February 23, 2022

LOOKING YOUR BEST: “We are first and foremost caregivers for our customers. We specialize in hair services — styling, cuts, and color. In addition, we offer a plethora of experiences in a welcoming atmosphere. It’s a social experience too, and we want people to enjoy their time with us,” says Studio ONE60 co-owner and manager Deborah Salvato. Shown are the stylists at the salon, from left: master stylist and contributing business development partner Allie Colangelo, master stylist Sherri Parker, stylist Amanda Kanitra, stylist Mirana Vyas, and, in foreground, master stylist and contributing business partner Joe Kloss.

By Jean Stratton

Helping customers to look their best is the mission of Studio ONE60, the new salon at 160 Witherspoon Street. Opened last May, it specializes in hair services, and also offers manicures, pedicures, facial waxing, and makeup applications.

“Our salon is intended to provide high quality hair and nail service as well as regularly scheduled social events such as wine tastings, art shows, and music,” points out co-owner and manager Deborah Salvato. “We offer a special atmosphere, with an emphasis on socialization. After all they have been through with COVID, people want to come together for a relaxed social experience. We can combine that with our professional services.”

In the cosmetology business for 30 years, Salvato has been licensed in all services, and has been associated with many salons in the area. When the opportunity to open her own salon came along, she did not hesitate. She and co-owner Laurent Mialhe gathered a staff of five professional stylists with extensive experience, and found the Witherspoon Street location.

An executive in the beauty industry, originally from France, Mialhe moved to Princeton 22 years ago, and looks forward to this new opportunity. more

February 9, 2022

SUCCESS STORY: “We have become a community hub. People love to come in and see what’s new. We rearrange everything each week, and new items are always coming in. We are so grateful to those who donate and to the shoppers, who have continued to keep us going and support HomeFront in this way.” Shown are volunteers at HomeFront’s Treasure Trove shop in Hopewell. From left are Sue Karr, Martha Blandford, Ruthann Traylor, Annie Battle, Lillian Rankel, Vivienne Wingard, and Helen James (foreground).

By Jean Stratton

HomeFront’s Treasure Trove — Buy something you love, support a cause you believe in.”

This sentiment is proving irresistible to the many shoppers who have discovered the special items and warm atmosphere at HomeFront’s Treasure Trove, the shop at 31 West Broad Street in Hopewell. Filled with an eclectic array of art, furniture, pottery, glassware, and much more, it benefits the HomeFront programming fund.

Not only is it a true success story, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving on so many levels — to the community, to donors who know that their donation will find a new home, and ultimately benefit HomeFront.

“Since we opened a little over a year ago, we have raised $175,000 for HomeFront, a testament to the goodwill and generosity of so many people,” says Annie Battle, HomeFront volunteer and curator and organizer of the shop. more

February 2, 2022

SPARRING PARTNERS:  An extensive selection of workout and training opportunities are available at NexT Fit Clubs. Shown here is a personal trainer helping an energetic member “learn the ropes” during a training session.

By Jean Stratton

Ready for some exercise? The winter chill may not beckon you outdoors for a quick walk or bike ride, but an alternative is there, and the time is now!

A new year can launch a new beginning, and NexT Fit Clubs at 390 Wall Street offers a complete range of strength and cardio equipment, personal training, and classes.

“January is a big time for new members,” says owner and president Kevin R. Price. “People want a new start for the new year after all that holiday eating. They’re ready for a healthier lifestyle.”

Opened in October 2019, the club welcomes clients of all fitness levels and all ages. Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, lower cholesterol, or get ready for summer swimsuits, there will be a program for you. All shapes and sizes welcome! more

January 19, 2022

FUN AND FUNCTION: “As a modern lifestyle brand, Toobydoo is designed for babies, boys, and girls, from infants to age 14. We believe in beautiful designs that are always fun and functional. Come see us at Toobydoo!” Sonja Lips (right), co-owner, with her husband Paul, of Toobydoo on Palmer Square, is shown with her staff. They are enthusiastic and ready to help with a full range of imaginative shopping ideas.

By Jean Stratton

Creativity. Imagination. Personality.

