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Lunch in Elizabeth


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#1 Daniel

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 08:00 AM

I work in Elizabeth New Jersey right by the Ikea and Outlet Mall. I have been working here for the last 5 years and have been able to explore some places during my lunch hour when i take one. I have discovered that elizabeth has wonderfull foods from all over the world. I was wondering if anyone could suggest any good places over here for lunch.

#2 Rosie

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 09:12 AM

Haven't been to these places in a LONG time so check to see if they are still open. Would like to know where you have gone to.

Madrid 654 New Point Road Elizabeth
Michelino’s 905 South Street Elizabeth
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#3 howard88

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 11:28 AM

Forty years ago my family used to go to Spiritos which I recall as being in Elizabeth. It was good sourthern Italian fare back then and I have heard it is still in business.

#4 Rosie

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 11:51 AM

Forgot about Spiritos. Great pizza. Smokey though. Even the waitresses were smoking when we were there ~@#$% years ago.
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#5 Oceangroveguy

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 02:28 PM

Go ahead and brave the smoke at Spirito's

Also try El Salvadorano at 1128 Elizabeth Avenue, and

Cuban food at El Palmar 523 Elizabeth Avenue, and

Spanish/Portugese at Valenca, 665 Monroe Ave.

I've only been to Manolo's, 91 Elizabeth Ave, for dinner and don't know if they serve lunch, but it's a wonderful Spanish place, if pricy for the area.

#6 dbrociner

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 02:46 PM

Tommy's for killer sausage sandwiches, just off Elizabeth Ave. between the viaduct and the Harmonia Bank (I doubt its still the Harmonia Bank). Three doors down from Tommy's is Jerry's Hot Dogs which makes boiled then grilled hot dogs and made Hot Dog John's top ten list in the NY Times. I second Rosie's nominations of Madrid and Manolo's, especially since I recommended them to her. If you can make it to Elmora Ave on your lunch hour you could try Goodman's for Jewish style deli. Not what it used to be but then what is?

#7 Daniel

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 07:42 AM

Yeh the bank is now a Fleet bank.. I really love that place. Thanks for all the input guys. El Palmar is a really good place. I went there rather often about three years ago, great daily specials and great cuban sandwiches. I am really interested in trying The deli, El Salvadorano, Spiritos and a Soul food restaurant if anyone knows one.

I have been to Manolos for dinner and found it really good, the only problem is i would have to nap after eating a meal of that porportion. I also have been told that they film the sopranos in there, when they film scenes that take place in the restaurant.

So besides soul food i have another question.. Has anyone been into the live animal market on elizabeth avenue. I drive by and see a huge building that says live animals on the outside. Then there are pictures of pretty much every animal big and small on the outside of the building. Pretty interesting.

#8 dbrociner

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 03:34 PM

Yeh the bank is now a Fleet bank.. I really love that place.

Tommy's or the Fleet Bank?

#9 Rosie

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 04:31 PM

"So besides soul food i have another question.. Has anyone been into the live animal market on elizabeth avenue. I drive by and see a huge building that says live animals on the outside. Then there are pictures of pretty much every animal big and small on the outside of the building. Pretty interesting. "

Remember that there has recently been a problem with Avian disease or something like that at the live poultry markets. Once bought a live duck at a live poultry market in Perth Amboy. Quite an experience.
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#10 rlibkind

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 06:37 PM

If you can make it to Elmora Ave on your lunch hour you could try Goodman's for Jewish style deli. Not what it used to be but then what is?

Elmora Avenue remains a highly interesting food street, both for Goodman's and other Jewish spots and for Hispanic.

I'll respectfully disagree a bit with dbrociner about Goodman's, at least as it was when I last visited about a year ago. For many years the restaurant (open only for breakfast and lunch, closed Sunday) was owned and operated two brothers Julie and (I believe) Abe Goodman. When they retired about 20-25 years ago they sold it to a Greek and trained him and his people very well. I find that nothing has changed, not the corned beef, not the pastrami, nothing! They still buy their meat from the same supplier, they cook it the same way, and take it out of the same steam cabinets to slice when you order it. Even their menu system which is supplemented by paper plates attached to the side wall with items and prices hasn't changed (other than the prices, of course).

