” that had emerged during extensive market research. Carton Brewing focused on what would appeal to the most common denominator among local beer drinkers—so no, not for the careful consideration of an educated palate (as with their other products) but for consumption by the “most drinkers possible.” Devotees old and new have been heading to the company’s new facility in Atlantic Highlands to   fill their personal growlers and crowlers with their new flagship beer, the aforementioned 077XX, ever since. 

Photo courtesy of Liquid Church

LIQUID GOLD 

Houses of worship and other places of spiritual gathering have had a particularly hard go of it during the pandemic. The very qualities that bind their adherents—community, fellowship, and physical proximity— threatened to unravel once everyone was ordered to keep their distance and shelter in place. Among the numerous examples of resilience, sacrifice and clever work-arounds is one church that seemingly has gone viral thanks to the virus. Liquid Church, headquartered in Parsippany, is not your typical church (you probably guessed that from the name). Its goal is to “provide a religious experience that is the most refreshing opportunity on the planet to quench the spiritual thirst for a religious grounding, especially in these trying times,” according to lead pastor Tim Lucas. The church opened its doors in 2007 and also offered online services through CHOP, the Church Online Platform. When the pandemic arrived in New Jersey, Pastor Tim shut the doors in all three in-person worship locations and concentrated on Facebook and YouTube. Within months, the congregation grew from a robust 5,500 to a digital audience of more than 12,000. Liquid Photo courtesy of Liquid Church Church was also able to turn its Parsippany property into a makeshift warehouse, distributing “Boxes of Hope” to tens of thousands of residents in the surrounding towns. Unsure of when and how a reopening will be possible, Lucas focused on planning “re-gathering” efforts over the summer, including a safe-distancing “Liquid On the Lawn” BYOB (Bring Your Own Bible) event that prompted some people to assume, he laughingly admits, “we were either a cult or a drinking fraternity.”  

Photo courtesy of Stevens Venture Center

NOTHING VENTURED 

“Startups and the entrepreneurs behind them are like indestructible weeds that will survive and grow despite all obstacles, even COVID-19.” Strong words from David Zimmerman of the Stevens Venture Center (SVC) at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. To be sure, in chaos and uncertainty, opportunity often flourishes. Zimmerman, the Director of Technology Commercialization at SVC, acknowledges that start-ups are never easy, even under the most favorable economic and social conditions. Add the overwhelming pressure of having to launch a fledgling venture in the throes of a pandemic and that only adds to the uncertainty. That is why the Venture Center has been a beacon of hope, a “safe house and sanctuary” for preserving and elevating the spirit of community-conscious innovators and entrepreneurs. “We are here to help daring innovators commercialize their vision into something spectacular,” he says.  The response to the pandemic under Zimmerman involves the popular Hackathon, a marathon of budding tech superstars and promising mentors and sponsors, who convene in teams to define a specific problem and then sprint to find a breakthrough that has the potential to become a commercial reality. It’s now known (at least temporarily) as the COVID Health Hackathon. 

Photo courtesy of Stevens Venture Center

DOGGED PERSISTENCE 

You know who made out like bandits when we were all told to stay home? Dogs. Suddenly and without warning, dog owners were home all day, talking to their pets (because who else was there?) and walking them two or three or four times between sunup and sundown. It was a great time for Canine-Americans. Not so great, however, for dog groomers and other hands-on pet-related businesses. When the world began to reopen, so did my local dog salon, Shampoochies. Owner Sherri Amador was faced with a steady stream of horrendous home grooming disasters and a large number of dogs that were channeling the fear and stress of their stay-at-home owners. In addition to minimum-contact drop-off and pickup practices, her groomers began offering soothing massages to stressed-out pups and added a dog training option as another creative add-on to make up for the loss of vital revenue from the sale of treats, leashes, and other impulse items. Sherri confirmed the fact that her staff has upped the ante on TLC—both for dogs and their owners—and has corrected a number of strange grooming attempts by her clients. These tweaks and their great results helped Sherri recapture 70% of her business, which has enabled her to keep three full-time groomers busy. And tips are up from grateful customers, she adds. 

SPICE GIRL 

One of the changes in the air, literally, for New Jersey during the pandemic has been the smell of grilling. The summer of 2020 (and the spring and the fall, too) may one day be remembered here as the golden age of the backyard barbecue. That explains, in part, how

Photo courtesy of Dr. Dor’s BBQ

Dr. Dor’s BBQ expanded from a friends-and-family worst-kept secret to a bona fide international brand in the span of six months. The Dr. Dor’s line encompasses 10 rubs now, is included in monthly barbecue subscription boxes, and has customers throughout North America and Europe. That success, however, is just one part of a bigger story. Dr. Dor is Doreen Rinaldo, a longtime radiation therapist at Trinitas and unrepentant “barbecue geek.” She’s not a doctor; it’s a nickname bestowed upon her by her pals when she entered the medical profession 25 years ago and she just stopped fighting it after a while. When the COVID-19 crisis began in March, Rinaldo realized that first responders, emergency staff and other nightshift workers had no way of obtaining a hot meal. “I was stuck at home with nothing to keep me occupied, so I put together a food event and asked local restaurants and foodies like me for help,” she recalls. “The goal was to raise money to feed first responders and also keep the restaurants in business. We fed around 50 people in the Trinitas Emergency Department that first night, plus the Roselle Fire and Police Departments.” Long story short, the Trinitas Health Foundation got behind Rinaldo’s idea and, over the spring and summer, the Feed the  Heroes program resupplied the hospital every day of the week, serving north of 20,000 meals in all. Rinaldo continued doing outside events, as well, and the list of participating restaurants and individual donors would fill up a couple of pages of this magazine. By the end of August, the hospital celebrated its first week with no new COVID patients (from a high of 200 a week) and the program ended. Rinaldo, who reported for duty in Elizabeth throughout the coronavirus battle, says she is spending her off hours filling holiday orders, including a big one for Barbecue Rub Club. She would love to retire as the “Queen of Barbecue” someday, but for now, like the rest of us, she is focused on maintaining an even keel and just having fun again. “This started as something to keep my mind focused during a pretty intense, frightening time,” Rinaldo says. “I love that  it ended up being something that brought a lot of  people together.” 

SO, WHAT NEXT

The common thread connecting these success stories involves creative rethinking, gritty determination, and gutsy projections into post-pandemic markets. Many small businesses have chosen to “do good” until they start doing well again, and in the process discovered that they had deepened the connection to the community and their customers. Restaurants and farmers are delivering to local food banks; doctors and medical staff diagnose patients through telehealth conferencing; gyms, trainers and physical therapists stream healthy workouts. And while no one can honestly say they have overcome all of their COVID-related challenges, many can claim to have made impressive progress.  

Shifting Gears

Within days of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting New
Jersey, Trinitas found itself on the front lines,
scrambling to understand the virus and working around the clock to combat its deadliest effects acute respiratory distress syndrome and respiratory failure. Physicians and researchers at the hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Center jumped into the fray and bringing their unique perspective to a potentially overwhelming situation, helped to turn the tide with inspired cutting-edge treatments and fast-tracked clinical trials. For instance, Trinitas was one of the first to put a stem-cell therapy developed by Viti Labs into play- assembling an interdisciplinary team that included hematologists, oncologists, and emergency department doctors in real-time. Patients with COVID-19 were infused with antibody-rich plasma from coronavirus survivors to help fight the virus. “We had positive responses with a subgroup of our plasma patients which was amazing considering the challenges we had to face,” says Dr. Michelle Cholankeril, Division Chief of Medical Oncology at Trinitas. The team’s groundbreaking work continues.

Adaptive, outside-the-box thinking has long been a hallmark of successful businesses in New Jersey. Life will no doubt be different in the new, post-pandemic normal. However, that is one thing that is unlikely.   

John Slattery

Fox Broadcasting Company

There is an art to delivering a scripted line and John Slattery has all but mastered it. When his characters speak, we not only listen. We want to know everything about them. As Roger Sterling on Mad Men, he offered a window into the brand-building culture of 1960s America and, as Paul LeBlanc in the new Fox series neXt, he is our guide to the chilling prospect of artificial intelligence run amok. Gerry Strauss was curious about the origin of Slattery’s talent for boiling down big television and film concepts into elegant, intimate and often funny moments. Not surprisingly, it was honed live on stage.            

EDGE: What drew you to acting as a young man? 

Broadway.com

JS: I watched a lot of movies and TV when I was a kid and, somewhere in there, I realized that people were actually doing this as a job…and maybe I could do that. I had to apply to college somewhere and there was a school—Catholic University in Washington, DC—that my sister had gone to. I was not a very good student and my options were probably not that great. It was the only place I applied. If I didn’t get in there, I was going to have to figure something else out. I got in and they had a theater department, so that’s how I started. 

EDGE: Your stage résumé is very extensive. Do you actively pursue theater work in between your television and film projects? 

JS: Absolutely. One of my favorite things is to be able to do various disciplines. There are different rhythms to all of them. When I went to New York, my first legit jobs were commercials and stuff like that—which are great jobs to have and you learn a lot. But as far as acting, I learned on the stage. It’s thrilling and difficult in a different kind of way. It tests you and your ability to repeat the whole process every night and rehearse for a sustained period of time. So it’s just completely different than anything involving a camera. Hopefully, that is something that people will still be able to do. 

EDGE: How did John Slattery become Roger Sterling? 

JS: Matt Weiner saw me in a play. I was doing Rabbit Hole on Broadway with Cynthia Nixon and Tyne Daly.  I went in to read for the part of Don Draper; that’s because the part of Roger didn’t have a lot to do in the pilot. And then, after I read a couple different times and did my homework and prepared, he said, “Well, here’s the thing…[laughs]…we have that guy already.” That actually happened. Matt claims that I was in a bad mood the whole time we shot the pilot because I didn’t think that my part was good enough, and my nose was out of joint because he made me read for Don Draper.   

EDGE: Were you in a bad mood? 

JS: I don’t know. But I probably had one foot out the door, because no one knew what Mad Men was going to turn out to be, since AMC hadn’t done very much original programming. Anyway, Matt promised me it would be a great part…and it was.  

EDGE: When the series concluded, were you concerned that future projects might not meet the untouchable quality standards that you’d become accustomed to as a part of that show? 

JS: No, not even a little bit. I’m not looking for Mad Men. I’ve done that and I had a great time doing it.  I never expected it to happen in the first place, and I don’t expect it to happen again. That said, I went on and did Spotlight, which was pretty great—great circumstance, great people. I just try to find the material that speaks to me. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But that’s okay, too. If you can find something that satisfies you, then I’m good with that. 

EDGE: You’ve played a lot of bosses and high-ranking employees. Does each take a particular kind of preparation? 

Upper Case Editorial

JS: I’ll do my research, the required homework in order to make myself as convincing as possible. But people are in positions of authority for all kinds of reasons, whether they know their job, or whether they they’re just good with people, or whether their brother-in-law runs the company. For example, in Mad Men, I played a guy whose name is on the building, but it’s because his father founded the company. However, If you said that to him, he’d say, “What does that have to do with anything? Are you trying to tell me that I don’t know how to do my job?” There isn’t any one quality that is required to have that job. 

EDGE: neXt has been quite the addition to Fox’s lineup this season. What appealed to you about the concept of the show? 