With all due respect to the digital age, you will not find the import of these expressions and the images they evoke online. Words and pictures, perhaps, but they are, after all, one-dimensional. Online shopping and the convenience and quick click of the keyboard cannot duplicate the real thing, and seeing it firsthand. No touching, tasting, trying on!

Where you will find creativity, imagination, and personality vividly brought to life is within the walls of Toobydoo. The baby and children’s clothing and toy store at 59 Palmer Square West is filled with style and spirit, and a visit there will guarantee a fun shopping experience.

It begins with the windows. Filled with colorful, eye-catching displays, they invite you to come in. more

January 5, 2022

“ARTIST’S LIFE”: “Art needs to be out in the world, interacting with people. When you bring a work of art into your home, you are allowing a new spirit to become part of your life,” says artist Jessie Krause, a member of Princeton Makes Artist Cooperative. Shown is one of her acrylic paintings, a cyclist in front of East Pyne Hall on the Princeton University campus.

By Jean Stratton

We are a community of artists from all over the world, all of whom have an artistic vision, and work in varying styles. There is a group dynamic here that enhances the creative process.

“You hear the sound of creativity, the sound of community, the sound of making things together. You’ll hear a sewing machine, a potter’s wheel, and all in a workshop environment. We’re like an art market. We are very accessible with a whole range of art and a wide range of prices. Art is affordable here. And the public can come in and see real people making real things in their studio. We’re part of the real world.”

Artist Jessie Krause is very proud of Princeton Makes, the Artist Cooperative in the Princeton Shopping Center. An organization of 30 artists, the cooperative offers them the opportunity both to showcase and sell their artwork and also to have studio space for their creative endeavors.

Opened in September, it was founded by stained glass artist Jim Levine, former interim director of the Arts Council of Princeton. more

December 29, 2021

By Jean Stratton

If you are moving, you want to seal the deal as soon as possible, and under the most auspicious and least stressful circumstances.

No mistake about it, buying or selling a house requires fortitude!

Why not have the very best help available as you navigate this daunting procedure?

Help is at hand!

The Mercer County Association of Top Producers is an organization consisting of high level real estate agents and brokers from many area firms.

To qualify, an agent must have received the prestigious New Jersey Association of Realtors (NJAR) Circle of Excellence Award, Bronze level; and have produced $2.5 million in sales for the year, or 17 units (sales or rentals). There are currently 66 members, and only 5 percent of all members of the Mercer County Board of Realtors have achieved membership.

Elite Group

Since the organization’s establishment more than 30 years ago, it has completed over 1,754 transactions totaling $726 million.

“It is an honor to be part of the Association,” says vice president of the Association Board Lisa LeRay. A broker sales agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, Realtors, headquartered in Pennington, she has been a member of Top Producers for 12 years.

“We meet once a month, and it is very beneficial for the agents to network with the other top producers. We discuss and share information about the market, new listings, and we can learn from each other. For example, one agent’s client may be looking for a specific kind of house, with certain details, and another agent may know of one and can make suggestions. I have become a better agent by being a member of this organization.

“Knowing that you are in an elite group with people who you can learn from, but also that motivate you to be an excellent real estate agent, is invaluable.” more

December 15, 2021

FINE FURNITURE: “We carry high quality top brands at discounted prices. The lines we choose provide real value and long-lasting products for the customers, and we offer lifetime warranties. Our clients know they can count on us.” The Thompson family is proud of Rider Furniture’s longevity and fine reputation. Shown, from left, are owners Bill and Sue Thompson and their son, Bill Jr., who has joined the family business.

By Jean Stratton

The handsome wooden sign on the wall says:

“Built To Order, Designed to Last, Extraordinary Results.”

This sentiment describes the large selection of custom furniture available at Rider Furniture, located at 4621 Route 27 in Kingston. Its long history of quality — quality products and quality service — has led to its ongoing success story.

This year marks the 30th anniversary in its current location and its 44th under the ownership of Bill Thompson. In a time when many businesses are here today and gone tomorrow, this is a proud accomplishment indeed. more

December 8, 2021

TEAM WORK: “Our goal is to provide the absolute pinnacle of food quality and services. Our logo is pineapple (the Colonial universal sign of welcome) and tulips (traditional flowers from Holland that represent the Dutch family of John Blaw, the settler of Blawenburg).” Jennifer Cifelli, far left, owner of the new Blawenburg Bistro, is shown with staff members, from left,  Rebecca, Kenia, and Kelly.