Goodman's is not kosher, but two other eateries are. Last time I checked, the Dunkin Donuts at Elmora & Grand was was certified kosher. A block down Elmora from Goodman's is Jerusalem, which serves kosher pizza and Israeli style salads, hummus, etc., cafeteria style.

On the other side of Elmora Avenue from Goodman's is Elmora Bagels. The store has been there since the 1960s, I think, and is operated by the same family that ran the late, great Watson's Bagels of Newark and, later, Irvington. They also operate a kosher bakery at Millburn Mall off Vauxhall Road in Union, the same strip mall that's home to Syd's Hot Dogs, the hot dog of my youth at its original location on Chancellor Avenue in Newark, and a hot dogthat remains my favorite. The Millburn Mall is also within an easy drive of Ikea, no more than 15 minutes if there are no traffic jams. (Elmora Avenue is more like a 10 minute trip, tops.

Do make the trip to Elmora Avenue, and also to Spirito's (but I don't think they're open for lunch; just dinner). Another good spot for Italian, both sandwiches, pizza and plates, would be Cioffi's on Stuyvesant Avenue in Union Center; again, not as close to you as Elmora Avenue, but only 15 minutes away. They make a pretty good Italian style hot dog, too.

In warm weather, after eating at Spirito's, you'll want some Italian ice (what they call water ice here in Philadelphia) to fill in the cracks in your stomach. About a block away, on Fourth Avenue (Spirito's is on Third) is a tiny shack with two or three flavors of ice for sale (lemon is the preferred variety). It's better than any water ice I've ever had in South Phila. (But I may be biasted; like Syd's hot dogs, it's a food from my childhood.) For take-home Italian delicacies, try Barone's on Third Avenue.

If after work you're in the mood for beef, and lots of it, there's the 640 Club at 640 South Street in Elizabeth: steaks, roast beef, chops. Years ago, when doctors still smoked and ate red meat, this is where they'd have lunch, because it was smack dab between the city's three hospitals.

Enjoy!
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#11 Daniel

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 06:25 AM

If you can make it to Elmora Ave on your lunch hour you could try Goodman's for Jewish style deli. Not what it used to be but then what is?

Elmora Avenue remains a highly interesting food street, both for Goodman's and other Jewish spots and for Hispanic.

I'll respectfully disagree a bit with dbrociner about Goodman's, at least as it was when I last visited about a year ago. For many years the restaurant (open only for breakfast and lunch, closed Sunday) was owned and operated two brothers Julie and (I believe) Abe Goodman. When they retired about 20-25 years ago they sold it to a Greek and trained him and his people very well. I find that nothing has changed, not the corned beef, not the pastrami, nothing! They still buy their meat from the same supplier, they cook it the same way, and take it out of the same steam cabinets to slice when you order it. Even their menu system which is supplemented by paper plates attached to the side wall with items and prices hasn't changed (other than the prices, of course).

Goodman's is not kosher, but two other eateries are. Last time I checked, the Dunkin Donuts at Elmora & Grand was was certified kosher. A block down Elmora from Goodman's is Jerusalem, which serves kosher pizza and Israeli style salads, hummus, etc., cafeteria style.

On the other side of Elmora Avenue from Goodman's is Elmora Bagels. The store has been there since the 1960s, I think, and is operated by the same family that ran the late, great Watson's Bagels of Newark and, later, Irvington. They also operate a kosher bakery at Millburn Mall off Vauxhall Road in Union, the same strip mall that's home to Syd's Hot Dogs, the hot dog of my youth at its original location on Chancellor Avenue in Newark, and a hot dogthat remains my favorite. The Millburn Mall is also within an easy drive of Ikea, no more than 15 minutes if there are no traffic jams. (Elmora Avenue is more like a 10 minute trip, tops.

