Homestyle Italian cooking comes naturally to John Centrella, the owner of Jersey Meatball Company. He grew up amid the hustle and bustle of two pizzerias owned his Italian-born parents. So when John grew up, he decided to continue the family tradition, and honed in on the family's culinary specialty: hand-rolled meatballs.
The meatballs serve as the cornerstone of the eatery's menu, with chefs incorporating them into hero sandwiches, sliders, pasta dishes, or just serving them à la carte. The meatballs themselves vary widely, created from pork, beef, chicken, or vegetables. Chefs drizzle meatballs with the restaurant's signature sauces, ranging from classic marinara to spicy pink vodka sauce and pesto. But the chefs really stretch their muscles on Sunday, creating full Italian dinner feasts for families to take home and enjoy.
Chomp down on a forkful of Italy in North Bergen at 90 Park Restaurant, which serves up a traditional menu of Italian favorites. For a light lunch, consider a cup of minestrone and a grilled chicken panini, bolstered by mozzarella, arugula, roasted peppers, and garlic pesto. Come dinnertime, tear into a brick-oven pizza Romana—fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, chopped tomatoes, arugula, and olive oil—or a heaping plate of eggplant rigatoni. For a sweet take on your entree, look no further than the pumpkin ravioli. An international list of wines and classic desserts round out the menu.
The chefs at Pasion Latina aim to pay tribute to Latin American cultures by serving distinctive dishes. Taste buds are engaged with sweet plantains, black beans, and fried cassava, which are nestled beside piquant entrees from Cuba, Colombia, and other nations. Diners can sip BYOB selections on the patio, chat in the intimate, colorful dining room, or feverishly try to hitchhike to Puerto Rico without putting on swimmies.
Mojo Frozen Yogurt's decor plays to the colorful nature of its fruit toppings, from the paper lamps that hang above the main counter to the undulating waves of color that run along its back wall. Once you've gotten an eyeful, cups at the curved row of self-serve machines beg to be filled with frozen yogurt, stealling attention from attendants who hand-scoop ice cream sundaes and banana splits. The shop even creates custom ice cream cakes and cheesecakes that help send congratulations. There are goodies here for people with dietary restrictions too, as the shop fills out its menu with sugar-free frozen yogurts, dairy-free sorbets, and calorie-free empty cups.
The glowing embers in a rustic brick hearth reach temperature heights of 700 degrees Fahrenheit as they bake pizzas. Once they’ve been adequately roasted, pizzas emerge from brick ovens bubbling and topped with now crisp leaves of basil, soft tomato slices, arugula, and tender chicken. Chefs prepare 15 specialty varietals of pizza using traditional maple- and oak-fired methods that date back to the time when the Ancient Romans invented fire and imparts a toasty crispness to each disc. Pasta noodles mingle with creamy pesto sauce or skirt steak, while slices of foccocia bread ensnare morsels of roasted eggplant, meatballs, or lightly breaded chicken.
Diners can customize pies with à la carte ingredients such as sausage, fresh pineapple, and arugula or opt for the prearranged flavors, which include a ricotta-bedecked bianca pizza and an entree-combining chicken-parmigiana pizza. Four fountain drinks keep bellies happily hydrated, although a diplomatic BYOB policy allows guests to supplement dinners with fermented beverages. Diners can nosh in an all-season garden room, where a vaulted-glass ceiling maintains a pleasant climate through summer, winter, and impending ice ages.
If health and wellness is a never-ending journey, then the Vitamin Shoppe is a road map, a guide, and a fuel pump all rolled into one tried-and-true source. Established in 1977, the Vitamin Shoppe has become a reliable asset in the fight to stay healthy and well.
Today, with more than 600 stores peppered across the U.S., Canada, and Panama, the company carries more than 18,000 items from some 400 major brands. It keeps its virtual shelves and actual shelves stocked with everything from vitamins and minerals to nutritional supplements, weight management products, and health and beauty aids. Not to be forgotten, the Vitamin Shoppe's associates—called "health enthusiasts"—are all highly trained in the most important aspects of health and wellness. They recognize that every body is unique, and not every problem can be solved with duct tape.