By Jean Stratton

I am glad to come to work every single day! And I am here every day. I am inspired by this opportunity.”

The many customers of the Blawenburg Bistro share owner Jennifer Cifelli’s enthusiasm. They are coming from all over the Princeton area and beyond, stopping in for coffee and a croissant early in the morning as they commute to work, or later in the day for a leisurely lunch.

Opened in April, the Bistro is a dream come true for owner Cifelli, who always loved cooking, but who took a detour before owning her own restaurant. She had a previous career as a teacher, but as she says, “I wanted to make a change, and this was the time to do it. I was always interested in cooking and different kinds of food. I was a foodie from day one!

“Also, we found just the right location at 391 County Route 518 in the Blawenburg Village section of Skillman. Our iconic corner building has a long history over more than 250 years. It has been a post office, general store, dry cleaner, deli, antique shop, newspaper headquarters, dog groomer, catering company, and cafe. We are proud to have a legacy of successful and welcoming businesses that have come before us. We want to keep that tradition.” more

December 1, 2021

IN THE MIDST OF HISTORY: Shown is the historic Colonial era Cranbury Inn. As owners and innkeepers Tom and Gay Ingegneri point out, “The Inn is really its own entity, with a history and stories to tell. We are just its stewards. It is a joy to own such an historic, well-loved entity. We think of it as a home away from home for our guests, and we are proud to be its stewards. We especially love to see the young people and students visit and become interested in its history.”

By Jean Stratton

A Colonial-era inn still fulfilling its purpose: serving customers high quality dinners, celebrating weddings, hosting banquets — and more. This is a rarity today, and all the more reason for it to be acknowledged and commemorated.

With changing tastes and customs, and altered community styles and landscapes, changes come along quickly, almost before we know it. The Cranbury Inn, located at 21 Main Street in Cranbury, has stood the test of time, and continues to offer its customers the highest standards of service and cuisine.

Its history is a story in itself.

In the mid-18th century, taverns were built in the Cranbury area to meet the needs of travelers passing through the region, often on their way from New York to Philadelphia, or in the opposite direction. What is now The Cranbury Inn has been functioning as a place to eat and drink since at least 1750. more

November 24, 2021

A TRUE TREASURE: “Customers are enjoying coming in again. They really like to see things firsthand. We also have online shopping, but many of our customers have fun coming into the shop and enjoying the in-store atmosphere.” Debra Lampert-Rudman (left), curator of education and public programs at Morven Museum, and Kathy O’Hara, hospitality manager and buyer for The Morven Museum Shop, are enthusiastic about the shop’s treasure trove of gifts. They are shown at Morven’s annual “Festival of Trees” holiday event.

By Jean Stratton

It has been called “the best kept secret in town.” The Morven Museum Shop at 55 Stockton Street, next to Morven Museum & Garden, is filled with a selection of delightful items in a wide price range.

With the holidays fast approaching, it is the perfect place to find a special gift. The selection is indeed a treasure trove of surprises for friends and family, and all in a variety of styles and signature specialties.

The shop itself is a fascinating piece of history. Dating to 1844, the building was formerly Morven’s Wash House.

“The concept of the shop is to carry on Morven’s mission and to promote New Jersey culture and history and the Morven Garden,” explains Hospitality Manager and Buyer Kathy O’Hara, who has been with the shop since it opened in 2005. more

November 17, 2021

DELIGHTFUL AND DELICIOUS: “We love being in Princeton. It’s been a great choice, and we love the location on Witherspoon Street. Everyone has been so welcoming and glad to see us. People have actually thanked us for being here, Some of our customers are even coming in every other day.” Lynne Weshner, owner of Delizioso Bakery + Kitchen, is delighted with the warm welcome she and the new cafe have received, and she looks forward to meeting many more customers.

By Jean Stratton

Eating out has never been more fun in Princeton. Choices are everywhere. Opportunities to please the palate and tempt the tastebuds are offered by restaurants, eateries, and cafes all over town.

One of the newest and most popular is Delizioso Bakery + Kitchen, located at 205 Witherspoon Street. Opened in June, it already has a loyal and growing following. These customers don’t miss a chance to stop in for a quick bite or lengthier visit.