Do make the trip to Elmora Avenue, and also to Spirito's (but I don't think they're open for lunch; just dinner). Another good spot for Italian, both sandwiches, pizza and plates, would be Cioffi's on Stuyvesant Avenue in Union Center; again, not as close to you as Elmora Avenue, but only 15 minutes away. They make a pretty good Italian style hot dog, too.

In warm weather, after eating at Spirito's, you'll want some Italian ice (what they call water ice here in Philadelphia) to fill in the cracks in your stomach. About a block away, on Fourth Avenue (Spirito's is on Third) is a tiny shack with two or three flavors of ice for sale (lemon is the preferred variety). It's better than any water ice I've ever had in South Phila. (But I may be biasted; like Syd's hot dogs, it's a food from my childhood.) For take-home Italian delicacies, try Barone's on Third Avenue.

If after work you're in the mood for beef, and lots of it, there's the 640 Club at 640 South Street in Elizabeth: steaks, roast beef, chops. Years ago, when doctors still smoked and ate red meat, this is where they'd have lunch, because it was smack dab between the city's three hospitals.

Enjoy!

Nice post. You certainly know your elizabeth.

#12 rlibkind

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 12:38 PM

Nice post. You certainly know your elizabeth.

You can take the boy out of Elizabeth (more than 30 years ago), but you can't take the Elizabeth out of the boy.
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#13 dbrociner

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 09:32 PM

I'll respectfully disagree a bit with dbrociner about Goodman's, at least as it was when I last visited about a year ago. For many years the restaurant (open only for breakfast and lunch, closed Sunday) was owned and operated two brothers Julie and (I believe) Abe Goodman. When they retired about 20-25 years ago they sold it to a Greek and trained him and his people very well. I find that nothing has changed, not the corned beef, not the pastrami, nothing! They still buy their meat from the same supplier, they cook it the same way, and take it out of the same steam cabinets to slice when you order it. Even their menu system which is supplemented by paper plates attached to the side wall with items and prices hasn't changed (other than the prices, of course).

I guess I was speaking about a decline in Goodman's that had taken place while the Goodmans' themselves still owned the place. Let me explain: I had my first meal in NJ in Goodman's. I was 4 years old and my family had just moved from Prospect Park in Brooklyn to Elizabeth, this was 1967. While the movers carried the boxes into our apartment on Jersey Ave. my mother took my brother, then 2, and me to Goodman's for lunch. Now I'm not going to say that I remember that meal but I will say that I grew up eating cornbeef and pastrami combo sandwiches at Goodman's and that over the years I felt the quality went down. Yes, the place stayed the same and is probably the same now, although I bet they don't close for the week during Passover as they did when I was a kid. I'm glad to hear that the Greek owner has maintained the traditions of Goodman's. I was just waxing nostalgic for an Elmora Ave that doesn't exist anymore. I remember the way the street was decorated for Christmas when I was a kid, with lights strung across the street from lightpost to lightpost and how over time this was eliminated. I remember how people lined up in their cars late on a Saturday night to buy the Sunday morning papers by the corner of West Grand St. I remember eating in the Pathmark Hut, Pathmark's failed attempt at a fast food restaurant. I remember standing in front of Butler's Liquors at 14 asking adults to buy me a six pack. But I digress. And I'll agree that Elmora Bagels was a great bagel shop, the gold standard by which I judge bagels to this day and a standard which most modern day bagels fail miserably to measure up to.

David

#14 rlibkind

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 10:26 PM

David,

I'll see your memory and raise you two!

Another Elmora stalwart long gone was Mother Hubbard's (actually, it was on Westfield Ave. just off the corner of Elmora). The restaurant started out in Manhattan (I think the Village) in the 30s or 40s, but the owners got sick of the increasing rents and moved the operation to Elizabeth.

Mother Hubbards made the hamburgers of my youth, so they could do no wrong. The proprietress told me that they bought porterhouse "tails" and ground them up for their burgers. They were larger burgers, probably six ounces, broiled under a salamander and served with the sweetest sauteed onions I ever encountered until I learned the knack myself. (While other kids went to the White Castle across the street, I always wanted Mother Hubbard's.)

