After a debilitating car accident left Elyissia Wassung’s mother, Barbara, unable to commute to work, she stayed busy in the kitchen, devising her own homemade chocolates. Nine-year-old Elyissia would then load her mother’s sweets into a shopping cart and sell them door-to-door around the neighborhood, learning entrepreneurial skills that would last a lifetime. After leaving a telecom job as an adult, Elyissia returned to selling chocolates by founding 2 Chicks with Chocolate (the other chick being her mom), teaming up with master chocolatier Patrick Coston and lead chocolatier Stephanie Vazquez. The dessert innovators create diverse flavors, such as spiced pear and caramel ganache, s’mores, and hazelnut praline, from scratch with spices and sea salt. Customers can also create their own bars online without venturing into the store, building on a selection of chocolate bases and toppings that range from pistachios to gummy bears. The store also hosts chocolate classes and enlivens parties with chocolate fountains and chocolate tastings.
Though they all share the same name, all eight of McLoone's Restaurants' locations have their own interior charm. With dining rooms adjacent to off-track betting facilities, McLoone’s Woodbridge Grille and McLoone’s Bayonne Grille are peppered with an energetic ambiance that fills their brightly colored spaces. Televisions at every table keep diners abreast of the results of each race, and the big screens plastered around the restaurants also broadcast NFL, MLB, and college games. Like an indecisive bride’s wedding, each location’s bistro-style menu includes both casual and elegant dishes, from seasoned thai chicken wings and Black Angus burgers to new york strip steak and mango salmon.
Green Chilli's amiable staff maintains a friendly vibe as they circulate the room with steaming hot Indian specialties. Naan and roti flatbreads scoop up mouthfuls of rice from artistically arranged biryani plates and the rich sauces of goat and seafood curries. In addition to sweet desserts and the blueprints of the Taj Mahal, Green Chilli's menu includes more than a dozen vegetarian dishes, which eschew meat in favor of flavorful ingredients such as lentils and cottage cheese.
A union of Middle Eastern and Western cultures, Fire N Ice Hookah Bar combines the laid-back charm of a hookah lounge with the music and swank of a nightclub. Customers roam through the electric bi-level space flooded by soft colorful lighting before picking their poison—hookah, drinks, food, or all three.
In the hookah lounge, they curl up on plush sofas cushioned by satiny pillows and reach out every so often to grasp the hookah pipe as it’s passed around, inhaling any one of 25 exotic hookah flavors. The smoke spirals up toward Middle Eastern tapestries hanging overhead or snakes around the top-shelf cocktails perched beside the pipe. It even intermingles briefly with the aromas wafting from Middle Eastern dishes—such as chicken tikka, korma sliders, and kebabs—before vanishing into the air as quickly as a magician at a science fair.
As the night lingers on, Fire N Ice begins its transformation into a full-blown nightclub. Belly dancers take to the stage first, twisting and shimmying across the spacious dance floor. By 11 p.m., the club's three DJs begin spinning top R & B and hip-hop hits intermixed with a few Arabian jams, signaling to guests that it's their turn to hit the floor.
At The Original Primo Pizza & Grill, chefs whirl handmade dough and whole, peeled tomatoes into a variety of thin-crust pizzas. While the menu includes classic standbys such as the hawaiian pizza, customers can also create their own perfect pies from toppings such as garlic, mushrooms, pepperoni, and sausage. What really shines through, however, is the restaurant’s large selection of specialty pies: buffalo-chicken pizza is topped with chicken and zesty buffalo sauce; Nutella pizza with brown and powdered sugar; and the American-style pizza gets topped with steak, peppers, onions, american cheese, and a pervasive dislike of the metric system.
While pizza dominates the menu, diners can also explore traditional Italian entrees, including dinner specialties such as chicken scampi, veal milanese, and spaghetti with clam sauce.