Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Table of Contents
What’s Inside? 6
Garden of Diversity Clifton’s Remarkable Dining Options
14 Italian Delight Our City’s Charming Little Secret
18 Dining By Storm Bad Weather, Great Food
24 Nightingale Beefsteak On our Cover With samples of cuisines from across cultures and all around town, our cover offers a Taste of Clifton. Pictured from top: Kim West and her son Matt at the Midtown Grill in Downtown Clifton. Danielle Fanning and Nancy Sanchez serve at the Grande Saloon in the heart of Athenia. A Mariachi Band performs at El Mexicano in Downtown Clifton. Pizza man Gerbert Nela serves up a creation at Taste of Tuscany in Styertowne Shopping Center. Maria Bakis of Foodies in the Richfield Shopping Center. Also in Styertowne, Tom Buckley of Muscle Maker Grill. Vincenzo Calabretta of Gastronomia Riviera, a dining destination on Route 46 East, just past Burger King.
A Clifton Original
34 Hot Dog Capital, USA Rutt’s, Hot Grill, Midtown & More!
39 A Vegetarian Treat It’s Not Always About Meat
42 Restaurant Directory Names, Numbers & Addresses 16,000 Magazines
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Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Business Manager Cheryl Hawrylko Graphic Designer Ken Peterson Contributing Writers Robert Lisowsky, Tania Jachens, Carol Leonard, Philip Read, Jack DeVries, Rich DeLotto, Don Lotz
56 Sweets & Treats Carlos Armondo Sotamba & others
58 Lakeview Memories Jack DeVries on Mickey Mantle
70 Aboard The Red Napper With Skipper Richie Knapp
74 Events & Briefs Who’s Who, What’s Happening
77 Taste of Clifton Participate & Help the Boys Club
78 Veterans Affairs Help Find QM2 Alfred Aiple, Jr.
80 Birthdays & Celebrations Neighbors & Friends at Milestones
82 Thanks, Kohls Boys & Girls Club Members Win Big
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
GARDEN OF DIVERSITY Change and growth. Clifton is always evolving. By Robert Lisowsky
6 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Clifton is a growing garden of diversity. Just look aroundatthefoodmarketsandrestaurantsthathave sprung up in recent years.They really reflect this remarkableevolution. Not long ago, Corrado’s, that landmark on MainAve.,wastheapexofdiversity.Andreally,itstillholdsthattitle. What started out as a simple Italian market hasgrownintoaninternationalfoodbazaar. Cliftonwasn’talwaysallthatdiversewhenit cametofood. Sure,youcouldalwayscountongettingagreat burger, bagel, hot dog or pizza in every neighborhoodaroundtown.Youstillcan.
GARDEN OF DIVERSITY Clifton’sclassicfoodpalaceslikeTheHotGrilland Mario’swillalwaysbewithus(wehope). Butsomethingelseishappening. Just drive or walk through any of our business districtsorneighborhoodsandlookaround. Where else can you find a pirogi shop, a Mexican restaurantandagourmetnutstorenexttoeachotheron thesameblock? It’srightacrossfromourofficeinDowntownClifton andit’sjustthestartofourveryowninternationalfood courthere. Continue toward Passaic on Main Ave. near WashingtonAve. and you’ll findAji Limon. Peruvian specialtieswithanAsianandSpanishaccentinacomfortablyelegantyetsomehowcasualatmosphere. Top left, at Downtown Clifton's 'International Food Court', Mike Duch of Homemade Pirogi, Sam Bittar of Castle of Nuts with Marcial R. Zaldivar and Francisco 'Pacho" Palacio of El Mexicano. Bottom left, Mykola Lutsak is among the team that mans the cheese and olive island at Corrado’s. Bottom right at Toros, with locations on Hazel St. and on Main St. in South Paterson, Ismail Ozer, Ihsan Altungok and Fernando Gutilerrez serve up authentic and tasty Turkish cuisine.
One of the favorite dishes here is Pescado a Lo Macho,afishfilletservedinacreamyseafoodsauce. Across the street at the famous Midtown Grill, you canfeastonaclassicTexasWeinerortwoorthree,and getsomegyrosorGreeksaladtogo. That’sjustdowntown. Check out the Lakeview section where restaurants likeJaimito’sonLexingtonAve.arethriving. Thissmallestablishmentactuallyservesupablendof ChineseandPeruvianfood. NottoofarawayonLakeviewAve.,ConSaboraPeru offersseveraldifferenttypesofCevichewhichisbasicallyrawseafoodmarinatedforhoursinthejuiceofcitrusfruits-lemons,orangesandprincipallylimes. And there’s Portuguese. Why go to Newark’s IronboundsectionwhenyoucancomeonovertoCrooks Ave.inClifton? The Portuguese Tavern features huge portions of mouthwateringdelightslikefiletmignonandbabylobstertails. And there’s no shortage of Polish delis and Eastern EuropeankitchensintheCliftonarea. Ifyoucravekielbasa,youwon’twanttopassupthe popularPoloniaMeatMarketonVanHoutenAve.
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
GARDEN OF DIVERSITY
European delights abound. Karpaty Deli’s Maria Szumniak on Third Ave. presents a tray of kielbasa, smoked ham and kabanosa. Above: Hungarian Meat Center’s Andrew Jozsa and his mom, Marika with holiday hams.
8 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
for a wide variety of Polish ethnic foods.ForHolidayhams,homestyle smoked sausage, poppyseeds, walnuts and lekvar, head to the other sideoftown. The Hungarian Meat Center on Parker Ave. is actually in Passaic, just across the border from Botany Village. Here you’ll discover store made salami,solena, whichisthefatback of a pig and perfect on a grill, as wellassmokedbaconandsausages andotherhungarianfoods. FortraditionalIrishfare,headup to the Harp n Bard on Lakeview Ave.Theplacehasbeenaroundfor decades and serves up homemade favorites like Shepherd’s pie, and cornedbeef&cabbage. Wash it down with a Guinness, andyou’reset. Another favorite Irish watering holeisTheShannonRoseatClifton Commons. Hereabigbasketoffish‘nchips startswithwholefilletsofcodand fresh beer batter.Top it off with maltvinegarandsalttosatisfyyour Gaeliccraving. Cliftonisthe11thlargestmunicipalityinNewJerseywithapopulationof84,136accordingtothe2010 census.Butyoudon’tneedstatistics to tell you Clifton is growing into one of the most diverse cities in NewJersey. Clifton’spopulationisrepresentedbyarainbowofnationalitiesand ethnicities. Walkaroundyourneighborhood, and you may very well bump into someone who is Italian, Irish, Mexican, Turkish, Afghan, Syrian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, German, Jordanian, Pakistani, Indian, Korean or
3 Issues Resolved in 1 Convenient Surgery
There are about 12,000 podiatrists in the United States, according to the Department of Labor, and Clifton podiatrist Thomas Graziano is one of only six who hold both a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.