Offering indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and catering, it specializes in an inviting combination of breakfast and lunch choices, including pizza, and a tempting assortment of baked items. Both savory and sweet treats are on hand to please every taste.

“Everything is prepared and cooked on the premises,” says owner Lynne Weshner. “We serve a little of everything, and it is all made to order with the freshest ingredients. We offer healthy, basic food, but take it up a notch with our special recipes and presentation.” more

November 3, 2021

KEEP THEM CLEAN: “We clean, sanitize, and deodorize your trash cans. We use specially designed trucks and trailers to clean all types of trash cans and dumpsters for residential and commercial clients,” explain Matt Nemes and Ron Stinson, owners of Nice Cans New Jersey, based in Bordentown. “We also offer high quality soft pressure washing services for houses, patios, driveways, and sidewalks. We look forward to introducing you to our new company and our specialized services.” Shown is one of the machines used for trash can cleaning.

By Jean Stratton

Matt Nemes and Ron Stinson want to make your life easier by ensuring that your trash cans are clean, odor-free, and basically spic-and-span!

They believe this is an idea whose time has come, and that their new company, Nice Cans New Jersey, offers people a unique system for cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing garbage cans, as well as soft pressure washing services for house exteriors, patios, driveways, and sidewalks.

“People are really interested,” report the owners. “Most of them had never known about this before, and we can take care of something they don’t really want to do, or hadn’t really thought about doing.” more

October 27, 2021

FITNESS AND FUN: “We are distinguished by offering a variety of fitness programs and small class size in the safest environment possible. We are a female-owned business, and we strive to offer both personal attention and a sense of community.” Shown, from left, are Sandra Wang, Sandi Della Rocca, and Marci Resnick, owners of inMotion Fitness and Wellness. They are enthusiastic about introducing clients to their new studio.

By Jean Stratton

inMotion Fitness and Wellness is guaranteed to keep you moving!

Offering personal training, group fitness, and wellness services, it has a program for everyone’s level of ability and enough variety to keep you motivated.

“I really enjoy seeing someone take that first step on a new path for their fitness and wellness,” says Sandi Della Rocca, one of the center’s owners. “We encourage one small sustainable change at a time. It takes patience, but when clients see improvements in their fitness, they are encouraged and motivated to continue. It’s one step at a time.”

Opened in September at Suite F-50, 29 Emmons Drive, inMotion is also owned by Sandra Wang and Marci Resnick. Wang oversees the center’s finances and operations, and Resnick provides services as a certified coach, trainer, and instructor. more

October 20, 2021

CURTAIN GOING UP!: “Music Mountain Theatre is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich, educate, and entertain our community through the study, performance, and appreciation of the arts in a welcoming and inclusive environment. We provide affordable theater, and the audiences love our live performances.” Ginny Brennan (center), one of the founding directors of Music Mountain Theatre, is shown with co-artistic directors Louis Palena (left) and Jordan Brennan. The theater is now open and ready for audiences.

By Jean Stratton

Ginny Brennan has loved the performing arts all her life. A dancer in high school and college, she later ran a children’s theater program in Bucks County, founded the downtown Performing Arts Center in Lambertville, then operated the Washington Crossing Open Air Theater. She is now one of the founding directors of Music Mountain Theatre in Lambertville.

A New Jersey native, Brennan moved to Bucks County as an adult, and at one point, in between various theatre enterprises, owned a restaurant in Doylestown, Pa.

But theater was always her passion, and when her 10-year-old son Jordan expressed a desire to perform, he began to participate in several Bucks County children’s theater programs.

“I began running the children’s theater program,” she says. “The kids loved to perform, but there wasn’t always the right training.”

Theatrical Pursuits

Jordan’s early interest in performing has continued over the years, and after graduating from college with a BFA in dance, he returned to Lambertville, and joined his mother in various theatrical pursuits.

“In 2000, we founded the Downtown Performing Arts Center, and had classes in theater, dance, acting, and musical theater,” reports Brennan. “We also started to do performances with older teens and adults. more

October 13, 2021

HOME SWEET HOME: “The real estate agent guides you through the process. We are the experts in the field. A good real estate agent can add more money for the seller, and also assist the buyer in spending less. This is my career, and I take it very seriously. And seeing the uniqueness of so many of the homes, even after all these years, is what makes it so much fun.” Donna M. Murray, founding agent with Compass Princeton RE, the independent real estate company recently opened in Princeton at 47 Hulfish Street, is enthusiastic about her chosen field.