JS: The character appealed to me because this guy created this artificial intelligence, and he immediately recognizes the potential dangers of and tries to lock it away. In his absence, it’s unlocked and plugged into the internet and it starts to run amok, and he’s trying to warn people how dangerous it is. I was interested in exploring how do you describe exponential growth and tell someone the planet’s burning?  So he’s trying to describe to people how super intelligence works and why it’s dangerous. You give this thing an order on Friday and over the weekend it learns the 20,000 years of human history—you think it might take issue with you being its boss on Monday morning? I say a line in the show—“You know, in your lifetime, you’ll kill maybe 100,000 bugs with your car. You don’t mean to…they’re just in the way. That’s what we are to this thing.”  

EDGE: People look at your character Paul like he’s crazy. 

JS: Because he is kind of crazy. He has this brain disease, and he’s hallucinating and he’s paranoid and he’s anxious. People are put off by him and don’t really want to listen to what he has to say. So it’s that combination that made the whole role a really interesting exercise—and makes it a thrilling show. You asked the question about how I approach playing people in positions of authority? So I don’t know anything about super intelligence. I read a couple of books and watched Sam Harris give a couple of lectures. I listened to Elon Musk and Bill Gates trying to explain it. You go So how do I do that? I had to learn how to get my mouth around some of the technical terms that that need to be second nature to my character and I have to communicate with a degree of authority—as well as an off-handed quality—that really smart people have [laughs].  

EDGE: With so much streaming content that gets binged and forgotten until a new season drops, do you think there is a benefit to having series like neXt air one episode a week—so that suspense builds, storylines develop and buzz gets generated? 

Fox Broadcasting Company

JS: It’s a good question. I just finished watching a show called The Bureau. It’s a French spy show. They had already made four seasons of it, so I binged four seasons of it. I thought there were five and was expecting to watch the fifth next, and then I realized that the new season hadn’t come out yet. Then, the fifth season was on week to week [laughs] so I had to watch the thing every week and wait for them one at a time. I was kind of pissed in the beginning, but it didn’t keep me from turning it on. You can binge something and you can crank through the story in a couple of days, which is great. But there still is that anticipation if you know how to hook the audience. You’ve got to have a good couple of shows up top, kicking the thing off and setting the hook as it were to the audience—which I think we do. You’re not trying to manipulate anybody, but you’re trying to get them interested in the story you’re telling. There’s so much entertainment out there, and people’s lives are so filled with media of one kind or another, that it’s hard to make a dent. I think this show does. I really do. And I think it’s more timely now than when we made it six months ago.  

Marvel Studios

Iron Man’s Dad

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know John Slattery as Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s father, a character presented in flashbacks since he was murdered before the current-day setting. How did John land this role?  

I wasn’t a big comic book fan—not since I was a kid, so I really didn’t have that much of a pull towards it. I got a call from Jon Favreau, who directed the first two Iron Man movies. “Do you have any children?” I said, “Yeah…”, and he said, “You have to do this then. I mean, how are you going to tell your kid that you had a chance to play Howard Stark and you turned it down?”  

When I did scenes with Robert Downey, there’s a script and we rehearse it and then we change it. It wasn’t like a total improv, but there was a lot of stuff that we were just trying to figure out. You have to figure out the best way to tell the story of the film and try to figure out where the scene lives. It was really fun to do that with Downey and the Russo brothers, who are such smart guys. 

Amazon Studios/Prime Video

The Spice of Life

Is it fun for you to pop into an episode of The Romanoffs or a film role that doesn’t involve a long-term commitment? 

Yeah! Variety is part of the reason I went into this business. You can play different people and learn to do a variety of different jobs, but you don’t have to actually stick with them. Sometimes the short assignment can be preferable, depending on where my life is at the moment. Sometimes it’s tricky because you don’t have as much information about the story to go on. Then again, you have to remember that because a show like Mad Men happens one scene at a time, so you don’t really know a character in its entirety until you get to the end.    

 

Chef Recommends

Grain & Cane Bar and Table • Maine Lobster Benedict

250 Connell Drive • BERKELEY HEIGHTS

(908) 897-1920 • grainandcane.com

Butter poached lobster, cage-free poached eggs and bernaise sauce. The flavors combine to create a beautifully silky dish that will be a weekend brunch favorite.

 

The Thirsty Turtle • Pork Tenderloin Special

1-7 South Avenue W. • CRANFORD

(908) 324-4140 • thirstyturtle.com

Our food specials amaze! I work tirelessly to bring you the best weekly meat, fish and pasta specials. Follow us on social media to get all of the most current updates! 

— Chef Rich Crisonio

 

The Thirsty Turtle • Brownie Sundae

186 Columbia Turnpike • FLORHAM PARK

(973) 845-6300 • thirstyturtle.com

Check out our awesome desserts brought to you by our committed staff. The variety amazes as does the taste!

— Chef Dennis Peralta

 

The Famished Frog • Mango Guac

18 Washington Street • MORRISTOWN (973) 540-9601 • famishedfrog.com

Our refreshing Mango Guac is sure to bring the taste of the Southwest to Morristown.

— Chef Ken Raymond

 

 

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Pork Belly Bao Buns

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 • partyonthegrill.com

Tender pork belly, hoisin sauce and pickled cucumber served on a Chinese bun. 

 

 

 

Daimatsu • Sushi Pizza

860 Mountain Avenue • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-7888 • daimatsusushibar.com

This original dish has been our signature appetizer for over 20 years. Crispy seasoned sushi rice topped with homemade spicy mayo, marinated tuna, finely chopped onion,  scallion, masago caviar, and ginger. Our customers always come back wanting more.

 

 

Garden Grille • Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

304 Route 22 West • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 232-5300  • hgispringfield.hgi.com

Beet and goat cheese salad with mandarin oranges, golden beets, spiced walnuts, arugula, with a red wine vinaigrette.

— Chef Sean Cznadel

 

LongHorn Steakhouse • Outlaw Ribeye

272 Route 22 West • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 315-2049 • longhornsteakhouse.com

Join us for our “speedy affordable lunches” or dinner. We suggest you try our fresh, never frozen, 18 oz. bone-in Outlaw Ribeye—featuring juicy marbling that is perfectly seasoned and fire-grilled by our expert Grill Masters. Make sure to also try our amazing chicken and seafood dishes, as well.

— Anthony Levy, Managing Partner

 

Outback Steakhouse • Bone-In Natural Cut Ribeye

901 Mountain Avenue • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 467-9095 • outback.com/locations/nj/springfield

This is the entire staff’s favorite, guests rave about. Bone-in and extra marbled for maximum tenderness, juicy and savory. Seasoned and wood-fired grilled over oak.

— Duff Regan, Managing Partner

 

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Japanese Taco

23A Nelson Avenue • STATEN ISLAND, NY

(718) 966-9600 • partyonthegrill.com

Choice of Tuna with wakeme, Kobe beef with sushi rice or Rock Shrimp with pineapple. Served in a crispy wonton shell, Asian slaw, topped with spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce.

 

Ursino Steakhouse & Tavern • House Carved 16oz New York Strip Steak

1075 Morris Avenue • UNION

(908) 977-9699 • ursinosteakhouse.com

Be it a sizzling filet in the steakhouse or our signature burger in the tavern upstairs, Ursino is sure to please the most selective palates. Our carefully composed menus feature fresh, seasonal ingredients and reflect the passion we put into each and every meal we serve.

 

 

Support Our Chefs!

The restaurants featured in this section are open for business and are serving customers in compliance with state regulations. Many have created special menus ideal for take-out,  delivery or socially distant dining, so we encourage you to visit them online.

Do you have a story about a favorite restaurant going the extra mile during the pandemic?  Post it on our Facebook page and we’ll make sure to share it with our readers!

EDGE is not responsible for any typos, misprints or information in regard to these listings. All information was supplied by the restaurants that participated and any questions or concerns should be directed to them.

 

A Cut Above

Classic jewel heists…from the historical to the hysterical.

By Mark Stewart

Last November, a pair of thieves in Germany made off with a group of priceless artifacts from the Green Vault Jewelry Room in Dresden’s Royal Palace. When asked to actually put a price on the haul, experts estimated the value of the theft at over $1 billion, making it the largest caper of its kind in history. Three sets of 18th-century jewelry were taken, each including dozens of precious gems. The theft was an old-school “hack”—the thieves smashed through the museum showcases with an ax.

The lure of gems and jewelry has proved irresistible to scores of get-rich-quick criminals over the centuries, dating back to tomb-robbers in ancient Egypt (and perhaps farther back than that). No less alluring to the rest of us are the details of these crimes, particularly the most imaginative ones…and sometimes the most unimaginative ones. Here are some of my favorites:

United Kingdom Government

1671 • NOBLE GESTURE

The “Holy Grail” of thievery targets might just be the Tower of London, which has housed the British royal family’s crown jewels for centuries. One of the loopiest schemes to make off with them was concocted by Thomas Blood, who spent a great deal of time and money creating a fake identity so he could pass himself off as an English nobleman. Blood befriended Talbot Edwards—the official Keeper of the Jewels—and promised that his rich nephew would wed Edwards’s as-yet unmarried daughter, elevating both into high society. Since they were practically related, Edwards agreed to give Blood and some fake-noble buddies a private viewing of the king’s bejeweled crown and scepter. Once in the inner sanctum, they knocked out Edwards, broke up the crown and scepter with a mallet, stuffed the pieces down their pants and ca-chinged down to the bottom of the tower—where they were immediately apprehended by the guards. Blood expected to lose his head, and probably should have, but when King Charles II heard the story he couldn’t stop laughing. He rewarded the counterfeit noble for his chutzpah with a genuine title and a country estate in Ireland.

 

 

American International Pictures

1964 • MURPHY’S LAW

One of the legendary party animals of the 1960s was Jack Murphy, aka Murph the Surf, a concert violinist, tennis pro and national-champion surfer who lived for the next adrenaline rush and had absolutely no impulse control. He also was known to help himself to the odd piece of jewelry to finance his hedonistic lifestyle. One evening while passing the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Murphy noticed that a number of gallery windows on the building’s top floor were cracked a couple of inches for ventilation. He knew this gallery very well: It housed the J.P. Morgan Collection of gems and minerals. On the night of October 29th, Murphy and two accomplices scaled the outside of the castle-like structure, entered the gallery and discovered to their delight that the alarms on the cases all had dead batteries. They helped themselves to gemstones by the handfuls, including the Star of India (the world’s largest sapphire) and climbed back out the window completely unnoticed. The theft, discovered the following morning, was a national sensation. Murphy and his pals upped the ante on their partying, arousing suspicion, and were arrested at their hotel three days later. They had already sold several diamonds, including the famed 16.25-carat Eagle Diamond, which was never seen again. Free on bail, Murphy was rearrested for robbing Eva Gabor and later convicted of a Florida murder. In 1975, he was the subject of the movie Live a Little, Steal a Lot, starring Robert Conrad and Don Stroud. Murphy was paroled in 1986 and became an ordained minister.

1989 • DUST DEVIL

It is common knowledge among thieves that members of the Saudi royal family diversify their oil wealth by stashing away significant quantities of high-end gems and jewelry. Kriangkrai Techamong, a Thai gardener working at the palace of a Saudi prince, scaled the outside of the building, jimmied open a cheap wall safe, and helped himself to 200 pounds of loot (which included a blue diamond the size of an egg). He hid his booty in the dust bag of a vacuum cleaner, which he wheeled calmly past the prince’s security team and out of the palace. Techamong shipped the jewels to himself before boarding a plane back to Thailand. The fencing part of the operation was not as well-thought-out, however. Some of the unique pieces started showing up in photos of Thai politicians and their spouses, prompting the Saudis to send a trio of investigators to Thailand. All three were murdered.

www.istockphoto.com

2003 • REALITY BITES

In a heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven (or Twelve, or Thirteen), a highly skilled team assembled by criminal mastermind Leonardo Notarbartolo successfully ran a gauntlet of security systems and made off with over $100 million in gold, jewelry and precious stones from a vault two stories beneath the Antwerp Diamond Center in Belgium. Operating out of a small office they had rented in the building, the thieves made copies of master keys, conquered a lock with millions of possible combinations, evaded an array of motion and heat sensors, penetrated an 18-inch steel door and swapped security tapes on their way out to erase video evidence of their crime. Notarbartolo, who managed to fence the bulk of his booty, was shocked when the authorities quickly cracked the case and arrested him—even though they never did figure out how he did it. The clue linking him to the crime was DNA recovered from a half-eaten salami sandwich. No more spoilers here—J.J. Abrams optioned the story so one day you’ll see the whole thing on the silver screen.