Dr. Thomas Graziano recently explained how three painful issues were addressed in one operation. “This patient presented with a bunion, crossover toe and hammertoes. These conditions were repaired with one operation and the patient was able to walk the same day of the surgery.”
As a foot and ankle specialist, my main goal for all my patients is to find caring solutions that last a lifetime. I won't just treat the symptom; I'll strive to correct the problem... Permanently. When you combine effective treatments with my genuine concern for your well-being, that's a powerful combination. -Thomas A. Graziano, MD, DPM, FACFAS Clifton Merchant • August 2013
GARDEN OF DIVERSITY NativeAmerican.Didweleaveanybodyout?Nodoubt. Lotsofdifferentpeoplelivingclosetogether-that’s theperfectrecipeforreallygoodfood. Someoftoday’sfoodculturehereinCliftoncanbe traced back to two of our neighbors, Paterson and Passaic. Paterson is home to some of the state’s largest Dominican,Peruvian,ArabicandTurkishpopulations. And Passaic has a huge concentration of MexicanAmericans. Theseethnicinfluencesfromneighboringtownstend toflowacrosstheborderintoClifton,blendinginwith thebestofourrestaurants. Theresultisafoodlover’sparadise. Greatfoodissomuchapartofthecultureofourcommunitywhetherweenjoyitatarestaurantordiscoverit atthemarketoronthefarm. AndCliftonisfertilegroundforfarmland. Sofertile,thatwaybackin1684,Dutchsettlerswere attracted to the land, built homes here and established familyfarms. ThelegacyoftheDutchsettlerslivesontothisvery day. In fact, one of Clifton’s older and more charming
neighborhoods is historic Dutch Hill which stretches approximatelyfromCliftonAve.tothePassaicborder betweenPaulisonandMainAves. WhattheDutchstarteddoingwiththelandcenturies agoiscarriedonbyanewgenerationoffarmersinthe 21stcentury. RichfieldFarmsonVanHoutenAve.isaboutasoldas the city of Clifton itself; five acres of fresh tomatoes, stringbeans,peppersandotherdeliciousproducerightin theheartoftown. Ploch’sFarmonGroveSt.proudlyboastsoneofthe largestfreshfruitandvegetablestandsinthecounty. OwnerRudyPlochtellsus“it’sallfresh,that’swhat peoplewant,theywantfresh.Ifwerunoutofcorn,we go pick some more. People will wait.They know it’s freshwhentheyseethestemcrackoffthecorn.” Plochsaystheyhaveitall“atoz”arugulatozucchini on the 15-acre farm. Not to mention freshly picked peaches,tomatoes,corn,peppersandbeets. Andwhileyou’rethere,treatyourselftosomehomemadeGelotti’sicecreamandItalianices.Ploch’sFarm isopennowsixdaysaweek.SocomemeetRudy,his twodaughtersDonnaandChristinaandsisterLin.
Proudly Serving Assembly District 34... Clifton, Orange, East Orange & Montclair
Support the good work of St. Peter’s Haven. To donate food items, call 973-546-3406.
Sheila Y. Oliver
Speaker of New Jersey
15-33 Halsted St., Suite 202 East Orange, NJ 07018 973-395-1166 • AswOliver@njleg.org paid for by Committee to Elect Sheila Oliver paid for by Committee to Elect Sheila Oliver
10 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
GARDEN OF DIVERSITY Ploch says he’s amazed that “people can’tbelievethisplaceisinClifton.” Believe it. The farm has been around since 1867, sloping all the way up from Grove St. to Garret Mountain, surviving development,droughtsanddeluges. Ploch(picturedononeofhistractorsand belowinafilephotowithsometastyJersey tomatoes) says his crops withstood the recentheatwave“becausewehadtoconstantlywatertheplantsorthey’dburn.”As aresultalotofthemcameupearly.Buthe says“everythingislookinggoodnow.” Andthingsarelookingprettygoodjust acrossthestreetfromPloch’swhereyou’ll findCityGreenatSchultheisFarmforyour pick of collards, cucumbers, squash and greenbeansallgrownonfivelushacresof fertilesoil. Thelandwasownedandfarmedbythe Schultheisfamilyformorethanacentury. The land was up for sale a few years ago andpurchasedbythecity.TodayitismaintainedbyCityGreen,anon-profitthatpromotesurbanfarmingonlargetractsofopen landandunderusedspaces,whilealsoprovidingaworkingsettingtogivelocalchildrenhands-ongardeningexperience. Greatfarms,anexplosionofinternationalfoodmarkets,andfinerestaurantsrepresenting diverse cultures from across the planet.Cliftonisadiningdestination. It’sallrighthere.Solet’seat!
You Don’t Have to Wait Until Friday to Eat Pirogies !!! Come to The Famous & Original (from Lexington Ave)...
HOMEMADE PIROGI Call for Hours
1295 Main Ave • Downtown Clifton Across from DeLuxe Cleaners
Varieties • Potatoes & Cheese • Potato • Sauerkraut • Pot Cheese • Mushroom • Pot Cheese & Potato • Broccoli • Spinach • Pizza • Apple • Prune • Cabbage • Apricot & Cheese • Broccoli & Spinach
NEW! Great for Parties... Hot, Homemade Empanadas! 12 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Health Care that Revolves Around You...
