Considered one of New Jersey’s best kept secrets by NJ Channel 12 and celebrating its 50th anniversary, DiPaolo Bros. Bakery has helped placate Newark’s passion for fresh-baked goods since 1961. Load up on leavened loaves from a lineup that features panella ($1.85 small, $2.65 large), ciabatta ($1.99 small, $3.49 large), and French ($1.55 small, $1.99 large) and Italian rolls both round and long ($0.40). Patrons looking for traditional Italian specialties find a 40-year-old cannoli cream recipe clamoring for attention ($1.25 small, $2.25 large) and chewy pignoli cookies fresh from their pine-nut shower, a topping more palatable than honey-flavored hair gel ($16.99 per pound). Additionally, a collection of cakes ($15.99 for 7”, $99.95 for full sheet) helps to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, dental cleanings, grandma’s senior prom, or any of life’s other little pleasures.
It would be easy to spend an entire day at Calandra's Italian Village—perusing the colorful packaged Italian imports in the market, lingering over a cup of pistachio gelato in the gelateria, and finishing off with a glass of wine in the bar. Wanderers who stroll to the left of the village stumble into Il Vecchio Cafe, where Italian tapestries adorn the walls and diners chat animatedly at wooden tabletops. Servers dart across the sunlit floors, bearing plates of homemade penne alla vodka, eggplant caprese panini, and broiled tilapia and refilling glasses of wine. A counter overlooks the kitchen, where a wood-burning oven bakes thin-crust pizzas. Wooden beams and vintage-style walls enclose the tabletops that speckle the outdoor stone deck, creating the look of a rustic Italian farm or the set of a movie where a rich businessman learns the value of friendship from a talking countryside mouse.
A curved-glass case is the only thing that separates salivating customers from Brothers display of french and italian pastries, which include whipped-cream pies, cookies, danishes, and two sizes of cannolis. The store's fresh baked loafs of garlic, brioche, and rye bread, however, perch proudly on open racks, ready to encase sandwich meats, warm butter, or mouthwatering restaurant reviews. The intermingling smells of sweet and savory treats culled from natural, preservative-free ingredients represent a 35-year-old tradition at Brothers Quality Bakery. Custom sculpture cakes are the cherry on top of the baked goods sundae, and the Brothers Quality staff pile layers of fondant and icing upon their red velvet and chocolate masterpieces to create designs such ladybugs for birthday parties, corsets for bachelorette parties, and snowmen for holiday events.
At Taste It Again, servers cart out feasts of tropical offerings, from crispy, pan-fried whole snapper fish to tender morsels of spicy jerk chicken with red beans and rice. Like the U.N.’s biweekly potluck, Jamaican cuisine represents a mingling of diverse cultures with its dishes of curried goat and stewed oxtail, salted cod with ackee fruit, or potatoes with Dhalpuri roti. The savory eats pair with BYOB beverages or the kitchen's own ginger beer.
Harvest Table specializes in fresh farmhouse fare that, according to the New York Times, “calls to mind a just-picked bounty.” Customers gather around the counter—a long table designed, built, and sanded by the father of owner Carissa Borraggine—adding to the restaurant’s homey feel. Behind the counter, Carissa's team crafts sandwiches, salads, and smoothies based on customers' create-your-own inventions or house recipes.
Sandwiches include a club with crisp bacon and house-roasted turkey stacked between three slices of eight-grain bread. Salad-wise, shrimp, grilled pineapple, and sesame-ginger dressing flavor the High Thai'd, whereas Cajun chicken and tangy mango dressing add kick to the Aztec. Fruit smoothies like the Peach Sunrise—a blend of peaches, strawberries, honey, and soymilk—act as healthy dessert options. Patrons can round out meals with Harvest Table's generous selection of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
Sweet Retreat Boutique's palate-popular bakers curb relentless sweet-tooth cravings with made-from-scratch cupcakes and whole cakes that have flaunted such flavors as red velvet, carrot, and pineapple cream cheese. The shop's imaginative cake designers work closely with clients to assemble custom cakes that commemorate special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and the end of century-long thumb wars. Premade cakes in a variety of sizes come in round and square shapes, and proudly don top-shelf ingredients and layers of tasty frosting.