2008 • TUNNEL VISION

The Academy Awards are “showtime” for the world’s top jewelers, and Italian design group Damiani is no exception. Workers in the company’s Milan store were preparing for an Oscars party when seven men dressed as police officers inexplicably appeared on the other side of a sophisticated security system, scooped up $20 million in jewelry, and disappeared down a staircase, never to be seen again. The thieves had spent weeks in the basement of the adjacent retail space, which was unoccupied, tunneling through a wall that was nearly 30 feet thick. Fortunately for Damiani, its best items had already been shipped to the U.S. and were adorning the necks of celebrities gliding across the red carpet.

2012 • EASY RIDERS

The Brent Cross Shopping Centre holds the distinction of being the first “American-style” shopping mall in London. It was also the scene of one of the most brazen heists in British history. A few minutes after the mall’s opening on an otherwise normal Tuesday morning in November, shoppers had to dodge three motorcycles roaring across the upper walkway— each vehicle carrying a driver and a passenger. The motorcycles stopped in front of Fraser Hart Jewelers, the three passengers hopped off and crashed through the store window with axes and baseball bats, got back on the motorcycles and sped off with more than $3 million in jewelry and high-end watches. The bikes were recovered hours later but the thieves were never caught. Unfortunately, the surprising presence of baseball bats in a cricket-crazed culture offered no useful clues.

Photo by Holman

2013 • GONE IN 60 SECONDS

The Carlton Hotel in the French seaside resort of Cannes hosted an exhibition of jewels belonging to Lev Leviev, a crony of Vladimir Putin’s known as the “King of Diamonds.” In the brief moment when the jewels were being moved discreetly from a secure carrying case into an even more secure showcase by three unarmed security guards, a gun-toting thief entered the otherwise empty room from an unlocked terrace and compelled the guards to hand over 34 high-carat, unblemished gems worth more than $130 million. The operation took less than a minute from beginning to end, drawing comparisons to the fabled Pink Panther for its stealth and ingenuity. Ironically, the Carlton was where Alfred Hitchcock filmed the 1955 Cary Grant/Grace Kelly classic To Catch a Thief.  EDGE

www.istockphoto.com

2015 • PEARL JAM

The Academy Awards broadcast is also “showtime” for the world’s celebrity fashion-watchers, where designers get to strut their stuff on the red carpet. In 2015, the most head-turning creation was a Calvin Klein dress worn by Lupita Nyong’o, which was adorned with 6,000 hand-sewn pearls. The actress, who won an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave the year before, called her dress a “timeless, priceless work of art.”

 

The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

Paragon Tap & Table • Pan Seared Mahi Mahi 

77 Central Ave. • CLARK

(732) 931-1776 • paragonnj.com

This rustic dish—Pan Seared Mahi Mahi served on ginger garlic bok choy stir fry, scallion jasmine rice topped with pickled lotus root—is a dish I created to take our guests on a culinary journey. The hearty texture of the fish balanced with the subtleties of the bok choy and jasmine rice make this dish a unique dining experience.

— Eric B. LeVine, Chef/Partner

A Toute Heure/100 Steps Supper Club & Raw Bar

232 Centennial Avenue / 215 Centennial Avenue • CRANFORD

(908) 276-6600 • localrootscranford.com

In the heart of the winter season, the local waters are perhaps the best source of our seasonal favorites…from briny clams and oysters to amazing local catch you simply can’t go wrong.   

— Andrea & Jim Carbine, Owners

BoulevardFive72 • Grilled “Chermoula” Organic Salmon

572 Boulevard • KENILWORTH

(908) 709-1200 • boulevardfive72.com

This Mediterranean-inspired, signature dish is served with fingerling potatoes, roasted golden-beet puree and a whole grain mustard sauce. The Salmon is sourced from the North Atlantic’s Faroese Island Fiords by Boulevard’s own seafood company.

— Scott Snyder, Chef/Owner

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 • partyonthegrill.com

8 oz. filet mignon served with gingered spinach, shitake mushrooms, and tempura onion ring.

Daimatsu • Sushi Pizza

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-7888 • daimatsusushibar.com

This original dish has been our signature appetizer for over 20 years. Crispy seasoned sushi rice topped with homemade spicy mayo, marinated tuna, finely chopped onion, scallion, masago caviar, and ginger. Our customers always come back wanting more.

— Momo, Chef

Publick House • Kobe Short Rib   

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-2355 • publickhousenj.com

Our Kobe short ribs are slow roasted, until the meat is tender enough to literally melt in your mouth. Served with garlic whipped potato purée and sautéed spinach, this dish is the perfect comfort food to escape any cold day.

— Bernie Goncalves, Owner

Luciano’s Ristorante & Lounge • House Made Mafalda Pasta Inverno Style

1579 Main Street • RAHWAY

(732) 815-1200 • lucianosristorante.com

Our goal is to give our guests a pleasurable dining experience, with fresh ingredients and personable service in a beautiful Tuscan décor complete with fireplaces. Our house-made Mafalda pasta features slow-braised artichoke crowns, cipollini onions and oven-dried tomatoes in a saffron cream broth. Luciano’s is available for dining and private parties of all types.

— Joseph Mastrella, Executive Chef/Partner

Morris Tap & Grill • BBQ Braised Pork Shank with Corn Hash

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH

(973) 891-1776 • morristapandgrill.com

With the winter here we have created this amazingly deep and rich dish for you to enjoy. This dish embodies the rustic cuisine that I am known for while creating textures.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Thai Amarin • Goong Ma Kham

201 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 376-6300, (973) 376-6301 • thaiamarinnj.net

Batter fried jumbo shrimps with a tasty house made tamarind sauce,  topped with roasted almonds and served on a bed of stir-fried spinach.  

— Amy Thana, Owner

Spirit: Social Eatery and Bar • Jersey Breakfast Bar Pie

250 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 258-1600 • mclynns.com

Get in the Spirit! Our Jersey Breakfast Bar Pie features potatoes, Taylor ham, cheddar cheese and onions. It doesn’t get more Jersey than that! 

— Mark Houlker, Chef

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Volcano Roll 

23A Nelson Avenue • STATEN ISLAND, NY

(718) 966-9600 • partyonthegrill.com

Hot-out-of-the-oven, crab, avocado and cream cheese rolled up and topped with a mild spicy scallop salad.

The Manor • Petite Filet Mignon & Short Ribs

111 Prospect Avenue • WEST ORANGE

(973) 731-2360 • themanorrestaurant.com

Our hearty petite filet mignon, accompanied by oh-so-rich short ribs that have been braised to tender perfection are ideal for the season. Add to that grilled baby leeks, forage mushrooms scented in bordelaise sauce, caramelized cipollini onions, and a delightfully-presented potato purée in a crisp potato basket and you have a taste of winter well worth the visit.

— Vincent Raith, Executive Chef

The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

Paragon Tap & Table • Bacon Wrapped Pork 

77 Central Ave. • CLARK

(732) 931-1776 • paragonnj.com

I like to take traditional items such as pork and ravioli and create dishes such as Bacon Wrapped Pork tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms. Pair it with an award-winning craft beer or craft cocktail and see why were recognized by NJ.com as one of the region’s hottest restaurants. 

— Eric B. LeVine, Chef/Partner

BoulevardFive72 • Seared Day Boat Scallop

572 Boulevard • KENILWORTH

(908) 709-1200 • boulevardfive72.com

Seared Day Boat Scallop, served with a Green Lentil Daube, Applewood Smoked Bacon Lardons, and Herbed Caper Butter. This has been a signature dish at Boulevard Five72 since we first opened. Over the years, our Scallops has been one of my most satisfying items to prepare.

— Scott Snyder, Chef/Owner

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 • partyonthegrill.com

We prepare a crusted 8-ounce filet mignon served with gingered spinach, shitake mushrooms, and a tempura onion ring. 

Daimatsu • Crab Avocado Salad

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-7888 • daimatsusushibar.com

One of my favorite creations—I prepare something different every week—Crab Avocado Salad features snow crab, chipotle jelly, avocado, cilantro, lime soy dressing with yuzu citrus foam and caviar on top. 

— Momo, Chef

Publick House • Pan Roasted Salmon 

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-2355 • publickhousenj.com

Our pan roasted salmon is one of our best selling entrees. Seared to give it a beautiful crispy skin, it is paired with roasted fingerlings, rock shrimp, chopped red peppers, cream, and saffron. The juxtaposition of textures and flavors really makes for an unforgettable dish.

— Bernie Goncalves, Owner

Luciano’s Ristorante & Lounge • Warm Goat Cheese Salad

1579 Main Street • RAHWAY

(732) 815-1200 • lucianosristorante.com

The warm goat cheese salad with tender greens and a mulled cabernet dressing and toasted pine nuts is a signature appetizer at Luciano’s, where fresh ingredients and personable service in a beautiful Tuscan décor create a fine dining experience. Our menus are seasonally influenced to feature the best of what’s available in the market. 

— Joseph Mastrella, Executive Chef/Partner

Morris Tap & Grill • Herb Chicken with fresh Gnocchi

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH

(973) 891-1776 • morristapandgrill.com

Herb chicken with fresh gnocchi and house sausage finished with red wine garlic demi. This dish is a perfect example of how my team and I create fun and stylish food, and why we have received accolades for the last 4 ½ years from every major New Jersey dot-com and magazine. 

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Boulevard Seafood Company • Sautéed Black Sea Bass 

49 West Main Street • SOMERVILLE

(908) 722-0600 • boulevardseafoodcompany.com

Our Sautéed Black Sea Bass sits atop asparagus, finished with a black olive & caper vinaigrette. This is one example of the simple preparations we use that let the quality of our locally sourced seafood shine.

— Scott Snyder, Chef/Owner

Spirit: Social Eatery and Bar • Jersey Breakfast Bar Pie

250 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 258-1600 • mclynns.com

Get in the Spirit! Our Jersey Breakfast Bar Pie features potatoes, Taylor ham, cheddar cheese and onions. It doesn’t get more Jersey than that!  

— Mark Houlker, Chef

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Volcano Roll 

23A Nelson Avenue • STATEN ISLAND, NY

(718) 966-9600 • partyonthegrill.com

Hot-out-of-the-oven, crab, avocado and cream cheese rolled up and topped with a mild spicy scallop salad.

Galloping Hill Caterers

Galloping Hill Road and Chestnut Street • UNION

(908) 686-2683 • gallopinghillcaterers.com

Galloping Hill Caterers has been an incredible landmark for nearly sixty years. We pride ourselves in delivering “over the top” cuisine, impeccable service and outstanding attention to detail. That is the hallmark of our success! Simply, an unforgettable experience. Pictured here is one of our crepes flambé that really creates lots of excitement!