A National Model for Care Coordination Immedicenter is now a Patient-Centered Medical Home, or PCMH. To achieve this national recognition, we met a number of standards, including having a dedicated team of care coordinators pictured below. Along with our medical providers, they will help make sure you get the care you need, at the right Dr. Michael Basista, Immedicenter Medical Director time and place. This leads to safer, higher quality of care, more empowered patients and a renewed relationship between physician and patient. We are proud of our national recognition and welcome the opportunity to get to tell you more about PCMH during your next visit.
Our care coordinators, from left, Jessica DeVoogt, Doreen Sestilio, Idina Merz, Wanda Ruiz and Maria Squirlock.
A Family Practice for Wellness, Urgent Care for Ills, Chills & Spills
1355 Broad St., Clifton • 973-778-5566 • Monday - Friday 8am to 9pm • Saturday and Sunday 8am to 5pm • Walk-in Medical Care • Weekday Appointments Available
557 Broad St., Bloomfield • 973-680-8300 • Monday - Friday 8am to 8pm • Saturdays 9am to 5pm. Clifton Merchant • August 2013
A LITTLE ITALY IN CLIFTON Intimate setting, classic cuisine.
By Robert Lisowsky
The trinity of cooking is celery, carrots and onions. Those are among the first ingredients Vincenzo Calabretta, pictured right, puts into his succulent creations at GastronomiaRiviera. What comes next is the magic from Calabria,Italy:recipes,handeddowngenerations,whenhelearnedcookingback homewithhismomandgrandmother. Calabrettarecalledhischildhood: “Mygrandmalivedinthesamehouse. Shehadonthewindowandbalconyallthe spicesandshewouldsay‘you take a little of this and a little of that.’ Shegavemethebackground tocookeggplant.Evenafter50years,Icancooklike shetoldme.Shegavemethatincentiveinthekitchen.” Since1983,CalabrettahasbeenservingupthatculinaryalchemyathisPiagetAve.establishment Withseatingsqueezedinfor36andseeminglynonstop to go orders, Gastronomia Riviera is a landmark andafavoritedininglocationformanysixdaysaweek. Greatsoupsincoolermonths,simpleyetcomplexand delicious salads these days, the restaurant’s menu is filledwithmanyfavorites. Among the most popular dishes—chicken marengo madewithbalsamicvinegar,garlicandoregano;classic penneallavodkaandCalabretta’sRigatoniDucalewith groundsausageinalightmarinarasauce.Everymeal, 14 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
both lunch and dinner, sit down or take out, is served withhomemadebreadsticksandbruschetta.Anddon’t forgetthehomemadecannoli,it’sonthehouse. Ask Calabretta to describe his favorite dish and he doesnothavetoconsideroptions. “Grilledcalamariandshrimpservedontopofbroccoliwrapandcannolinibeans,”Hesmilesandexplains why.“That’sunbelievable.Yougetprotein.Thebeans. Thevegetables.Thefish.” Calabrettais60yearsoldbuthastheenergyandstaminaofamuchyoungerman.Perhapsitisatestamentto hisstyleofcookingandthegoodingredientsheuses. This hard-working, soft-spoken chef with an infectious smile runs a loyal staff of eight—five in the kitchen,threeinthediningroom.
With Great Pride, We Recognize the Clifton Office’s Highest Achievers. May 2013 Award Winners
Tania Hernandez Faria
Agent of the Month
June 2013 Award Winners
Tania Hernandez Faria
Agent of the Month
James “Jim” Steccato
Here are some of our current homes on the market....
CLIFTON This lovely, 3BR Ranch offers a modern kitchen, FDR, hd flrs, updated bathroom, deck & 1 car garage. MLS: 3057782 $319,000
CLIFTON Beautifully maintained & landscaped! This Allwood 2 Fam offers 5BRs, 2FBAs, 2HBAs, bsmt & 2 car gar. MLS: 3057445 $410,900
CLIFTON This spacious 2009 renovated, Richfield Cape offers 3BRs, new EIK, FDR, C/A, full fin bsmt & 1 car garage. MLS: 3048145 $320,000
Tony Sanchez, Manager
If you’re interested in a career in real estate, call me at 973-779-1900(office) 973-801-9497(cell) firstname.lastname@example.org Clifton Merchant • August 2013
CLIFTON DINING Whilecustomerssitpracticallyelbowtoelbowinthe tinydiningroom,theycanseeCalabrettaandhiskitchen staff through the portholes of the dual kitchen doors. Behindthosedoors,Calabrettaandhisstaffmovequickly,jugglingordersandplatingdishes. Itseemsmostofthepatronshavebeencominghere foryears.Afewtimesanight,whenhegetsabreather fromthekitchen,Calabrettacomesouttogreethiscustomers,manyofwhomheknowsbyname. Calabrettaworkssixdaysaweek.Butwhenhecan catchthatrarebreak,hisotherpassionisfishing. AtthebeginningofJuly,heactuallyclosedtherestaurant for a week. He headed south, to the Jersey Shore wherehewasonthepartyboatParamount.Calabretta wonthepoolbycatchingthelargestfish,asixpoundsea bass.Buthegenerouslygaveawayhiscatchtoafriend. CalabrettagrewupinCalabria,aregioninsouthern Italy,southofNaples,locatedatthe“toe”oftheItalian peninsula. AfterleavingItaly,CalabrettawoundupintheAlps whereheworkedasacookandawaiterataskiresort. Hedescribeshisexperienceasayoungman. “ThenIstartedcookingschoolinSwitzerlandatnight while working during the day in the kitchen at the ski resort.Iwas17,18,19whenIwasinculinaryschool.I was making good money at the ski resort, because the tipswereverygood.” The tips must have been good because among the clientele Calabretta served were jet setters, ski instructorsandevencelebritieslikeOmarSharif. Buttoday,somefourdecadeslaterandlonganicon ontheculinaryscenehereinNorthJersey,perhapsitis Calabretta who is the mild mannered celebrity in the small36-seatrestaurantthatisGastronomiaRiviera.
16 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Vincenzo, pictured on previous page, is supported by a great staff, led by Leonora Henoy.
Socheckitout. CalabrettasaystoavoidthebigcrowdsonFridayor Saturdaynights,gettherealittleearlyoralittlelate.Not toolatethough,heclosesat9:30.Andifthereareno seatsinthehouse,there’salwaystake-out. GastronomiaRivieraisalsoopenforlunchTuesday through Saturday with three-course specials including pasta,chickenandfish. Cashorpersonalchecksonly.Nocreditcards. ComesayciaoandenjoyafantasticItaliandinner.