By Jean Stratton

Donna M. Murray knew right from the start that a future in real estate was in store for her.

After an early career as a flight attendant with American Airlines, she followed the advice of a friend in the real estate business, and approached one of the area companies. She was immediately accepted for training, which involved absorbing a lot of challenging new information, ranging from legalities and mortgages to wetlands and flood insurance, and more. After passing the exam, she was then told to go forth and sell houses.

“After the training period and the exam, they said, ‘Now go out, call friends and family to see if anyone wants to buy or sell a house.’

“So I called a friend who I thought might be interested in moving, and I asked her. She said yes, and I listed her property, which sold, and then I was also able to help her buy a new house.”

Murray was on her way! more

October 6, 2021

CONVERSATION AND COMMUNICATION: “Every painting I do, I set a challenge for myself, something I hope to learn and solve. It’s all part of my life and the viewer’s. I try to give my viewers something to think about. It’s a conversation — purposeful communication.” Painter Robert Beck is shown in his Solebury, Pa., studio. (Photo by Bob Krist).

By Jean Stratton

Beauty, it is said, is in the eye of the beholder. So it is, also, that the meaning of a piece of art is unique to each beholder. It may stimulate one’s imagination, evoke a special memory, or introduce a new way of looking at something that appears familiar.

The work of painter Robert Beck does all of this. With their immediacy and compelling communication, his paintings engage the viewer’s attention and mindfulness, and indeed, recognition.

Currently, his work is the focus of two exhibitions: “It’s Personal: The Art of Robert Beck” at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., and “Robert Beck: Recent Works” at Morpeth Contemporary, the gallery in Hopewell.

Having taken up painting professionally at the age of 40, he has been remarkably successful. The recipient of many awards and honors, Beck has exhibited his work in numerous museums, galleries, and other locations. His paintings are sought by art lovers, both knowledgeable collectors and individuals new to the world of art. He has something to say to everyone. more

September 29, 2021

SERVICE AND SECURITY: “As a small firm, we can be more nimble, and provide more services to clients. We are a comprehensive independent fiduciary firm, covering a wide range of financial services. A particular area of our focus is on the transfer of wealth to the next generation.” Partners in their new company, Orbis Wealth, Tim Urie, CFP, (left) and Robert Marronaro, CFP, are both certified financial planners.

By Jean Stratton

Peace of mind.

There is nothing like it — especially in times of uncertainty. There has been a lot to make people nervous during the past year and a half. The pandemic, obviously, but also strains in the political system, worries over jobs and income, dealing with school and office closings, necessitating adapting to new virtual means of managing these responsibilities, and the frequent and extreme changes in weather patterns — you name it. There’s a lot out there to boost stress levels!

And certainly, no one wants to contemplate running out of money, and this has been another area of concern for many individuals recently.

A trusted financial planner can be very helpful to people, whatever their financial status, and having such an adviser by your side may alleviate many money worries, and indeed reinforce that peace of mind.

Compass and Circle

Robert Marronaro, CFP, senior wealth advisor and Tim Urie, CFP, wealth advisor are partners in Orbis Wealth. An independent wealth management company, with offices at 116 Village Boulevard in Forrestal Village, and also in Roseland, it opened this past April. more

September 22, 2021

ARTIST AT WORK: Guy Ciarcia is shown putting the final touches on his mixed media sculpture. An acclaimed artist known for a wide variety of work in many genres, he will be participating in the Hopewell Tour Des Arts, scheduled for this weekend. His studio will be one of the 14 locations on the Tour.

By Jean Stratton

An event with artists, by artists, and for artists” is how Sean Mannix describes the upcoming Hopewell Tour Des Arts.

Scheduled for September 25 and 26, the annual event is unique. It offers a format in which the public not only can enjoy exhibited art, but also view artists at work in their studio and learn about their creative endeavors.