— George Thomas, Owner

The Garden Restaurant • Top Sirloin Baseball Cut Steak

943 Magie Avenue • UNION

(908) 558-0101 • gardenrestaurantnj.com

The Garden’s top sirloin baseball cut steak is deliciously prepared to set off every flavor on the palette. Accompanied by our “sweeter than lobster” Nigerian jumbo tiger prawns, this butcher’s choice certified angus is served on our chef’s finest steak board to display the flavor infusion accentuated with house made sweet peppercorn sauce. Served with a simple accompaniment of seasonal roasted vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes.

— Justin Massie, Executive Chef

Swing Shift

The PGA Championship is back at Baltusrol.

By Steve Foehl

The first weeks of spring annually signal the start of golf in New Jersey, and coincide with the playing of the first major championship of the year, The Masters. The beauty and drama of the tournament at Augusta National Golf Club heralds the season, like so many Opening Days at ballparks around the country. But this year is even more special than others, as the final major of the year, The PGA Championship, returns to Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield this July. It was last played there in 2005, when Phil Mickelson won by one shot over Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington, and by two shots over Davis Love III and Tiger Woods.

www.istockphoto.com

New Jersey and Baltusrol are no strangers to big-time championship golf. The first time the PGA was played in New Jersey was 1942, at Seaview Country Club in Galloway, near Atlantic City. The tournament was won by Sam Snead, who reported for Naval duty shortly after. In addition to that 2005 PGA, Baltusrol has hosted seven United States Open Championships—the first in 1903 and the last in 1993. Moreover, Baltusrol has hosted fifteen

General Mills, Inc.

United States Golf Association national championships. In addition to the seven U.S. Opens, the venerable course in Springfield has hosted four U.S. Amateurs, two U.S. Women’s Amateurs and two U.S. Women’s Opens. In all, 15 different New Jersey clubs have hosted 59 USGA national championships

This July, The Ridgewood Country Club in Bergen County will host its fourth national championship, the U.S. Girls’ Junior; in 2017, Trump National–Bedminster will host the U.S. Women’s Open. Previously, in 2009, Trump Bedminster hosted the U.S. Girls’ and Boys’ Juniors at the same time. Incidentally, Jordan Spieth won the U.S. Junior at Trump Bedminster. He won a second U.S. Junior title in 2011—a sign of good things to come for him. For the record, Tiger Woods is the only player to win three U.S. Juniors.

New Jersey boasts so many wonderful courses, which is one of the reasons—along with a large population base—that golf is thriving in the Garden State. Pine Valley, Baltusrol (both the Upper and Lower courses), Plainfield, Somerset Hills, Ridgewood and Galloway National have all made the Top 100 of the major magazine rankings. In addition, courses open to the general public, including Ballyowen, Neshanic Valley, Hominy Hill and Atlantic City, are consistently highly rated. All this shows the breadth of wonderful opportunities to play around the state. There is a fantastic mix of old and new, public and private.

The National Golf Foundation, which tracks various barometers in the sport, reports that rounds are up for the state each year for the past three years. New Jersey has five chapters of The First Tee, a national organization that not only introduces youngsters 8 to 18 to golf, but also teaches them life skills. Further, these chapters introduce young people to caddying, as well as opportunities to earn money, qualify for scholarship aid, and work toward higher education through a program called A Path to College. If you or a family member would like to learn the game, there are several ways to go. Many counties have programs for group lessons and many courses offer a starter program called Get Golf Ready. You might also consider individual lessons from a professional, at a course or driving range; for information go to pga.com. 

All of this portends a bright future for golf in the Garden State. There are so many opportunities to play great courses around New Jersey, whether you are an avid golfer or learning the game, even if you’re a beginner. Golf can be a wonderful social and family activity. This summer, the Lower Course at Baltusrol will offer a wonderful opportunity to see the best players in the world in a remarkable park-like setting—athletes like Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. By following the greats of the game, you can learn so much about playing golf,

Library of Congress

PGA TURNS 100 

One hundred years ago, Rodman Wanamaker organized a luncheon that led to the formation of The PGA of America. Wanamaker, a department store magnate, believed golf professionals might boost equipment sales if they formed an association. He invited a number of them—along with leading amateurs—to gather for lunch at the Taplow Club in the Martinique Hotel in New York City to discuss his ideas. 

Later that year, the PGA of America was founded in New York City with 35 charter members. During that luncheon, Wanamaker hinted that the newly-formed organization needed an annual “all-professional” tournament, and offered to put up $2,500 (and various trophies and medals) as part of the prize fund. The first PGA Championship was played later that year in October at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, NY. The inaugural champion was Jim Barnes, who also won the next

PGA, which was played in 1919. The championship was not played in 1917 and 1918 due to World War I. “Long Jim,” as Barnes was known, also won a U.S. Open and a British Open. His last professional win was the New Jersey State Open, in 1939, when he was working at the Essex County Country Club in West Orange.

Upper Case Editorial

A BRIEF HISTORY OF GOLF IN THE GARDEN STATE 

Golf arrived in North America in the 1870s. In 1887, the Essex County Club in West Orange opened as New Jersey’s first course. Over the next decade, the state saw a boom in club- and course-building, catering to wealthy and privileged New Yorkers (both men and women). Golf pros and course designers were imported from England and Scotland. The United States Golf Association was formed in 1894; the USGA and its museum are now headquartered in Far Hills. Also in 1894, a group of female golf enthusiasts opened the first ladies-only golf club, in Convent Station.  

Legend has it that the term birdie originated in New Jersey. In 1899, during a round at the Atlantic City Country Club, Ab Smith described a great approach as a “bird of a shot.” His foursome agreed that they would call any hole completed under-par a “birdie.” 

Of the many championships hosted by Baltusrol, perhaps the most interesting was the 1967 U.S. Open. The golf world was abuzz after the third round when

Marty Fleckman sat atop the leader board. A 23-year-old amateur competing against the giants of the day, he went into the final round one stroke in front of defending champ Billy Casper, as well as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus (right). Fleckman was no slouch—a former NCAA champion, he won his first tournament after turning pro later that year. However, he would finish well off the pace, as Nicklaus and Palmer duked it out over the last 18 holes, with the Golden Bear taking the title by 4 strokes

The 5th-place finisher, a club pro from Texas, made just enough money at Baltusrol to keep playing that season and earn his tour card. His name was Lee Trevino.

Editor’s Note: Steve Foehl spent 25 years as Executive Director of the New Jersey State Golf Association. He continues to serve as a rules official for the NJSGA and the USGA and heads a consulting firm, Flagstick Golf Advisors (flagstickgolfadvisors.com), which provides private club management with strategic solutions for unfamiliar operational challenges. To purchase tickets to the PGA Championship, which takes place the week of July 25th (final round on Sunday the 31st), log onto pga.com and click on Tickets. 

Home Grown

The talent pool in New Jersey runs deep.

By Gerry Strauss

Bruce. Shaq. Meryl. Brooke. Frank. Can any other state match New Jersey’s output of celebrities for whom “one name” says it all? More than anything, it’s a reflection of the talent pool this state produces year in and year out. There’s a little alchemy in play here—what propels young New Jerseyans toward the stratosphere is a curious combination of attitude, style and competitive spirit…and probably proximity to New York. The brass ring, as they say, is right there for the grabbing.

Who might be the Garden State’s next claim to fame? That, of course, is anyone’s guess. I checked in with five up-and-comers with New Jersey roots to understand a little better where they’ve come from…and how far they’re likely to go.

Photo by Justin Higuchi

Christina Grimmie

Singer

Five years before you blew people away on national television, you were a bona fide YouTube sensation. How did that go down?

It was never a planned thing. It wasn’t even something that I thought could ever blow up, because at the time I had no idea that YouTube had that kind of power. I was trying to make people happy by doing their requests. Someone would be like, “Oh, sing ‘Single Ladies’ by Beyoncé” and I’d just go ahead and do it.

What did your high finish on The Voice in 2014 do for your career?

I feel like people didn’t take me as seriously when I was just the “YouTube girl.” The Voice took me to a different level. As an artist and a performer, I learned so much. You get thrown on stage singing for a bunch of stars on national television, and you have to adapt and force yourself to learn how to perform under those conditions.

Where do you see your career headed from here?

I want to inspire people with a unique sound. I want to inspire people with my voice. I want to keep getting out music for people that want music from me. My life’s plan is really just to keep making music, no matter what.

Did You Know?

Christina, a native of Marlton, finished third on Season 6 of The Voice. In the live finale, she performed a duet with Adam Levine and sang the Elvis Presley hit “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

Alyssa Campanella

Fashion Blogger 

Where did you first develop your sense of style?

I think it began from playing in my mom’s closet and reading her fashion magazines after she was done with them. I would borrow her clothes a lot…and sometimes never return them.

What were you like as a kid growing up in Manalapan?

I was a big, dorky homebody as a child. My backyard was a forest. Directly across the street was a big farm. If I wasn’t at school or with the drama club, I was at home with my nose in a book.

It was quite a leap from there to winning the Miss USA pageant in 2011.

Shortly after the crown was placed on my head and I started to walk the runway, my first thought was, “Everything is about to change.”

What was the most dramatic change?

I got to travel the world—to Brazil, the Bahamas, Canada, Monaco, France, and Germany. But I also changed a little after every charity appearance. For instance, I learned a lot about my own body while working for a few breast cancer awareness organizations.

Your fashion blog, the-A-List-blog.com has become a hit. What does it take to make that happen every day?

On the days that I am home, I wake up early and have breakfast before sitting at my desk to respond to emails. I then get dressed and begin to work on my next blog post, making sure all the links connect to the right web sites and all the images are clear and aligned properly. Sometimes, I’ll know right away what I want to talk about in my blog post. There are also days where I really have to think about what I want to say. Lunchtime is usually meeting time, since I always feel everyone is happier if there’s food. In the evenings, I tend to browse online for new trends and new products.

Did You Know?

Alyssa was the first runner-up in the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant. The third runner-up, Caite Upton, earned everlasting fame for her rambling explanation of why one in five Americans couldn’t find their own country on a world map.

Stearns Matthews

Cabaret Singer

Your work has a timeless quality to it. Do you consider yourself an old soul?

I don’t know if I’d call myself an old soul, necessarily, but I do sometimes find myself feeling like I was born a couple decades too late. I love music that existed before I did.

Where did you develop a love for cabaret performing?

I grew up in Morris County and was very close with a woman named Patty Montano. Patty taught cabaret classes for high school kids—which I took—and also for younger kids, whom I accompanied on piano. We had showcases at Don’t Tell Mama in New York, and that was my first experience singing in a club. I learned a ton from Patty, who passed in 2005. I still think of her whenever I step onto a cabaret stage.

You were a Music Theater major at Westminster Choir College in Princeton. What’s the most important thing you learned there?

A respect for the music on the page. An actor respects the punctuation a playwright puts into the text because the playwright obviously made decisions about where to put it for a reason. Music is the same way. Every detail is a little gift from the songwriter to the performer, and should be honored.

Do you feel this area offered the opportunities you needed to grow as a performer?

Definitely! My family moved from central Connecticut when I was 12. I often think how different my life and career would have been if we’d stayed there. The resources I had access to as a teenager and young adult living within an hour of New York City were invaluable. I’m definitely one of the lucky ones for living here.

Did You Know?

Stearns won Best Male Vocalist at the 2015 Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (aka MAC) Awards. If you buy his critically acclaimed CD Spark from stearnsmatthews.com, mention EDGE and he’ll sign it for you.

Daria Berenato

The Jersey Devil

How did you get involved in Mixed Martial Arts?

I was a lifelong athlete, playing everything from lacrosse, basketball, track and soccer until my sophomore year at Seneca High School in Tabernacle. I decided to be more social and take some time off. Boy, was that a mistake! I missed being competitive and knew I had to find something to fill that void. I walked into a gym called Liberty Boxing and said, “I want to be an MMA fighter.” From that day on I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

What do people in your sport say when they find out you’re from Jersey?