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140 Arlington Ave. • 9 7 3 . 4 7 3 . 4 8 3 0 AffordableHomeServicesnj.com Clifton Merchant • August 2013
DINING BY STORM
CLIFTON DINING Angelo Gencarenlli (below, right) is back on Market St in his namesake dining establishment, serving up much more than delicious pies. He is pictured with his key pizza man, Alvaro Morante.
Dining lessons learned during Hurricane Sandy.
By Irene Jarosewich
Day four after Hurricane Sandy andstillwehadno lights, no heat, and no hot water.Things were getting crankyinourhouse.Living on Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and flatbread sandwiches byday,myhusbandlitlogs in our fireplace by night where we baked potatoes and grilled hotdogs that had been salvaged from ourdefrostingfridge. While kind of an interestingchallengeatfirst,by Thursdayeveningtheroutinewasgettingold. Forblocksaroundus,Cliftonwasdark.AsIsatin mycar,chargingmycellphone,aneighborwalkedby and said that lights were on near Van Houten and CliftonAves.Igrabbedmyhusband.Wewentlooking forcivilization. Withunwashedhairtiedupinarubber-bandanda three-daystubbleonmyhusband’sface,thetwoofus wereaprettysorry-lookingpair.Thenweopenedthe door to the Grande Saloon and whoosh! Look Toto, we’renotinKansasanymore! Weweregreetedwithwarmthandlightandahundredhappypeople.ItwastotallyGrande!Nodoubtwe lookedshell-shockedbecausethebartenderimmediately waved us in from the door with a cheerful “Looks likeyoucoulduseadrink.Whatcanwegetyou?!”At 18 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
thebar,peoplemaderoomforus.Theylaughedaswe stared,mesmerized,bytheTVscreen-thefirstwe’d seeninmorethan72hours. TheGrandeSaloonisaneighborhoodpubthatduringearlyeveningsandweekenddaysisalsogreatfor families.Opensevendaysaweek,from11:30amuntil 3am,theAtheniaeateryisjustoneofthenicestplaces withthefriendliestpeople.Yougotheretoeat,butreally,yougotheretohang. WhetherI’mtherewithmyhusbandforafreshand trulyice-colddraftandaquickbitewhilewewatcha game,orwithagirlfriendforalongmealofappetizers, saladandgossip,it’salwaysagreattime. The menu is sophisticated pub food, with some Italianfavoritesandthereareaquiteafewstandouts. My husband is partial to the Prime Rib Dip
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Rain or shine, whether it’s stormy or not, breakfast is served all day long at Clifton’s IHOP. From left, Mercedes Garcia, owner Kevin O’Neil, Maria Rendfrey and Rodney Peña.
sandwich, while I enjoy their signature entree, the AngusbeefGrandeBurgerwithavarietyofgenerous toppings. The sweet potato fries are good here, not gummyorovercookedasinmanyplaces. AndtrytheirGreekSaladwithshrimpandachilled glassofwhitewineonehoteveningthissummer.The Grande Saloon offers daily specials – BBQ ribs one recentTuesday. Atthisrestaurantyoucanrelax,enjoythefood,and enjoytheatmosphere.ACliftonlandmarkforalmost40 years, the Grande Saloon is serious when they say “comeonin,welovetohaveyou.” InBotanyVillage,ThePolishDelicacyHouse,while notarestaurant,offersawonderfulrotatingselectionof fresh, home-cooked meals for take-out Monday throughSaturdayuntil8pmatveryreasonableprices. Women-runandowned,friendlyladiesfromPoland andUkrainewillhelpyouchoosebetweenthebreaded and delicately pan-fried sea bass with sides, or the groundbeefandvealkotlety,meatpattiesthatcanbe topped with mushroom sauce and served with fluffy kliuski,eggnoodles. Slavicclassicssuchascabbagerollsintomatosauce andwarmpierogiestoppedwithgentlybrownedonions can also be brought back to your kitchen table when 20 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
youwanthealthyhomecooking,withnodesiretocook ityourself. Smoked meats and sausages are available for the grill, as well as large marinated porcini mushroom in jarsandmorethanadozentypesofpickles. Trywarmingathicksliceoftheirhome-madecountry-styleporkpate,servewithcrustybread,alittlebit of whole grain mustard, crispy cornichons and red wine.Munchonsomehazelnut-chocolatewafercookiesfordesert.Delicious! ItwasduringatriptothePolishDelicacyHousethat myshoppingbuddyandInoticedNochesdeColombia near the front of Botany Village Square. On impulse, wedecidedtostopinfordinner.Excellentdecision! I’m a big fan of Peruvian ceviche, the Salvadoran pupusa,theGuatemalantamale,evensopademondongo–atripe-soupspecialtythatmostNorthAmericans probablywouldn’ttouch. WiththehelpofNochesdeColombia,IwasintroducedtosomemarvelousColombiandishes. TheNochesdeColombiainCliftonisoneofseverallocationsofthisrestaurantinNorthJersey,ownedby the Velez family who came to the United States 17 yearsago. TheyopenedtheirfirstlocationinEnglewood;
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
CLIFTON DINING BotanyVillageopenedinMay2011. TheownersstrivetocreateanauthenticColombian atmosphere with a decor of terra cotta and tiles, dark wood and gleaming brass accents, a menu of Colombianfavoritesandwarmwaitstaffthatishelpful, butnotintrusive. Colombiancuisine,Iwasinformedbyareallygreat waiterwhowentoutofhiswaytomakesurethatour firstColombianmealwasmemorable,isdiversedueto theclimateandgeography. However,ahallmarkofColombiancuisineismeat – low-heat, slow-roasted meats, high-heat grilled meats,pan-friedordeep-fried,aswellasseafoodinall forms. If you’re a fan of onions and garlic, this is your place,butasidefromthesidessuchastheflatcornmeal cakearepa(withorwithoutcheese)andthefriedplantains(sweetorgreen),thelargestpartofaColombian dishisusuallyeithermeat,seafoodoreggs. The portion sizes at Noches de Colombia are very generousandthepricesveryreasonable.Thespaceis expansive, and during several visits, we saw young couples, large families, groups of friends and felt the comfortable vibe of a restaurant that is cozy and relaxed. If you like airy, deep-fried empanadas, you’ll like theplateofappetizersatNochesdeColombia. Unlikebakedempanadas,whicharemoreforgiving ofmistakes,friedempanadasaretricky-ifthedoughis too thick, or the oil not hot enough or the filling too soggy–theycanturnoutlikeheavyblobs. They should be made on the small side, fried in clean,hotoilwithwell-drainedfilling–allofwhichis more work, but results in a better bite. The ones at NochesdeColombiawerehotandtasty. ThoughIdon’tsuggestonlyeatingfriedfoods,the friedcalamaridishisalsoverygood–lightbatter,not globbydough,generousringsthatwerenottoothick. Thecoldshrimpsaladwithcilantroandgarlicinthe dressingwasfreshandyummy. At Noches de Colombia, an appetizer and a salad couldbedinner,buttheportionsaremeanttobeshared, socomewithfriendsandgetacoupleofdishesforthe table. Thelomoconchampinones,roastedporkloinwitha creamy, buttery mushroom sauce would be a good 22 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