As director of the Tour and owner of Highland Design Farm at 159 Van Dyke Road in Hopewell (one of the Tour locations), Mannix is also one of the participants. His focus is metalworking, and his farm will be the showcase for a number of the artists.

Photographer and musician Grant Peterson, one of the participants and also a member of the Tour committee, emphasizes the importance of the chance to see artists in their own surroundings.

“This is a great thing for the public to be able to see the artists in their working environment. This is one of the things that is so special about our Tour. People love to be able to talk with the artists about their work.” more

September 15, 2021

ART PLUS HISTORY:  The Phillips’ Mill, shown here, is many things to many people. An important cornerstone in New Hope, it was once a grist mill, dating to the 18th century. It is now a unique visual and performing arts center, welcoming artists, photographers, playwrights, actors, and art lovers from around the region. Its long history, showcasing important talent, brings countless visitors to its annual exhibitions and performances. It will hold its “92nd Juried Art Show,” opening on September 25, featuring the work of important area artists.

By Jean Stratton

History and art come together at the Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa. Located at 2619 River Road, it was originally a grist mill in the 18th century, when farmers brought their grain to be ground into flour.

Today, it is known for presenting one of the most prestigious art shows in the region, attracting top talent and serious art collectors.

Considered to be the birthplace of Pennsylvania Impressionism, the Mill is home to its acclaimed “Juried Art Show,” first held in 1929, explains Laura Womack, vice president of the Phillips’ Mill Community Association board and chair of the art committee.

As reported in the Phillips’ Mill Association’s special book, Celebrating 75 Years of Art, “Among the founders were the now legendary leaders of the Pennsylvania art colony, centered in New Hope at the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, they included Edward Redfield, William Langston Lathrop, and David Garber.” more

September 8, 2021

EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE: “In addition to instructing students and introducing them to all aspects of dance, a huge part of our program is building relationships. We’ve had some students since they were 3 years old, and who have continued to come over the years. We offer a wonderful program for students of all ages and levels of ability.” Elise Knecht, left, and her daughter Ashlee, co-owners of Knecht’s Danceworks, are enthusiastic about their current program, which is on site and in person.

By Jean Stratton

For more than 60 years, the Knecht family has been sharing its dance expertise with students, audiences, and all those who love the dance in all its forms.

Established in 1959 by Fred and Joanne Knecht, Danceworks (then known as Knecht Dance Academy) has been a dynamic force in dance instruction, and it is a true family operation.

Their daughter Elise is now co-owner of the studio with her daughter Ashlee, who is the third generation to be actively involved. Both women also serve as instructors.

After many years in Bucks County, Knecht’s Danceworks moved to the Pennington Square Shopping Center on Route 31 in Pennington last year. Formerly the location of Karen Martin’s Dance Works of Mercer County, the spacious setting offers two state-of-the-art dance studios, featuring sprung and Marley floors, which are easier on the legs and feet and overall body health, points out Elise Knecht. more

September 1, 2021

ELECTRIC FOOTPRINT: “I believe electric cars will be competitive with gasoline-fueled cars in two to three years,” says Nicholas Long of Polestar Princeton, Long Motor Company. “We look forward to seeing more electric cars on the road, and having our footprint there.” He is shown next to one of Polestar’s new electric models, the Polestar 2.

By Jean Stratton

It is actually not a new idea, but one that has lingered on the fringes of the automotive world for more than a century.

Developed in the mid-1800s, the electric car was a definite factor in the initial development of the automobile. It was an important focus in the early 20th century, only falling out of favor in the 1920s, when the internal combustion engine (ICE) took over.

Now, however, it is surely an idea whose time has come. The electric vehicle (EV) is moving to the forefront on the highways — and quickly.

With the promise of less pollution and price savings, sales are up all over the country, and charging stations are appearing at numerous locations. more

August 25, 2021

CHEF JASON’S TEAM: “We offer fresh, high quality food,” says Chef Jason Dilts, co-owner of Chef Jason at 1275 restaurant in Cranbury. “We want people to come and enjoy a delicious and relaxed dining experience.” He is shown with his staff, from left: Anthony Olvera, Sam Keating, Jason Dilts, “Broccoli” Rob Reddington, and George Gochuico.

By Jean Stratton

Chef Jason Dilts may only be 28 years old, but his knowledge of the restaurant business and his ability in the kitchen belie his years.