They hear New Jersey and they think “city.” Well, I grew up in the beautiful Pine Barrens of South Jersey. My weekends consisted of riding my quad, going mudding in the woods, or just hanging out by a bonfire with my friends and family enjoying the outdoors. It was simple living, really.

You’ve fought inside the MMA cage, hosted TV shows, and are now pursuing a career with World Wrestling Entertainment. Is it challenging to juggle so many career paths?

I do wear a couple of hats. But in a strange way, they are very similar. They revolve around my love for entertaining people and competing. The day of my high school graduation I packed my car up and drove to Florida to continue my MMA training. Then I moved back to the northeast, produced a couple movies, and finally set my eyes on L.A.—which is where I began hosting my UFC Afterbuzz show. Acting and TV production were always interests of mine. I was always the class clown, always the one trying to make people laugh or do something crazy. So hosting came pretty naturally to me and it’s definitely something I love doing.

What is your ultimate goal?

Just to live it with no boundaries, no restrictions. I’m one of those people who truly believes anything is possible. Whether I’m fighting MMA, performing in the WWE, or hosting a TV show, I don’t believe there is a way you can ever “do it all.”

Did You Know?

Daria is the first openly gay female wrestler. She came out during the 2015 WWE Tough Enough reality competition.

Margaret Gurevich

Chloe By Design Author

What appeals to you most about the Chloe character you created?

I’m not much of a fashionista, so I really welcomed the opportunity to learn about something new. What’s unique about the Chloe series is that the reader not only gets a story about a girl competing in a Project Runway-type contest, but they also see exactly what Chloe is sketching, thanks to the illustrations by Brooke Hagel.

Did growing up in Bergen County influence your writing?

Bergen County is known for its malls. As a kid, I loved walking through Garden State Plaza and people-watching. In the first and third Chloe books, I have Chloe in the mall, scoping out styles with her best friend. In my young adult novels, the characters always go to the mall, too. That’s my little tribute to New Jersey.

What ideas do you try convey to your middle-grades readers through Chloe?

What I love about her is that she has some confidence issues, but manages to persevere and follow her dreams. I hope this book empowers young girls to overcome obstacles and go after what they want.

Did You Know?

Margaret was born in Belarus and moved to New Jersey from Brooklyn at age 8. The third book in the Chloe series will be published in September.

Editor’s Note: Gerry Strauss actually planned to check in with six homegrown New Jersey up-and-comers. Unfortunately (for Gerry, that is) one of them—Charlie Puth—“blew up” in 2015 while he was working on this story.

Miracle on Cookman

A city of dreams is rising again.

By Yolanda Navarra Fleming

If it’s been more than a year or two since you last jumped in the car and motored down to Asbury Park for a day (or summer weekend), you’re in for a pleasant surprise. After decades as a Jersey Shore ghost town, it has become a hip and happening summer destination in every conceivable sense of the word. The beach, the boardwalk and the city blocks radiating north and south from Cookman Avenue have been transformed.  And the crowds are coming, from North Jersey by car and New York City by train, while sleek condos are going up as fast as buyers can sign on the dotted line. As a result, there is far more now to eat, buy, see and do in Asbury Park than anyone could conceivably handle in a day—dozens of places, both old and new. Which means a smart plan of attack is crucial. Build your day around a couple of these eateries and you won’t go wrong…

Pascale & Sabine, 601 Bangs Ave.

  • A European brasserie beloved by finicky diners, complete with romantic ambiance and impeccable service.
  • Favorites: Beef Tartare, Escargots, Coq au Vin, Salmon (with saffron soubise, baby mustard greens, kumquats and hazelnuts), Moules Frites, and Beignets.

Taka, 660 Cookman Ave.

  • Contemporary Japanese cuisine. The owner, Takahiro Hirai, is descended from a Samurai family.
  • Favorites: Rolls galore, New York Strip in Miso Butter, Short Ribs, Tuna (sesame seed coated with red bean sauce), Green Tea Cheesecake and Mochi.

Moonstruck, 517 Lake Ave.

Classic American-Mediterranean Grill with three floors of dining and music (often live), situated near Wesley Lake and Cookman Avenue.

Favorites: Filet Mignon, Rosemary Chicken, Walnut Crusted Rack of Lamb with Pomegranate Demi-glace and Lemon Risotto, Grilled Shrimp with Pesto Linguine.

Dino’s on Main, 300 Main St.

  • Preservative-free, fresh and delicious prepared and made-to-order food served in a BYOB bistro with casual indoor and outdoor dining. Hot-spot for after-hours snacking and meals on weekends.
  • Favorites: Linguine Oli Olio, Chicken Milanese, Mamma Pat’s Homemade Lasagna, Dino’s Famous Caesar Salad, Homemade Ravioli, Fresh Mozzarella and Bread baked daily on premises.

Belmonte’s Italian Restaurant, 632 Cookman Ave. 

  • Cozy, traditional BYOB eatery ideal for families.
  • Favorites: Fried Calamari, Linguine and Clams, Pappardelle Roma (with shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms and basil in a pink sauce), Chicken Giovanni, Stuffed Pork Chop.

Langosta Lounge, 1000 Ocean Ave. at Second Ave.

  • Bohemian boardwalk restaurant and bar serving up vacation fare from all over the globe. Custom cocktails, live music and casual vibe.
  • Favorites: Bombay Chicken Salad Sandwich, Cuban Fried Olives, Lobster Sliders, Ono Salad, Vegetable and Goat Cheese Pizza with charred Brussels sprouts, basil cream and roasted grapes.

Jimmy’s, 1405 Asbury Ave.

  • The Sardi’s of the Jersey Shore. Old-world Italian restaurant where Robert DeNiro and other Goodfellas dine when they’re in town.
  • Favorites: Clams Casino, Linguine with Clam Sauce, Chicken Scarpariello (Fontina Cheese, roasted peppers in Francaise sauce), Sea Scallops with White Wine, addictive House Dressing.

Cuban Café, 1007 Memorial Drive

  • Authentic Cuban comfort food served at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with indoor and outdoor seating. Daily specials and a children’s menu.
  • Favorites: Cubanitos, Cuban Style Ground Beef, Oxtail Stew, Fricassee de Pollo, Levante Muerto Seafood Gumbo.

Talula’s Pizza, 550 Cookman Ave.

  • An artistic foodie hang for lunch, dinner, cocktails, and brunch. Brooklyn-inspired baked goods, wood-fired oven pizzas and plentiful vegan options.
  • Favorites: Esquite Polenta Bowl, Talula’s Reuben with House-Made Pastrami, Temple III Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella, Cashew Ricotta and Vegan Pepperoni, Smoked Trout Toast, Milk and Honey Panna Cotta, Apple Cider Doughnuts.

Asbury Park Roastery, 1300 Ocean Ave.

  • Small coffee roasting company opened on the boardwalk in 2007, specializing in fresh roasts, fair trade and organic beans, organic loose leaf teas, accessories and confections. Retail store at 803 Second Ave.
  • Favorites: Red Eye Fresh-Roasted Coffee, Chai Tea Latte, Medium Brazil Poco Fundo Coffee, French Organic Indonesian Blend Coffee, Melon Flavored White Tea, Moroccan Mint Scented Green Tea.

TOTALLY JUICED!

Juice Basin, 805 4th Ave.

  • Divine cold press juice concoctions, all USDA organic. Owners Regina & Enrique (right), with Chef David Burke (center), are a fun married couple you may know from their Montclair store.
  • Favorites: Cold-pressed juices, Cacao Love Smoothie (cacao, spinach, banana), Caribbean Nites Smoothie (mango, pineapple, banana, kale), Alkaline Green (kale cucumber, mint, parsley, ginger root, lime).

“Juice Basin has a quality of product that only comes from a perfectionist. The balance in these combinations of ingredients made me feel like I was in the hands of a master at work. I can’t wait to go back to Asbury Park to try more.”

—David Burke

SHOP ’TIL YOU DROP

Nita Ideas, 601 Cookman Ave.

Celebrated designer Nita Novy began as a Broadway actress, then designed hats and moved into couture and ready-to-wear designs. The New York Times says her collection “seems to breathe intangible femininity. It is almost as if the rest of the fashion universe is catching up with her.”  

The Market at Fifth Avenue, 1300 Ocean Ave.

Multiple vendors under one roof, with artists and designers of everything from clothing and housewares to jewelry and gifts—including Sea & Green, Dusty Rose Vintage, Tessa Perlow, Alchemy Hour and Acdwsh. 

B&G Home Interiors, 658 Cookman Ave.

2015 “Best of Houzz” designer Jon Martinez is celebrating his second anniversary this summer. Eclectic accessories, gifts, framed artwork and a downstairs showroom featuring stylish sofas, arty end tables, wall hangings and rugs. 

Glide Surf Co., 520 Bangs Ave.

Owners Phil and Jessica Browne display their affinity for the sand and surf in their alternative boutique, with surfboards, surf apparel, beach dresses and bikinis.

 

The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

Paragon Tap & Table • Korean BBQ Pork 

77 Central Ave. • CLARK

(732) 931-1776 • paragonnj.com

At Paragon Tap and Table we feature as many cultures of cuisine as we feature regions of craft beer. This Korean BBQ Pork is served on soba noodle cake with tempura fried scallion. It’s one of the many dishes that is featured on the spring menu. I change the menu seasonally, while keeping a strong variety of our customers’ favorites. 

— Eric B. LeVine, Chef/Partner

BoulevardFive72 • Grilled “Chermoula” Organic Salmon

572 Boulevard • KENILWORTH

(908) 709-1200 • boulevardfive72.com

This Mediterranean-inspired, signature dish is served with fingerling potatoes, roasted golden-beet puree and a whole grain mustard sauce. The Salmon is sourced from the North Atlantic’s Faroese Island Fiords by Boulevard’s own seafood company. 

— Scott Snyder, Chef/Owner

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 • partyonthegrill.com

We prepare a crusted 8-ounce filet mignon served with gingered spinach, shitake mushrooms, and a tempura onion ring. 

Daimatsu • Crab Avocado Salad

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-7888 • daimatsusushibar.com

One of my favorite creations—I prepare something different every week—Crab Avocado Salad features snow crab, chipotle jelly, avocado, cilantro, lime soy dressing with yuzu citrus foam and caviar on top.

— Momo, Chef

Publick House • Publick Burger    

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-2355 • publickhousenj.com

A great burger is a combination of many things. It starts with the patty, our house blend of chuck, brisket, and shortrib, which is grilled to temperature. Topped with caramelized onions, crispy applewood smoked bacon, and perfectly melted white cheddar, sandwiched between a lightly charred brioche bun. Served with double fried, house cut French fries. The Publick Burger is always the perfect meal.

— Bernie Goncalves, Owner

Luciano’s Ristorante & Lounge • Handmade Cavatellini 

1579 Main Street • RAHWAY

(732) 815-1200 • lucianosristorante.com

At the restaurant our main goal is to give our guest a pleasurably dining experience with fresh ingredients and personable service, in beautiful Tuscan décor accompanied with our fireplaces which are available for dining and private parties of all types. Our menus are seasonal influence to what is available in the market from food, wine, and cocktails. Our handmade Cavatellini with crumbled sweet sausage, shaved broccoli rabe, and broccoli rabe and pine nut pesto is topped with fresh ricotta and shaved Parmesan.