choice, so would the mar y mar, a seafood dish of flounderandshrimp. The bandeja paisa, the Colombian country plate, gives you a sample of a variety of meats, including a tastysausageandgrilledsteakstrips. On Market Street, Angelo Gencarelli is back. The 30-year-old Gencarelli opened Angelo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant inAllwood when he was 22, sold it three years ago when he was 27, then this past February, bought back his old restaurant on Market Street.And folksareglad! AtAngelo’s,you’llgettheperfectslice. Let’sbeclear:there’salot,alot,ofjustbadpizzaout thereintheworld,andevenmorepiesthatarejustplain mediocre. And sadly, people eat the stuff. So when you find someonewhoknowshowtobakegreatcrustandpreparetasty,thicksauce,thenyousticktothemlikeglue. Angelocarestomakefoodgood,anditshows. Nocuttingcornershere. Theeggplantrollatinislicewithfreshricottaistodie for, and for thin crust fans, the fresh basil on the Margharitagivesofftheperfectscent–notscorched, notraw,justright. The real challenge, however, is the Grandma, or Nona,pizza–it’sjustcrust,sauceandcheeseinreverse order. Messupanyofthosesimpleelementsandtheslice is a bust.AtAngelo’s, the crust was thin, tender and crispy–nosmallfeat–andthelighthintofgarlicfrom the thick sauce was the first thing to hit you. Inhale. Takeabite.Enjoy. Five years ago, in a Clifton-wide pizza contest, AngelowonforhisGrandmaslice.He’dprobablywin again. Besidespizza,Angelo’soffersdozensofothergreat Italianspecialties,suchasvealpiccata,chickenmarsala and linguine with clam sauce. Updated versions of paninisandwrapsareonthemenuandhandsdown,the eggplantparmigianawrapisanotherwinner. Sobeyourbestfriend.Nexttimeyoufeelthemidweek slump creeping up, when you’re oh-so tired of microwave frozen dinners, rotisserie chicken and sixinch subs, when the thought of cooking makes you wanttoreachforthechips,makethewiserchoice. Gooutanddineabout.Andtrysomeplacenew...
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
The Beefsteak, created in Clifton.
By Jack DeVries
Think food in Philadelphia and you’re thinking cheese steaks. Deep dish pizza? Try the original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. But if it’s a beefsteak dinner you crave, there’s no better place to enjoy it than in the town where it was invented—Clifton, New Jersey. That’s right—that sumptuous meal of sliced beef tenderloin draped over a piece of French bread and bathed in margarine was conceived here, the city where Mustangs roam and Routes 3 and 46 drone. Clifton’s gourmet contribution to the world is served nearly the exact same way the late Hap Nightingale and his two friends conceived the beefsteak. Since 1938, three generations of Nightingales have fed happy eaters—including politicians like President John F. Kennedy, comedians like George Jessel and Rodney Dangerfield, and athletes like Jack Dempsey, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. Nightingale beefsteaks have been enjoyed at the Statue of Liberty, the old Madison Square Garden, and Giants Stadium. They’ve also fed honored guests at Drumthwacket, the Governor’s mansion in Princeton. When The New York Times celebrated its 100-year anniversary, the paper called Hap because no other meal would do. Col. Jacob Ruppert, owner of the Yankees during Babe Ruth’s time, loved hosting Nightingale beefsteaks in his brewery. 24 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
And each year, the Clifton caterers feed New York’s Finest and Bravest at St. Margaret’s Church in the Bronx—an event that took on special significance after September 11, 2001. “There’s no real secret to what we do,” says Hap’s son Bob Nightingale, who headed the business from 1968 to 1997. “We’re consistent—people know they’re going get quality meat, good service, and as much as they want.” His son Rob, who now runs the operation, agrees, adding, “We always try to have a Nightingale at every affair—either my dad, my mom or myself. Of course, when there’re five different events in a night, that’s impossible. But we’re always there to answer the phone, something people appreciate.” Ready, Set, Eat Admit it—there’s nothing better than surrendering your stomach at a beefsteak dinner. Watch the pros work during the next affair. They ignore the salad and ingest only few French fries, just enough to get the old mouth muscles warmed up. When the first tray of bread and meat appears, it’s game on. Eaters scoop up three or four open-faced beef tenderloin sandwiches and place them on the plate in
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Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
CLIFTON DINING front of them. The rookies eat the bread; the experienced beefsteakers stack theirs. They know a beefsteak dinner isn’t a sprint, it’s a munching marathon, and bread takes up important stomach room. By the sixth tray of filets, the rookies are done, but the pros are just getting started. Beefsteak trays that once seemed scarce now rocket out of the kitchen. The veteran eaters struggle to keep up. Stacks of sliced bread rise like Garret Mountain on their plates, and a few quietly loosen their belts under the table. In the end, the beefsteak always wins—no eater can survive the continuous onslaught of trays filled with delicious filets. If they’re lucky and incredibly hungry, eaters might get a nod of respect from the veteran waiters and waitresses serving From left Ted Amendola, Mike Moretti and Hap Nightingale. the meal. The nods don’t come easy— ing them in an old firehouse (now a private residence), many of them have been working beefsteaks for six houses down on W. 2nd St.” decades, like Clifton’s Tom Gunderman, whose father Gatherings of 25 people began enjoying the first also worked for the Nightingales. beefsteaks and demand soon increased. After Jorlett’s “Probably the best compliment we ever got,” says death, Hap began cooking for larger groups, while Bob Nightingale, “was when a woman asked for a bag Force continued catering to small gatherings. to take some beefsteak home. I told her, ‘Ma’am, it’s as “My father,” says Nightingale, “had the foresight to much as you can eat here, we can’t send people home see beefsteaks could be meals for 500 rather than 25. with food.’ She replied, ‘You don’t understand—I can’t After he raised money to buy a car, he’d tie a grille to eat anymore, but I want more.’” its roof and ride out to do jobs.” Hap’s reputation spread throughout North Jersey. One of a Kind Because one of his employees was Ray Johnson, brothHap Nightingale began in the food business as an er of Yankees third baseman Billy Johnson, he catered A&P store manager. He next opened his own deli and many affairs for Bronx Bombers throughout the forties meat market across the street from his house, inside a and fifties. brick building at the corner of West 2nd St. and 6th Ave. Sports, politics, and beefsteaks proved a natural (now the site of a grocery). He also owned a soda discombination. Hap and his crew cooked filets at the tributorship, which included Pepsi Cola, for all of Paterson Armory for 1,800 Passaic County Democrats, Bergen and Passaic Counties. then topped themselves by serving their beef tender“Then the Depression came,” says Bob Nightingale, loins to over 4,200 people at the Jumping Brook “and he lost it all.” County Club in Hamilton N.J. on August 21, 1952. Hap was working for Curtiss Wright when his luck “It was a Democratic fundraiser for Adlai Stevenson turned. who was running for president,” says Nightingale. “An “A janitor in School No. 4, Mr. Joseph Jorlett, got unknown named Jack Kennedy gave the keynote the idea for the beefsteak,” says Nightingale. “He, speech.” along with my father and Mr. Ken Force, started serv26 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Some of the waite staff in a photo dating back to the 1970’s. While those on the left are unidentified, the fourth in from left is a young Tom Gunderman who still works there. Right from him is Benny Caputo, Sidney Pruiksma and Bill Pizzoli.
Another big event was a beefsteak dinner commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Hindenburg disaster, held in a hanger at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. “There were over 1,000 people there,” says Nightingale, “including some of the survivors brought over from Germany.” Though Bob Nightingale believes his family’s success is due to sticking to his father’s original concept, he admits it wasn’t easy for Hap to change with the times. “He was tough,” he laughs. “For years, he wouldn’t put ketchup out at the beefsteak. We’d tell him the people ask for it. He’d say, ‘Let them bring it themselves.’ Gradually, he relented. But even today, we’ll show up at a beefsteak and people bring their own bottle—saying, ‘You never used to have ketchup.’ “My father was also a man who loved his business. Even when he physically wasn’t able to do the work the last two years of his life, he stayed close to it, answering the phone—he just loved talking to people. He died in 1982 at age 82.” “At least a few times a week,” says Rob Nightingale, “people tell me they knew my grandfather. Others even say they talked to him last week.” 28 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Prep Time Rob Nightingale’s week begins at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx, a trip he makes two or three times a week. There, he’ll pick up about 15 cases of beef tenderloins, weighing 78 lbs. a case. After he brings them back to Clifton, father and son trim the fat off the meat, making it ready to grill. “When my father started,” says Bob Nightingale, “he dealt directly with meat producers in the Midwest. We’d buy it frozen. Today, nothing we buy is frozen, it’s all fresh.” What hasn’t changed is how the meat’s prepared. The 18-inch beef tenderloins are roasted on long metal grilles in the driveway of 204 West 2nd Street, next to School No. 4. As the flavored smoke drifts up, it ignites taste buds for blocks around. To not conflict with classes at School No. 4, no meat is prepared before 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. “Since 1945,” says Bob Nightingale, “we’ve cooked steaks on hard wood charcoal—I think that’s what makes all the difference. It creates such a tremendous heat that it sears the meat on the outside, holding the flavor inside.”
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Serving 1,800 Democrats at the Paterson Armory, circa 1955.
Rob adds, “Another trick is seasoning the meat on the grille. The meat goes on for 20 minutes, is placed in a metal pot, then transported and hand sliced at the job. It then goes into the warm margarine, onto the bread, and out to the tables.” Competitors looking for trade secrets would be highly disappointed. “We season the meat with regular Morton Salt and pepper,” says Rob Nightingale, “and buy our wood charcoal from Corrado’s—that’s it. The margarine comes from a company called Happy Boy. It’s really pretty simple.” As the meat finishes cooking, it’s placed in large metal pots covered with foil to transport to that night’s jobs. After that’s done, the Nightingales and their crew meet in the basement office decorated with Green Bay Packers memorabilia to review last minute instructions. Working for the Nightingales has been a great experience for many. Past workers have included Passaic County Superior Court Judge Joseph Scancarella, former Clifton Mayor and State Assemblyman Jerry 30 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Zecker, City Clerk Dick Moran, and former Mustang quarterbacks Bob Holly and Roger Fardin. Other notables, like Scott Oosdyk, Mike Novak, and Kevin Harrington, have also served Nightingale beefsteaks. “Working for Nightingale,” says Zecker, “was the greatest part-time job I ever had. The money was great, you got a beefsteak dinner, and you saw top entertainment at many of those affairs. You also worked with your friends from high school so it was like a big fraternity. “Many of the Nightingale waiters went on to great careers because they learned what a work ethic was after working at those beefsteaks. Every time I go to a Nightingale beefsteak, I go into the kitchen and ask if they need a substitute for the night.” Other celebrities who’ve worn the Nightingale apron include Tom Vigorito, a standout running back at DePaul High School who later played with the Miami Dolphins, and current NFL Commissioner Paul Taglibue, who was also best man at Bob Nightingale’s wedding.