Co-owner and chef of Chef Jason at 1275 restaurant, located at 1275 South River Road in Cranbury, he is excited to take on the challenge of this new opportunity. It is the culmination of his years of restaurant experience, and he is optimistic, even while COVID-19 uncertainties linger.

“I started working in DiMattia’s restaurant in Allentown when I was 14,” he recalls. “First, I bussed tables and then the chef let me help him. I knew right away that this was what I wanted to do.”

He loved the creativity of creating dishes and the chance to use the freshest, high quality local and seasonal ingredients. more

August 11, 2021

EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE: “We are professional Plant Health Care specialists. This is our focus,” says Pepper deTuro, president of Woodwinds Associates, Inc. Shown with his father, Sam deTuro, who founded Woodwinds, he is proud of the family business’s longstanding reputation for excellent tree and shrub care.

By Jean Stratton

The cicadas have come and gone, but recurrent reminders remain. Clumps of brown leaves continue to fall from tree branches in which female cicadas laid their eggs.

This is not usually cause for concern, says Pepper deTuro, president and owner of Woodwinds Associates, Inc., the longtime tree and shrub specialists.

“The cicadas don’t harm a large, mature healthy tree. But a tree in decline or a very young tree might be at risk.”

Woodwinds has been providing helpful advice and expert service since its founding in 1967 by Sam deTuro, Pepper’s father. Located at 4492 Route 27 in Kingston, the company has been a mainstay in Plant Health Care, a special program, which is a form of integrated pest management.


August 4, 2021

CHICKEN DELIGHT: “We cook to order, and everything is fresh. Nothing is frozen. Everything is prepared daily on-site.” Benny Umbra (left) and Chef Lazzaro Merone, owners of La Rosa Chicken & Grill in the Princeton Shopping Center, are about to enjoy a sampling of the eatery’s specialties: (top left) crispy chicken sandwich, with macaroni and cheese, and French fries; roasted chicken meal featuring garlic broccoli, string beans, and corn muffin; chicken sandwich with creamed spinach and fries; and chicken gorgonzola salad. All are customer favorites.

By Jean Stratton

No doubt about it! Chicken is an all-time favorite. Chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, chicken tenders, fried chicken, roast chicken — there is something for everyone!

And with some people cutting back on red meat, and others who don’t love fish, chicken is a favorite choice of those looking for healthy eating.

Enter La Rosa Chicken & Grill, just opened last May in the Princeton Shopping Center.

“Chicken is our specialty,” says Benny Umbra, partner and co-owner, with Chef Lazzaro Merone, of the new eatery

One of 15 franchises in New Jersey and New York, La Rosa Chicken & Grill has quickly become a favorite at its new Shopping Center location. more

July 21, 2021

DEFINITIVE DELI: “I enjoy creating experiences for people, and I like to see people eat and enjoy themselves. In addition to being chef, I oversee the operations, and we are tweaking things every day to be sure we get it right.” Nick Liberato, owner with Mike Dalewitz and Steve Lau, of Borscht Belt Delicatessen in Stockton, is shown with one of the deli’s signature sandwiches: chopped cheese, with ground beef blend, cheddar, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. (Photo by Gab Bonghi)

By Jean Stratton

Comfort and conversation, connection and culture, flavor and atmosphere; over-stuffed, piled-high delicious deli sandwiches; expertly-made egg creams; 1950s sound track vibrating in the background. Where can you find such an energizing experience?

It’s not far away!

The new Borscht Belt Delicatessen is located in the Stockton Market at 19 Bridge Street in Stockton. Just opened on June 19, it is already attracting hungry visitors who are lining up around the block to sample both its New York City-style Jewish deli atmosphere and its variety of classic deli culinary treats.

Owners Nick Liberato, Mike Dalewitz, and Steve Lau wanted to bring something unique to Stockton.

Family and Friends

“We thought there was a need for something like this in Stockton,” says Chef Liberato, who also oversees the operations. His longtime background in the food and restaurant business includes serving as “Chef to the Stars” when he opened a catering company in Los Angeles, and then as host of the popular Bar Rescue and Restaurants on Edge TV shows. The latter experiences included helping at risk bars and restaurants to regain both popularity and profits. more