— Joseph Mastrella, Executive Chef/Partner

Morris Tap & Grill • Shrimp Crepes

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH

(973) 891-1776 • morristapandgrill.com

At Morris Tap and Grill, I am always looking to share seasonal dishes that reflect local flavor and creativity. Our Shrimp Crepes feature local vegetables blended to make this light and refreshing dish an instant favorite for our guests.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Boulevard Seafood Company • Yellowfin Tuna Poke 

49 West Main Street • SOMERVILLE

(908) 722-0600 • boulevardseafoodcompany.com

Diced sushi-quality tuna tossed in sesame-soy chili dressing, with avocado, jicama and sugar snap peas.  One example of the dishes we prepare using seafood that we bring in daily to our retail market, which is located on the restaurant premises. 

— Scott Snyder, Chef/Owner

Spirit: Social Eatery and Bar • Double Cheddar Infused Burger

250 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 258-1600 • mclynns.com

It doesn’t get better then a double cheddar infused burger from the new Spirit: Social Eatery and Bar.  

— Mark Houlker, Chef

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Volcano Roll 

23A Nelson Avenue • STATEN ISLAND, NY

(718) 966-9600 • partyonthegrill.com

Hot-out-of-the-oven, crab, avocado and cream cheese rolled up and topped with a mild spicy scallop salad.

Galloping Hill Caterers

Galloping Hill Road and Chestnut Street • UNION

(908) 686-2683 • gallopinghillcaterers.com

Galloping Hill Caterers has been an incredible landmark for nearly sixty years. We pride ourselves in delivering “over the top” cuisine, impeccable service and outstanding attention to detail. That is the hallmark of our success! Simply, an unforgettable experience. Pictured here is one of our crepes flambé that really creates lots of excitement!

The Manor • Seared Atlantic Salmon with Almond Couscous

111 Prospect Avenue • WEST ORANGE

(973) 731-2360 • themanorrestaurant.com

Fresh and light, this seared Atlantic salmon with almond couscous, asparagus tips, and a roasted tomato beurre blanc is full of bright, rich flavors. Our range of creative contemporary cuisine offered alongside classic Manor favorites ensures that every guest can find something special on their next visit.

— Mario Russo, Chef de Cuisine

Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

Paragon Tap & Table • Chicken with Wild Mushroom Ravioli 

77 Central Ave. • CLARK

(732) 931-1776 • paragonnj.com

This light combination, created for the summer menu, features chicken served with wild mushroom ravioli and truffled mushroom sauté, finished with a red wine demi. We always offer fun, new combinations that showcase locally sourced ingredients.

— Eric B. LeVine, Chef/Partner

BoulevardFive72 • Grilled “Chermoula” Organic Salmon

572 Boulevard • KENILWORTH

(908) 709-1200 • boulevardfive72.com

This Mediterranean-inspired, signature dish is served with fingerling potatoes, roasted golden-beet purée and a whole grain mustard sauce. The salmon is sourced from the North Atlantic’s Faroese Island Fiords by Boulevard’s own seafood company. 

— Scott Snyder, Chef/Owner

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 • partyonthegrill.com

We prepare a crusted 8-ounce filet mignon served with gingered spinach, shitake mushrooms, and a tempura onion ring. 

Daimatsu • Crab Avocado Salad

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-7888 • daimatsusushibar.com

One of my favorite creations—I prepare something different every week—Crab Avocado Salad features snow crab, chipotle jelly, avocado, cilantro, lime soy dressing with yuzu citrus foam and caviar on top. 

— Momo, Chef

Publick House •   Crispy French Cut Chicken 

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-2355 • publickhousenj.com

Our crispy french cut chicken is brined overnight, then seared to give it perfectly crisp skin. It is beautifully paired with earthy shiitakes and creamy polenta. The flavor is deepened by the addition of roasted shallots, capers, and white wine. An update on a comfort food classic, the french cut chicken is perfect any night of the week.

Luciano’s Ristorante & Lounge • Warm Goat Cheese Salad

1579 Main Street • RAHWAY

(732) 815-1200 • lucianosristorante.com

The warm goat cheese salad with tender greens and a mulled cabernet dressing and toasted pine nuts is a signature appetizer at Luciano’s, where fresh ingredients and personable service in a beautiful Tuscan décor create a fine dining experience. Our menus are seasonally influenced to feature the best of what’s available in the market.  

— Joseph Mastrella, Executive Chef/Partner

Morris Tap & Grill • Pan Seared Sea Bass

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH

(973) 891-1776 • morristapandgrill.com

This light dish, which incorporates heirloom tomatoes, exemplifies how we showcase local produce. Pan-seared sea bass is served with tomato confit and tomato broth, and served over corn and sweat pea risotto.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Boulevard Seafood Company • Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes 

49 West Main Street • SOMERVILLE

(908) 722-0600 • boulevardseafoodcompany.com

Hand-made cakes using the freshest jumbo lump crab from our own market, seared and served atop a “succotash” featuring Jersey fresh corn, finished with a decadent caper-basil butter sauce. They can also be purchased to cook and serve at home from our retail market, open during restaurant hours! 

— Scott Snyder, Chef/Owner

Spirit: Social Eatery and Bar • Double Cheddar Infused Burger

250 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 258-1600 • mclynns.com

It doesn’t get better then a double cheddar infused burger from the new Spirit: Social Eatery and Bar.  

— Mark Houlker, Chef

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Volcano Roll 

23A Nelson Avenue • STATEN ISLAND, NY

(718) 966-9600 • partyonthegrill.com

Hot-out-of-the-oven, crab, avocado and cream cheese rolled up and topped with a mild spicy scallop salad.

Galloping Hill Caterers

Galloping Hill Road and Chestnut Street • UNION

(908) 686-2683 • gallopinghillcaterers.com

Galloping Hill Caterers has been an incredible landmark for nearly sixty years. We pride ourselves in delivering “over the top” cuisine, impeccable service and outstanding attention to detail. That is the hallmark of our success! Simply, an unforgettable experience. Pictured here is one of our crepes flambé that really creates lots of excitement!

The Manor • Seared Atlantic Salmon with Almond Couscous

111 Prospect Avenue • WEST ORANGE

(973) 731-2360 • themanorrestaurant.com

Fresh and light, this seared Atlantic salmon with almond couscous, asparagus tips, and a roasted tomato beurre blanc is full of bright, rich flavors. Our range of creative contemporary cuisine offered alongside classic Manor favorites ensures that every guest can find something special on their next visit.

— Mario Russo, Chef de Cuisine

Asked & Answered

The EDGE Interview

If you are a regular reader of EDGE, you know that we go to great pains to craft every page of our editorial. That is especially true of our interviews. They are both topical and timeless. They are relaxed, thoughtful and well researched. They are as interesting for the interview well researched. They are as interesting for the interview subjects as they are for our readers. They are intimate conversations. Which answers the question we get all the time: Why would national celebrities agree to invest so much time and energy in a small regional magazine? We’ll let them speak for themselves… 

Bob D’Amico/Disney ABC Television Group/Getty Images

Sandra Oh

Actress

with J.M. Stewart

Is fame anything like you thought it was going to be?

No! Can I tell you? Honestly, it was probably one of the most traumatic events in my life. And, ultimately, I think it’s detrimental to being an artist. There’s a lot of struggle. If you want to be famous, awesome! But if you want to continue being an artist, I think fame is a hindrance. Your ability to be authentic is compromised. Fame is detrimental to one’s true artistry because that artistry comes out in the privacy of one’s being with one’s soul—when your soul feels safe in its surrounding to be free, to be authentic. Fame is a heavy, heavy cloak. In my case, I had a tremendous amount of struggle around that feeling of “threat.” There was a period of time when people would be sitting outside my house. How you manage that feeling of threat can go everywhere. It can go into your relationship, go into how you see yourself, and it can go into bad behavior because you start losing control over your privacy in your life. Yet no one’s pointing a gun at you. There’s no one actually “threatening” you. So, at the same time, you feel like your feelings are unjustified. I’ve thought about this a lot and I have no idea how people who are really famous are able to live and walk around, because they can’t just walk around. I feel that people—especially young people—cannot possibly comprehend the consequences of fame, of not being free. You have to manage your relationship with fame so you can continue to work and still be in the public eye. A lot of people can’t handle it and they leave.

Photo courtesy of Chazz Palminteri

Chazz Palminteri

Actor

with Tracey Smith

Which parts of A Bronx Tale are autobiographical?

I would say a good 80 to 85 percent of the movie is autobiographical. It really stems from when I was nine years old sitting on the stoop and I saw this man kill another man right in front of me. Just like they did in the movie, exactly the same. My father came down and grabbed me upstairs, and then the cops came. The reality is I never went down and did a lineup. I just said I didn’t see anything, and that was it. Also befriending the wiseguys when I was a kid, throwing the dice for them, going to get things for them—that’s all true. Also my dad was a bus driver. He worked right off of 187th street. My mother used to be out the window all the time. I fell in love with a black girl at the age of 17. Some of the guys I knew died in a racial attack with some black youths. The majority is true.  

Frank Vincent

Actor

with Tracey Smith

You met Joe Pesci in 1969 when he became the guitar player in your band. How did that turn into featured roles in Raging Bull?

We had such chemistry. Not just playing. We’d do bits back and forth. I had a sort of Don Rickles thing going. The club entrance was right near the stage, so as people walked in off the street I’d always have something to say. We both got a lot of laughs and before you know it, we’re doing two hours of comedy a night. A couple of years later, this movie producer is in the audience and likes what we’re doing. He asked us both to audition for a low-budget movie called The Death Collector. Later they changed the name to Family Enforcer and put our faces on the cover. Joe played a little mob guy and I played a Jewish businessman. Bob DeNiro and Martin Scorcese saw that film and hired Joe to play Joey La Motta and me to play Salvy in Raging Bull. That was our first studio movie. I got my SAG card and an agent, and Joe got nominated for an Oscar…that was how it began.

Lisa Kudrow

Actress

with Gerry Strauss

How did you develop the character of Phoebe in Friends?

The great thing I remember about Phoebe was that the audition piece was this monologue in the pilot that gives her whole back-story. My take on that really was to give a lot of definition to this person, that she’s cheerful about—or just refusing to see—the horrible, traumatic things that happened in her life. Her mom killed herself and then her stepfather went to jail, and she lived in a car, and she thought that was okay. That’s who she was going to be. Just this person who didn’t acknowledge reality the same way everybody else did.

Jaclyn Smith

Actress

with Zack Burgess

Charlie’s Angels was a unique, unproven concept in its time. Did you sense it would make stars out of its three leads?

Absolutely not. And I think that’s what made it a hit. We went into it with an open mind. We were friends. We were not desperate, ambitious actresses. We all had proper training, so we explored that first year and really learned what was going to make the show work as time went on. I don’t think any of us thought that it would change our lives. We were surprised—and I think even the producers were shocked—at our ratings. Our ratings went through the roof. We were almost always number one, number two…really up there in the top five. We even beat Gone With the Wind one night!That was kind of amazing—my favorite movie of all time. It was sort of like we were rock stars, only overnight. We had no concept of the impact Charlie’s Angels would have.

 

Photo by David Walden

Dennis Haysbert

Actor

with Tracey Smith

What kind of response did you get to your performance in Far From Heaven?