The restaurant's other claim to fame was its pies. Buy ten and bring back the tins and you'd get a free pie. We always got the apple pie, the biggest seller, though they also made a few other fruit pies as well as a coconut cream and a lemon meringue. What's astounding is that they did not use fresh apples. Instead, they used a canned apple. But my guess is that it was a superior canned product made out of an apple that held its shape in baking; perhaps a rhode island greening.

There were two cooks. I remember the name of one of them, Al, who got off the bus at the corner every day from Manhattan (where he lived); Al was primarily the grill man. His colleague was the pie man (though both could do either job) and what distinguished him in my mind was that he had a hole in his throat and spoke only with great difficulty; cancer of the larynx, I guess.

The restaurant itself was filled with little bric-a-brac, but the feature I remember most clearly was the s-shaped curved wooden counter. It was simple, but a work of art. The proprietress was a bit of a bohemian and the menu eclectic. I once recall lettuce soup as the soup-of-the-day. Big, homemade steak-syle french fries.

I remember the Pathmark Hut, too. Awful hamburgers! But going back either further in time (I graduated from Thomas Jefferson, one of the few all-boys public high schools, two years before you moved to Elizabeth), I recall the old diner on that site. It was a classy, boxy diner, not at all streamlined, and looked like a real railroad car, even if it wasn't. I don't remember a thing about the food, however, although I recall I went to junior high with Jimmy Turner whose father either owned it or worked there.

Another place for hamburgers was the Charcoal Grill, opposite from the Mother Hubbard's (I think a gas station is there now) at the southeast corner of Westfield & Elmora. Good charcoal grilled hamburgers. It probably became a gas station sometime around 1970, maybe earlier.

Would you believe there was once a pizza chain called Louis Prima's? Named after the band leader/singer/husband of Keely Smith. It was located across the street from the Elmora Theater (where I saw movies every Saturday afternoon in from the mid-50s to early 60s). Prima's had so-so pizza but pretty good meatball sandwiches. I think it only lasted six or seven years; when it went out of business the space was taken over by Jerusalem, which later moved across the street.

Other Elmora food vendors gone but not forgotten: Atlas Meats, Snowflake Bakery (where I learned to love Dobish tortes), Tabachnik's appetizer store, Superior deli. (Tabachnik's, BTW, still exists; the last outpost of the Newark fish smokery can still be found, and smoking fish, at Millburn Mall on Vauxhall Road in Union, the same strip mall where Syd's is located.) Sam and Andy's Produce might still be on Elmora.

BTW, all of a sudden I recall the second Goodman brother's name was Irv, not Abe. Julie was the thin brother, Irv the chunky one. I went to junior high and high school with their son. I agree, it's highly unlikely they close for Pesach today.

Bob
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#15 howard88

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 12:48 PM

Ribkind:
You brilng back some long ago memories. My father would take me on a Friday or Saturday nite to Watsons Bagels where a family friend was one of the bagel bakeers. We used to buy a bagful. Back then there were two kinds, plain and salt.

Went to Syds on Chancellor Ave when in high school and also frequented Daves which was a hot dog place across the street from Weequahic. Good memories.

#16 Rosie

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 01:38 PM

Hey--I remember the Weequahic Diner!
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#17 Daniel

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 02:05 PM

I just tried to go to Spiritos today. It looks good, but unfortunately it opens at 5pm on weekdays, and 3 pm on weekends.

#18 rlibkind

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 02:44 PM

Hey--I remember the Weequahic Diner!

As well you should! Remember 'Weequahic Salad'? Here's the Weequahic Diner page from the Virtual Newark website.

Now, here's a real age-tester:

Millman's and Sabin's
The Tavern.
The New Roumanian.

And does anyone remember The Newarker, the high-toned restaurant at Newark Airport? If I recall correctly, it was Joe Baum's first creation for Restaurant Associates, who next opened the Four Seasons for RA.
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#19 Rosie

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 02:47 PM

I went to the Newarker for parties. My elderly husband remembers Millman's and Sabin's.
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#20 charlotte baker

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 08:10 PM

Ribkind: 
You brilng back some long ago memories.  My father would take me on a Friday or Saturday nite to Watsons Bagels where a family friend was one of the bagel bakeers.  We used to buy a bagful.  Back then there were two kinds, plain and salt.