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
CLIFTON DINING “Bob Knight, now a State Farm agent in Virginia,” says Bob Nightingale, “worked for us. He’s a great friend who helped me when I was getting into the business when my father decided to retire—which he never really did.” During busy times, the Nightingales work up to an 80-hour week, starting at 8 am and finishing at 1 am. “But when it’s slow,” says Rob Nightingale, “two hours can feel like five.” Rob Nightingale, Packers QB Brett Farve and Bob Nightingale. Saluting the Competition While many businesses are wary of The Nightingales are quick to salute their competitheir competitors, the Nightingales appreciate their feltors’ innovations. “When Mike Baskinger started doing low beefsteak entrepreneurs. beefsteaks,” Bob Nightingale says, “he added a lot of “Besides us,” says Bob Nightingale, “Baskinger’s clever ideas. He started using French bread instead of and Giresi’s are known for their beefsteaks, and each white bread, which we adopted as well. Giresi introdoes an excellent job. We want them to do well— duced pasta as a course before the beefsteak. It seems we there’s business for everybody. We also want people’s all have our niche and developed our own following.” experience with any beefsteak to be a positive one— Another caterer and friend, Joe DeLiberto the former that helps all of us. If they aren’t satisfied, they may owner of of Cousins Gourmet Catering of Paterson, has never attend another one.” nothing but admiration for the Nightingales.
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CLIFTON DINING “You won’t find better people,” says DeLiberto, who worked for the Nightingales from 1979 to 1986. “Bob is an icon—a true stand-up guy. He’s never said no to me when I’ve needed help. Often, I’ll need steaks or he’ll need chickens, and we’ll send them right over to each other. In all the years, we’ve never exchanged a dime—that’s the kind of relationship we have.” DeLiberto also learned important lessons while working for the Nightingales. “I remember cooking the filets during the blizzard of 1983,” he says. “Back then, they used the low grilles that stood about 18 inches. We had three jobs that night, in Boonton, Montville, and Passaic. Bob made sure we got to every one. When we brought the food into the hall in Passaic, the people gave us a standing ovation.” Regarding the Nightingales’ explanation of doing business, DeLiberto says, “They say it’s simple, but it’s really not. They make money by doing incredible volume, not by charging high prices. As for the actual beefsteaks, I don’t think anybody comes close.” As his family’s done for over six decades, Rob Nightingale looks forward to feeding Clifton and the surrounding area for many years to come. His favorite
customers are the ones who enjoy his food the most. “The Clifton Fire Department,” he says, “those guys can put it away. It seems anyone who knows what a beefsteak is can really eat. When people ask for a knife, we know we’re in for a slow night.” There are many local individuals who enjoy Nightingale beefsteaks. “Mayor Jimmy Anzaldi likes our food,” says Bob Nightingale, “and former Councilman Ed Welsh seems to really enjoy the beefsteaks. The late Passaic County Surrogate Bill Bate was another big fan—but he ate the filets with no margarine.” The Nightingales’ average price for a beefsteak is around $20 a person, giving organizations room in the price for fundraising. Depending on cause —as they did with many September 11 benefits they catered—the Nightingales will adjust their price to help. “When I was in college in Maryland,” says Rob, “I tried to explain beefsteaks to the kids down there. They’d ask, ‘You’re gonna make a living doing that?’ Even in South Jersey, they have no conception of a beefsteak—it’s completely regional to North Jersey.” And a true Clifton original.
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Everyone knows that Texas Weiners have nothing to do with Texas. So let’s attempt to set the record straight right from the start. It’s all about Jersey, always has been. Over a decade ago, a folklorist from the Library of Congress came to our state to find out what puts the “Texas” in this New Jersey phenomenon. Researchers traced the origins of the Texas Weiner back to a Greek hot dog vendor in Paterson in the 1920s.
Kim West with her son Matt and Dave Santosuosso with his son Patrick, surround Peter Doris at the Hot Grill.
34 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
CLIFTON DINING The gentleman was experimenting with various chili-type sauces to serve on his hot dogs. He came up with something resembling a Greek spaghetti sauce, containing a concoction of tomatoes, meat and an aromatic combination of spices. The Texas Weiner was born. (OK, for the spelling police out there, we know there’s more than one way to spell ‘weiner.’ We decided to go with the word as it appears on the menu at The Hot Grill.) The name of the Greek gentleman and the naming of his new hot dog the ‘Hot Texas Weiner’ remain an undocumented mystery. Here’s what some historians think: trying to give an exotic and unique name to his new and somewhat spicy creation, the Greek hot dog vendor might have chosen the Texas designation to give his hot dog an ‘image.’ After all, the new dog was characterized by a sauce whose name ‘chili’ is associated with Western, Latino and cowboy cultures. That’s just a theory, but it’s a pretty good one. The researchers for the Library of Congress ended up following their story to Clifton and onto Lexington Ave.