I can’t tell you how many women in their sixties came up to me with tears in their eyes and whispered to me, “That was my life”…and how my jaw dropped to the floor. Imagine in a time when you weren’t allowed to love someone because of the color of their skin, or their religion, or their gender—to have that permeate everything that you do, say or feel—and you still try to love that person? Let’s put it this way, there have been a few ladies that have been like the wonderful Julianne Moore played in my life, but there were some that my heart was attached to, and their hearts were attached to me, yet somehow it just didn’t work. I’m in contact with an old high-school girlfriend of mine. We had broken up and I had no idea why we broke up, none whatsoever, and I was so heartbroken. And now, when I’m in my fifties, she says, “I loved you, too. But the circumstances were that I couldn’t do it, because I was afraid for you.” I never even thought of myself being in any danger because I loved this person, yet she was wise enough at a young age of 16 or 17 to understand, “I have to let you go because you might get hurt.” That just took so much weight and energy off of me, a lot of pent-up pain and hurt that I could release after having that conversation. I also understand how rare it is that you get a chance to feel that.

 

Photo by Brian T. Silak

Roberta Flack

Singer

with Tetiana Anderson

What do recall about your first #1 hit?

When “Killing Me Softly” was released as a single I was performing in Germany. My one source of English-language entertainment was the army base radio station. I had it on and woke up to Well, here it is again, Roberta Flack’s next big single, Killing Me Softly! I remember thinking, “Oh, boy!” But at the end they finished by repeating “…killing me softly with his song” over and over and then fading out. I said, “No, that’s not it!” I called the producer and asked, “What did you do?” He said, “Oh, I just faded it.” I said, “No! No!No!” He said, “Man, only like a million three hundred fifty thousand of these have been sent out all around the world. Can’t you live with that?” I said, “No.” So they changed it.

Wendy Williams

TV Personality

with Gerry Strauss

What makes a classic Jersey Girl?

Being gutsy. Playing fearless. If you squint, you might mistake her for a Long Island girl. She’s usually a little gaudy and a little bit—I don’t want to say “loud” because people think that’s unattractive—but since I’m talking to Jersey people, I would say she’s a little louder than the rest…and slightly tacky. The giant orange nails, teased up hairspray hair. That’s Jersey. There are so many jokes about Jersey being an armpit and all that other stuff… but so much good has come out of Jersey. How dare you! I’ve practically spent my entire career working in Manhattan but I’ve never lived there. Never had the desire. You know why? I love strip malls. I love traffic circles. I love drive-thru banks and drive-thru McDonald’s. I love parking spaces. I love Jersey Transit, not the subway. I don’t want to go down there—I’m not going down there! Our beaches may be not the cleanest beaches in the world, but they’re ours. I grew up on the Jersey Shore, and I never caught hepatitis from our water!I love Jersey. 

Courtesy of the New York Jets

Todd Bowles

Jets Coach

with Zack Burgess

In what ways do NFL teams function as families?

You have to learn to work together. You have to sacrifice and put all your egos to the side. You’re going to be in a building 8 to 16 hours a day, every day, with all these people—especially coaches, who work year ’round. For players it’s half the year. So you get to know these guys on a personal level and what makes them tick. They see what makes you tick. You kind of figure out what buttons to push; they figure out what they can and can’t do with you. There are a lot of personal relationships that go on behind the scenes that everybody doesn’t see. And you put out fires just like any other family. There are spats here and there, but for the most part we’re around each other so much, we kind of get a good feel for each other. And whether you like it or not, you’re going to be a part of a family. You have your bad people and good people—and everything in between. But at the end of the day, we have to be on one working relationship.

Photo by Larry D. Moore

Robert Caro

Author/Historian

with Jesse Caro

What spurred your interest in politics?

In the beginning, I liked trying to figure out how things worked, and wanted to explain that to people. When I first went to work for this little paper in New Jersey, I almost immediately narrowed that down to an interest in politics because, it seemed to me, that’s what matters. Almost immediately, I realized the idea of politics I had in college had very little to do with the way politics worked, and that I didn’t know how politics worked. Every day, I was learning something as a reporter. And since I felt like, if power in a democracy ultimately comes from us and the votes we cast, then the better informed people are about the realities of politics—not what we learned in textbooks in high school and college, but the way they really worked—the better informed our votes would be. And presumably the better our country would be. So I almost immediately started to be interested in politics for that reason.

Photo courtesy of Al Karevy Photography

Ken Burns

Filmmaker

with Judith Trojan

Have you felt a special kinship with any of your subjects?

I feel a spectacular kinship with Louis Armstrong, Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Robinson; those three people are the bees’ knees for me. Now, would I compare myself to them?Never! I’ve had the great good fortune to spend a lot of time with them in the work that I do; and I feel that I’ve gotten to know them, even though they’re dead and I have not met them. I try my best to channel—if that’s the right word—the best of them to my fellow citizens to remind us of our greatest possibilities rather than our worst. These are the messages of love that Louis Armstrong gave us, of perseverance that Jackie Robinson displayed, and the wisdom and poetry that Abraham Lincoln exhibited. I’m proud to live in a country that had those three individuals as citizens.

Brian Williams

News Anchor

with Mark Stewart

How did you work your way to the top?

I didn’t have any contacts. I had no way in through the front door or the back. So climbing in the window of the television news business and coming up through the basement is the only way I know how to get ahead. That meant moving out to Kansas, learning the business, and being willing to crawl through broken glass to get ahead. If you have your eyes on a prize in this country, there’s nothing that can stop you—I’m a living example of that. I am not college educated, I did not grow up with honed skills or a family that knew what a prep school was. I didn’t know what the Ivy League was when I was in high school. It just wasn’t in my ken. But if you’re a hustler—and I’ve never regarded that as a pejorative, that word’s a positive in my book—the world is your oyster.

Photo courtesy of Danny Ramm

Joe & Gia Mantegna

with J.M. Stewart

What percentage of your father’s work have you seen?

Five percent. I’ve seen very little because most of it was released when I was too young to watch, or it was R rated. Half the films he dies in and I was too frightened to watch. I remember flipping through the channels watching a movie, and I saw my dad walking down the street with a bouquet of flowers. I went, “Yes! Dad’s on TV in something I can watch, this is so cool!” A couple of minutes pass and he’s shot down with a machine gun. It affected me much more than I thought it would. I remember seeing Baby’s Day Out when I was four. We thought, “Finally he did a movie that the family could watch.” We’re sitting on the bed, my sister’s right next to me, and here comes the scene when the baby’s in his pants, lighting his crotch on fire.

[Joe] Yeah, we’re thinking it’s a great family movie. But I get beaten up by gorillas and blown up. It was a horror film to them.

[Gia] It was awful. I remember running out of the room crying. And dad’s hitting his face, saying, “Look it’s me, I’m okay. I’m here.” So I never really sat down and watched my dad’s movies, because he was probably going to get the crap kicked out of him. EDGE

Editor’s Note: Go to our web site and click on the INTERVIEW tab to read the full Q&As.

 

Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.

Paragon Tap & Table • Deviled Egg Trio 

77 Central Ave. • CLARK

(732) 931-1776 • paragonnj.com

With every season, our team creates new experiences with their twist on the Craft Experience, be it food or beverage. The Deviled Egg Trio is just one example of a creative take on a classic appetizer. Our new menu features street fare from all over the world, as well as the common plates that we’re known for, and as always our award-winning handcrafted burgers, wings and beer selection.

— Eric B. LeVine, Chef/Partner

BoulevardFive72 • Boat Scallops

572 Boulevard • KENILWORTH

(908) 709-1200 • boulevardfive72.com

Our perfectly sautéed day boat scallops are served with a green lentil daub, apple smoked bacon, celeriac purée and finished with a caper herb butter. All seafood items are hand-selected by our very own fish monger on a nightly visit to the market, giving our customers the best available product. 

— Scott Snyder, Chef/Owner

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon 

1230 Route 22 West • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 518-9733 • partyonthegrill.com

We prepare a crusted 8-ounce filet mignon served with gingered spinach, shitake mushrooms, and a tempura onion ring. 

Daimatsu • Grilled Oyster

860 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-7888 • daimatsusushibar.com

Fresh jumbo Pacific oyster grilled with homemade miso sauce, fried northern puffer fish marinated in light ginger soy coated in potato starch and deep fried crunchy veggie on the side.

— Momo, Chef

Publick House •   PEI Mussels 

899 Mountain Ave. • MOUNTAINSIDE

(908) 233-2355 • publickhousenj.com

Our Prince Edward Island mussels have been a staple Publick House dish since we opened. They are steamed open with fennel and garlic, then finished with a rich salsa verde, and served with thick garlic bread (you’ll be wanting to soak up every last ounce of green liquid). With such bold and impactful flavor, it is no wonder why this dish has forever been a Publick House favorite. 

— Bernie Goncalves, Owner

Luciano’s Ristorante & Lounge • Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Bruschetta

1579 Main Street • RAHWAY

(732) 815-1200 • lucianosristorante.com

Jumbo lump crab cake bruschetta, finished with virgin olive oil and a balsamic reduction has been one of Luciano’s signature appetizers since we opened. 

— Joseph Mastrella, Executive Chef/Partner

Morris Tap & Grill • Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

500 Route 10 West • RANDOLPH

(973) 891-1776 • morristapandgrill.com

After a major renovation of the Tap Room—adding 50 craft beers—I’ve expanded the menu to include my twist on seasonal favorites, classic street fare and comfort foods. Our Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese features homemade cavatappi in a velvety Buffalo sauce, finished with a toasted herb crumb.

— Eric B LeVine, Chef/Partner

Spirit: Social Eatery and Bar • Double Cheddar Infused Burger

250 Morris Ave. • SPRINGFIELD

(973) 258-1600 • mclynns.com

It doesn’t get better then a double cheddar infused burger from the new Spirit: Social Eatery and Bar.  

— Mark Houlker, Chef

Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse • Volcano Roll 

23A Nelson Avenue • STATEN ISLAND, NY

(718) 966-9600 • partyonthegrill.com

Hot-out-of-the-oven, crab, avocado and cream cheese rolled up and topped with a mild spicy scallop salad.

Galloping Hill Caterers

Galloping Hill Road and Chestnut Street • UNION

(908) 686-2683 • gallopinghillcaterers.com

Galloping Hill Caterers has been an incredible landmark for nearly sixty years. We pride ourselves in delivering “over the top” cuisine, impeccable service and outstanding attention to detail. That is the hallmark of our success! Simply, an unforgettable experience. Pictured here is one of our crepes flambé that really creates lots of excitement!

— George Thomas, Owner

The Barge • Cioppino 

201 Front Street • PERTH AMBOY

(732) 442-3000 • thebarge.com

Our Cioppino, the signature dish of San Francisco, features a fresh, healthy selection of clams, mussels, shrimp, Maine lobster and Jersey scallops—drizzled in Greek virgin olive oil, with fresh garlic and white wine—over homemade Italian linguini. I know it will become one of your favorite dishes.    

— Alex Vosinas Chef/Owner

Sweet 16 NJ Songwriters

These are New Jersey’s greatest songwriters…

Crafting songs is no way to make a living. Making the music and lyrics come together in just the right way can be frustrating, time-consuming and totally unpredictable. An artist can spend months on a song and never quite get it right. Or it can pop into his or her head in a serendipitous moment. The best piece of advice for a songwriter might be Don’t quit your day job. When the stars align, however, the result can be nothing short of immortality. Which is why they do what they do.

New Jersey has been producing hit-makers for more than a century, from the earliest days of popular music to Broadway shows to every conceivable sub-genre of rock and R&B. It is difficult to put one’s finger on how or why spending one’s formative years in the Garden State elevates a songwriter’s craft, but the evidence that it does seems irrefutable.