Went to Syds on Chancellor Ave when in high school and also frequented Daves which was a hot dog place across the street from Weequahic.  Good memories.

And you bring back memories for me. My dad took us to Watson's but we also went to Silver's Bakery on Hawthorne Avenue on Saturday nights to buy fresh rolls. And what about the Tavern and the Tavern Pantry? And Bragman's on Hawthorne Avenue for corned beef?

I grew up in Elizabeth long before many of you were born. Does anyone remember Brownfield's bakery or the French Pastry shop on Morris Avenue? Brownfield's had the best eclairs and the French Pastry shop had the best brioche.
How about Schutt's for ice cream?

By the way, Goodman's is also in Berkeley Heights and serves a pretty mean corned beef sandwich.

#21 charlotte baker

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 08:26 PM

Hey--I remember the Weequahic Diner!

As well you should! Remember 'Weequahic Salad'? Here's the Weequahic Diner page from the Virtual Newark website.

Now, here's a real age-tester:

Millman's and Sabin's
The Tavern.
The New Roumanian.

And does anyone remember The Newarker, the high-toned restaurant at Newark Airport? If I recall correctly, it was Joe Baum's first creation for Restaurant Associates, who next opened the Four Seasons for RA.

The Newarker was a beautiful restaurant and the late Joe Baum did indeed create it. I still preferred the food at the Tavern but the Newarker was always an exciting, glamorous experience.

I don't need your age tester ( Battin High School class of '44 ) since I do remember Millman's and Sabin's. I don't remember the New Roumanian.

And wasn't there a big, raucous place near the Weequahic diner called Stash's?

#22 rlibkind

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Posted 01 March 2004 - 09:44 PM

I don't remember Stash's, but Big Stash's is still a sandwich joint on Wood Ave. just east of Rt. 1 in Linden.

Goodman's is also in Berkeley Heights! Wild!

You've got me beat by a little, Charlotte, I don't remember those Elizabeth bakeries, but I sure do remember Schutt's ice cream parlor on Morris Avenue.

The New Roumanian was, naturally, a Romanian-Kosher restaurant, I believe it ws on either Clinton or Springfield Avenue. Seltzer bottles and schmaltz on the table, planked rib steak, waiters who creaked when they walked, etc. Kinda like Sammy's without the artifice.
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#23 Daniel

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 12:04 PM

It seems that most posters here are describing a place that no longer exists.. I work in a pretty rough part of town over here.. Right in the old singer building. But when i drive around and look at places like that amazing church, or the pretty park across the street from it, or I can even imagine how cute elizabeth avenue must have looked years ago, i wonder at what point in time things started to change.

#24 charlotte baker

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 01:30 PM

It seems that most posters here are describing a place that no longer exists.. I work in a pretty rough part of town over here.. Right in the old singer building. But when i drive around and look at places like that amazing church, or the pretty park across the street from it, or I can even imagine how cute elizabeth avenue must have looked years ago, i wonder at what point in time things started to change.

You're right. The Elizabeth we are nostalgic about no longer exists any more than do the places in Newark we were talking about. I left Elizabeth in the late eighties. By that time I was the last person in my garden apartment who spoke English. Drugs were being dealt not too far away. The Westminster section where I grew up was becoming seedy. There were no longer any places to shop that didn't have wire grills and security personnel on patrol. The city simply decayed and life as we knew it was gone and so were we. If I recall properly it started to happen not long after the riots in Newark. It was pretty much the same story as in many places. The affluent left because they could no longer get the goods and services to which they were accustomed, crime was on the increase etc. etc. And so it went.

#25 rlibkind

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 02:17 PM

It seems that most posters here are describing a place that no longer exists.. I work in a pretty rough part of town over here.. Right in the old singer building. But when i drive around and look at places like that amazing church, or the pretty park across the street from it, or I can even imagine how cute elizabeth avenue must have looked years ago, i wonder at what point in time things started to change.