Who are the best of the best? Here are my 16 picks…

ROCK ON

Bertrand Delgoff Paris

James Murphy Princeton Junction • B. 1970

Murphy is the driving force behind one of the first groundbreaking bands of the 2000s, LCD Soundsystem. The group energized the Electronic/Dance/ Alternative Rock genre with songs like “Losing My Edge” and “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”—both of which were written by Murphy and produced by his DFA Records label. Murphy won his first Grammy last year for “Tonite,” which he co-wrote with bandmate Al Doyle.

nandinhazinha

Jon Bon Jovi Sayreville • B. 1962 & Richie Sambora Woodbridge • B. 1959

Bon Jovi—the man, not the group he fronted—was inducted along with Richie Sambora into the Songwriters Hall of Fame a decade ago. They penned a string of chart-toppers in the 1980s, including “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ On a Prayer,” “Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There for You,” as well as fan favorite “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Bon Jovi also wrote “Blaze of Glory,” a #1 hit he recorded as a solo act in 1990. Their formula was simple: If both did not think a song had potential, they discarded it and started on the next one.

Upper Case Editorial

Bruce Springsteen Freehold • B. 1949

Even the eight people in New Jersey who don’t believe Springsteen is a musical genius have to admit he deserves top billing on this list. And he may be the finest songwriter this country has every produced. As a teenager, The Boss was deeply influenced by The Beatles, who wrote and played their own material. He carved out his own niche as a game-changing singer/songwriter in the 1970s with his poetic take on working-class life and his epic live performances, but also penned songs that were huge hits for other performers—including “Fire” (Pointer Sisters), “Because the Night” (Patti Smith) and “Blinded By the Light” (Manfred Mann). Although Grammys are an inexact measure of talent, the sheer number of Best Song and Best Album nominations Springsteen has accrued speaks to his ability to write at a consistently high level. Entire books have been produced on his work (including his own autobiography), so summing it up in a long paragraph tends to be perilous. However, the depth of his lyrics is easy to appreciate in “Born to Run,” “Hungry Heart” and “Born In the USA”—rock anthems so familiar that listening to them is almost like breathing.

Kotivalo

Donald Fagen Passaic • B. 1948

A move to the suburbs from gritty Passaic during Fagen’s pre-teen years greatly influenced his artistic outlook. He couldn’t stand it. He became a jazz junkie as a teenager and did not rediscover rock and R&B until he enrolled at Bard College—where he met guitarist Walter Becker. After graduating, the duo moved to Los Angeles and wrote songs for ABC/Dunhill recording artists. They co-wrote and released their first album as Steely Dan in 1972 and the rest is history. Aja, which hit stores in 1977, was one of the first albums by an American group to go platinum.

Chysalis Records

Debbie Harry Hawthorne • B. 1945

Best known as the front woman for the new wave group Blondie, Harry co-wrote a huge number of hits in the 1970s and 1980s, with bandmate Chris Stein and others. Her writing credits include “One Way or Another,” “Heart of Glass,” “Call Me” and “Rapture.” Before achieving superstar status, Harry worked as a go-go dancer and Playboy bunny, as well as a cocktail waitress at the East Village clubs where she later became a headliner.

POPULAR FAVORITES

Jeff Terrell

Charlie Puth • Rumson • B. 1991

Puth’s ability as a songwriter was first recognized by YouTube fans and by Ellen DeGeneres, who signed him to her label. His star continued to rise in 2015 with “See You Again,” the song he co-wrote and performed with rapper Wiz Khalifa, and “Marvin Gaye,” a huge international hit recorded with Megan Trainor. Just 27, Puth has already demonstrated stunning versatility in his songwriting and producing skills. His second album, 2018’s Voicenotes, was a hit with reviewers, who applauded his maturity, attention to detail and willingness to take chances with his lyrics.

Rob Fusari • Livingston • B. 1976

A multi-instrumental prodigy as a child, Fusari started writing songs at 22 and is credited with discovering Stefani Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, in 2006. He co-wrote and co-produced most of her 2008 Grammy- winning album The Fame. Earlier, Fusari wrote “No, No, No” and “Bootylicious”—both #1 hits for Destiny’s Child. He has also written for Will Smith, Whitney Houston, ABC, Adam Lambert and the Back Street Boys.

Bob Gaudio Bergenfield • B. 1942

At age 15, Gaudio co-wrote “Short Shorts,” which rose to #2 on the charts. Two years later he formed the Four Seasons with Frankie Valli and wrote “Sherry,” the group’s first #1 hit. Working with Newark-born producer Bob Crewe, Gaudio wrote “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Dawn,” “Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Always on the alert for new ideas and inspirations, he authored the hit “Rag Doll” after a poor young girl washed his windshield while he was stuck in traffic in New York. Gaudio and his wife, Judy Parker, co-wrote “Who Loves You” and “Oh, What a Night” in 1975. He also wrote and/or produced songs for Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow and Diana Ross, and produced six of Neil Diamond’s albums.

R&B + HIP HOP

The Come Up Show

SZA • Maplewood • B. 1990

Solana Rowe, aka SZA (SIZ-eh), is among a group of young performers who are remaking the soul and R&B genres. Her 2017 debut studio album, Ctrl, went platinum and was roundly hailed as the year’s best record. Her lyrics, which often explore themes of sexuality and abandonment, reference a range of influences, from fellow New Jerseyan Lauryn Hill to non-musicians Spike Lee to jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald. SZA’s background also imparts a unique spin on her songwriting. Her father is a Muslim and her mother a Christian—both are high-achieving corporate executives—and she originally set her sights on a career in marine biology. In 2018, SZA co-wrote and performed “All the Stars,” the lead single on the Black Panther soundtrack, with Kendrick Lamar.

Eva Rinaldi

Rodney Jerkins Pleasantville • B. 1977

Jerkens, who went by Darkchild early in his career, established himself as one of the industry’s most influential hit-makers two decades ago. He co-wrote and produced songs for the top names in the business, including Toni Braxton, Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Brittney Spears, Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez. Jerkins’s chart-topping hits include “The Boy Is Mine,” “Say My Name” and “Déjà Vu.”

Freddie Perren • Englewood • 1943–2004

Berry Gordy hired 24-year-old Perren as a member of the production team for the Jackson 5 in 1968. Over the next 15 years, Perren wrote or co-wrote some of the most iconic pop and disco hits, including “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “Mama’s Pearl” for the Jackson 5, “Love Machine” for The Miracles, “Boogie Fever” for The Sylvers, “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” for Tavares and “Shake Your Groove Thing” and “Reunited” for Peaches & Herb. In 1980, he won the first Disco Grammy for writing the Gloria Gaynor hit “I Will Survive.” Perren also produced the Saturday Night Fever album.

CD Baby

Leon Huff • Camden • B. 1942

A talented keyboardist, Huff teamed up with Philadelphia’s Kenneth Gamble when they were in their 20s to form one of the great soul music writing and producing duos. After working with Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett at Atlantic Records, they formed Philadelphia International Records in 1971 as a rival to Motown, adding deep bass and lush strings to their recordings—creating a foundation that would later popularize disco. Huff co-wrote “Backstabbers” and “Love Train” for the O’Jays, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” for Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones” and “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” for McFadden & Whitehead. Gamble and Huff’s biggest star of the 1980s, Teddy Pendergrass, was paralyzed in a car accident. The duo went into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 with more than 3,000 songs to their credit.

SHOW TUNES

Stage Magazine

Jerry Herman • Jersey City • B. 1931

The recipient of a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, Herman perfected his craft putting on musical productions at summer camps in the 1940s and 50s. An off-Broadway collaboration with friends Phyllis Newman and Charles Nelson-Reilly brought him to the attention of big-time producers and, in 1964, Herman was hired to write the score for Hello, Dolly! From there, Herman wrote the scores for Mame, La Cage aux Folles and other hit shows.

Jerome Kern Newark • 1885–1945

A giant in the world of theater composers, Kern wrote the music for hundreds of songs and worked with an all-star list of lyricists, including Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer and Oscar Hammerstein . His iconic songs include “A Fine Romance,” “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Ol’ Man River.” The Kerns moved to Newark when Jerome was 12 and his songs were first performed in a musical at Newark High School (now Barringer High). Kern began composing for Broadway in the early 1900s and later composed scored for silent films. In 1927, he wrote the scores for Show Boat, the crowning achievement of his career. The vacation yacht Kern purchased with his earnings was named after the musical.

THIS+THAT

Collectors Choice Music

Dory Previn Woodbridge • 1925–2012

A talented lyricist who contributed to movie scores in the 1950s as Dorothy Langan, she married composer Andre Previn in 1959 and they churned out several Oscar-nominated songs. They also wrote songs for Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Jones, Nancy Wilson, Vic Damone and Rosemary Clooney. Previn’s fear of flying kept her from accompanying her husband on tour when he became a classical music conductor and they divorced in 1970 after she learned of his affair with Mia Farrow. Previn became a highly regarded singer-songwriter in the 1970s. Her intensely personal lyrics and political activism earned her a devoted following.

Cy Coben • Jersey City • 1919–2006

How many songwriters can claim that their songs were recorded by Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee, Eddy Arnold and The Beatles? Coben may be the only one. He was also the first writer of a UFO song: 1947’s “Those Flying Saucers,” which he co-wrote with longtime collaborator Charlie Grean, who was Arnold’s manager. Coben found his ultimate niche in Nashville during the late-1940s. He wrote several #1 hits for Arnold during the 1950s and his songs were popular on both sides of the Atlantic into the 1970s. Coben also wrote for Leonard Nimoy, whom Grean produced in the 1970s. 

Embassy Music

Ol’ Blue Eyes

Wait, don’t shoot! No, Frank Sinatra does not make this Sweet 16 list. However, it’s worth mentioning that a) he was well known for tweaking a word or two in the songs he made famous and b) he actually did receive official co-writing credit on a handful of songs, including:

This Love Of Mine (1941)

Sheila (1949)

Peachtree Street (1950)

Take My Love (1950)

I’m A Fool To Want You (1951)

Mistletoe and Holly (1957)

Mr. Success (1958)

All That Jazz

For the better part of a century, New Jersey has been a fertile ground for pioneering jazz performers, as well as providing dozens of venues where people from all walks of life could enjoy groundbreaking acts. To call jazz composers “songwriters” sounds a bit pedestrian, but their work has certainly stood the test of time alongside composers of popular music. Here are three of the genre’s New Jersey giants…

Tom Beetz

Wayne Shorter Newark • 1933–

Shorter has been at the leading edge of his craft for 60 years, as a writer, arranger, saxophonist and bandleader. The jazz standards he has crafted are too numerous to mention, while his Grammy wins are now in double-digit territory. Shorter’s collaboration with Miles Davis and his work with Weather Report rank among the most productive quarter-century enjoyed by any musician in history.

James P. Johnson • New Brunswick • 1894–1955

A great deal of the evolution of ragtime into jazz occurred in the Garden State thanks to the writing and performing of Johnson, whose most famous song “Charleston” ignited an epic dance craze during the Roaring ’Twenties.

William P. Gottlieb

Willie Smith Newark • 1897–1973

Smith was known as The Lion during a performing career that stretched into the 1970s. A pioneer of stride piano, Smith had a profound influence on the music of Duke Ellington, and was regarded—along with Fats Waller and James P. Johnson—to be the masters of their craft.

Today, New Jersey (specifically, Newark) can legitimately lay claim to the title “epicenter of jazz” thanks to the radio station WBGO, which streams music and interviews 24/7 at wbgo.org. The station was founded in 1979 and reaches a global audience of 400,000 listeners a week, as well as providing content for NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Editor’s Note: Mark Stewart does not sing or play an instrument, but he has written two books related to the music industry (Will Smith and Ultimate 10 Music Legends) and produced the guidebook for Woodstock ’94. He has interviewed jazz performers Vince Giordano and Audra Mariel for EDGE, as well as Jeff Hanna of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.