You're right. The Elizabeth we are nostalgic about no longer exists any more than do the places in Newark we were talking about. I left Elizabeth in the late eighties. By that time I was the last person in my garden apartment who spoke English. Drugs were being dealt not too far away. The Westminster section where I grew up was becoming seedy. There were no longer any places to shop that didn't have wire grills and security personnel on patrol. The city simply decayed and life as we knew it was gone and so were we. If I recall properly it started to happen not long after the riots in Newark. It was pretty much the same story as in many places. The affluent left because they could no longer get the goods and services to which they were accustomed, crime was on the increase etc. etc. And so it went.

I certainly agree with Charlotte that the ethnic mix in Elizabeth has changed. But it's been pretty much like the changes throughout the Metropolitan area, which has seen a large increase in its Hispanic communities. In fact, more than anything else, that is what has kept Elizabeth Avenue as a lively, vibrant commercial area.

I would hardly disagree that a number of neighborhoods are not as safe or as middle class as they once were. Westminster is one. Same with much of Jersey Avenue, once a broad and stately boulevard. But there are still plenty of safe areas, and lovely ones, including those sections of Elmora north of Westfield Avenue and west of North Avenue.
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#26 John

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 05:47 PM

I went to the Newarker for parties. My elderly husband remembers Millman's and Sabin's.

About a month or so ago, I read an obituary of an elderly doctor. In the obituary it mentioned that one of his favorite things to do was go to Millman's for a hot dog. Was this a hot dog cart in the park? Does anyone remember what kind of hot dog they served? If it was a cart or wagon I'm assuming they served boiled Sabrett's. Anyone know?

I've also heard that Syd's was on Chancellor Ave. and Summit in Newark prior to 1967. Is that where the church building is now? I take Chancellor Ave. to Bergen St. to Avon Ave. to get to Best Provisions where I buy the same franks that they serve at Syd's. The best beef franks in the eastern U.S.
John the hot dog guy

#27 Taboni

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 06:27 PM

thanks for the memories rlibkind and charlotte. Elmora bagels (still the best anywhere), Snowflake bakery (mmm butterhorns... although once in a while we trekked to Wood ave in Linden to go to Buttercake) or Mother Hubbards....I forget how the landscape has changed since I grew up around there (my parents still live off Park Ave)
dbrociner do the words pappy and nooks mean anything to you? :smile:

on a side note....people always mention Tabatchnicks and Goodmans, but does anyone miss Kartzmans in Irvington as much as I do?
Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

#28 charlotte baker

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 07:48 PM

I work in Elizabeth New Jersey right by the Ikea and Outlet Mall. I have been working here for the last 5 years and have been able to explore some places during my lunch hour when i take one. I have discovered that elizabeth has wonderfull foods from all over the world. I was wondering if anyone could suggest any good places over here for lunch.

RLibkind's comment on the Elmora section still being nice ( which is true ) reminded me of a place for you to try for lunch. It's the University Diner on North Avenue right next to Kean University. Very good diner food including their matzoh ball soup.

#29 charlotte baker

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 07:54 PM

thanks for the memories rlibkind and charlotte. Elmora bagels (still the best anywhere), Snowflake bakery (mmm butterhorns... although once in a while we trekked to Wood ave in Linden to go to Buttercake) or Mother Hubbards....I forget how the landscape has changed since I grew up around there (my parents still live off Park Ave)
dbrociner do the words pappy and nooks mean anything to you? :smile:

on a side note....people always mention Tabatchnicks and Goodmans, but does anyone miss Kartzmans in Irvington as much as I do?

Pappy and nook's, if I can trust my doddering memory, was the gin mill next to Mother Hubbard's. I may have bellied up to the bar there once or twice.

And wasn't there a Kartzman's on Bergen Street in Newark?

#30 Taboni

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 08:28 PM

There was one in Newark, also on Springfield ave in Irvington if I remember correctly.....
Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!