They cited The Hot Grill as perhaps the most authentic of our region’s hot Texas Weiner restaurants. The competition says no way. We’ll see what they have to offer later. So what makes Clifton arguably the hot dog capital of America? The answer is simple. Great dogs and the great places where people gather to satisfy their craving for “two all the way, two” every day and every night of the week. The Hot Grill opened on October 13, 1961 on Lexington Ave., on the site of Gabe’s Drive Inn, an old ice cream and hot dog stand which the former owner, the colorful Gabe Maroon, hoped to convert into a used car lot. But Maroon could not secure the proper city permits so he reluctantly opened a hot dog stand instead. Soon thereafter, he sold it to four partners—two Italians, current owners Carmen La Mendola and Dominic Sportelli, and two Greeks, Nick Doris and Peter Leonidas, both now deceased—who changed the name of the hot dog stand to The Hot Grill. “It was Friday the 13th,” Sportelli said of the opening, over five decades ago when the landmark
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CLIFTON DINING restaurant, with an iconic restaurant was nothing take-out counter and bar more than a dusty roadside catering to generations of stand with a few stools. hot dog lovers not only “People thought we were from Clifton. Rutt’s is a crazy but we went on and dining destination for peobecame an icon in Clifton ple from across the region. and home of the best Texas The place used to look Weiners.” over the Passaic River but So what makes it the now offers a ‘scenic’ view best? Sportelli says part of of Route 21. No matter. the answer is the tube Rutt’s unmistakable brick steaks, a blend of veal and Hot Grill owners Carmen La Mendola facade and the classic neon pork made by Sabrett, and Dominic Sportelli at right. sign towering over the which are then deep-fried restaurant beckons the hungry, weary traveler. in vegetable oil. It’s a favorite for fans who want to duck in before or The dogs are covered with mustard, onions diced after a game or concert at the Meadowlands. extra small and heaped high and topped with The Hot Rutt’s is an eclectic institution, drawing families with Grill’s signature chili sauce that has a kick but is not terchildren, hardcore bikers and weekend warriors from the ribly hot. take out area out to the parking lot on bike nights, and car Since opening in 1961, The Hot Grill has fed genernights. Bill Chrisafinis, brother of co-owner Costis, was ations of hungry Cliftonites, serving 4000 or more hot working the busy back counter on a Wednesday bike Texas Weiners on an average Saturday and as much as night with his sister and a crew of servers. 100 gallons of sauce. A steady stream of hundreds walked in and out, One of The Hot Grill’s famous competitors is the ordering ‘rippers,’ burgers, fries and beer. They were legendary, some might argue world famous, Rutt’s Hut served up fast and with a thank you. down in Delawanna. Bill calls Rutt’s “a one in a zillion place. You won’t After all, this timeless, rustic landmark on River Rd. find anything like this anywhere. Every day somebody has starred on national television. walks in this place for the first time; not once a day, a Rutt’s Hut has been featured on the PBS special A couple of times a day. That’s a testament to this estabHot Dog Program, numerous Food Network shows and lishment and our family. Eighty five years...” the Travel Channel's Deep-Fried Paradise. It is also Johnny Karagiorgis, son of co-owner Nick, added listed in the book 1000 Places to See in the USA and “you don’t make the top two in the country by being Canada Before You Die. bad at what you do, so obviously we’re doing someRutt’s Hut has also gotten rave reviews in the nationthing right. It’s a family business, and it will always al press. stay as one family.” And the restaurant is indeed famiUSA Today recently ranked Rutt’s #2 on its list of ly-friendly. People travel for miles to eat in comfort America’s 35 best hot dogs calling the trademark ‘ripinside Rutt’s spacious wood panelled dining room or in per’ with relish one of the country’s most delicious the older bar area. franks. Rutt’s, of course, is home of the classic ‘ripper’ The original roadside stand opened in 1928 by Royal which refers to the unique deep frying process that ‘Abe’ Rutt and his wife, Anna. The family sold the restaurant in 1974. causes the hot dog casings to crack and split. For the Four partners currently own the place: Nicholas meek of heart, there’s the ‘in-and-outer,’ a dog which is Karagiorgis, George Petropoulakis, George Sakellaris lightly fried but really terrific. The strong of stomach and Costis Chrisafinis. might consider a couple of ‘cremators’ which are basiOver the decades, Rutt’s has evolved into a thriving cally incinerated in the deep fryer to a tasty black. 36 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
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Fish are an ideal first pet. They make no noise, don’t smell, are relatively cheap to feed and there’s no need for worrying when you go away. They also teach your kids about responsibility, love, life and death. While we have many starter aqarium kits and supplies, we also expanded our fish department with many varieties and supplies. Stop down and find out more.
www.corradosmarket.com Saturdays & Sundays 1 to 4 pm in Clifton, we have many pets available for adoption. We are proud to have a partner in this program in Zani’s Furry Friends. Info at zanisfurryfriends.org.
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Hermit crabs are an interesting. Although you can’t walk them or play fetch they are great for kids as their friends probably won’t have one. They are the perfect show and tell subject for school. They are easy to feed and look after so the kids can do it by themselves. All in all, a perfect pick for the whole family. Our staff can help you get started or provide more details. Clifton Merchant • August 2013
CLIFTON DINING Unlike The Hot Grill, there is no Texas Weiner sauce here. If you want chili, with or without beans, you have to order it and pay extra. The same goes for onions. But you’ll find complimentary toppings like spicy brown mustard within reach. Also on the house, Rutt’s famously awesome homemade relish. It’s a secret recipe that is impossible to pass up. The menu goes beyond hot dogs. Try the pork roll sandwiches, with some corn on the cob and onion rings on the side and bread pudding for dessert. Full dinner options include pork chops and fried chicken. Clifton’s hot dog palaces come in all shapes, sizes and flavors like the shiny New Corral. When the original Corral opened its doors back in the 1940s on Hazel St., visitors could enjoy hot Texas Weiners and pay pennies to ride ponies in the backyard. That’s how this Clifton landmark got its name. Since then, owners George Karagiannis and Jimmy Karabetsos reinvented their establishment, adding dining space for more than 100 people and expanding the menu. What was once a small hot dog stand now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from 5:30 am to 11 pm seven days a week. “We’ve made it bigger, better and busier but we never forget that the customer is the boss,” says George. “They keep the doors open for us.” “We make everything homemade, from the soups to the desserts, right here,” adds Jimmy. “Our food is good and plenty and our prices are always reasonable.” Of course, the New Corral’s Texas Weiners are a must-have along with some fries with gravy. Popular selections also include the cheeseburger platter, chicken finger appetizers, gyros, buffalo wings, onion rings and all sorts of soups and salads. Wash it all down with one of the New Corral’s flavorful shakes. 38 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
At Rutt’s Hut, it’s all about family. Bill Chrisafinis, CHS 1987, his sister Eva, CHS 1984 and their cousin Johnny Karagioris, who graduated St. Mary’s HS, 1993.
A classic shot of the Corral and below George Karagiannis and Jimmy Karabetsos in front of today’s New Corral.
In 1999, former Midtown Grill owners Tommy and John Foukas handing off hot dogs and Texas Weiner secret recipes to Jerry Dimitratos and Jimmy Doris.
George and Jimmy remodeled the restaurant twice once in 1967, adding booths and stools for 60. A more recent expansion seats more than 150 people. No tour of the hot dog capital of America would be complete without visiting Downtown Clifton’s famous Midtown Grill, also known as the home of the Texas Weiner. Midtown’s famous chili sauce recipe was developed by the original owners, Tommy and John Foukas, the two brothers who started Midtown Grill back in 1959. While you’ll still find the same great fare that customers have come to expect for decades, Midtown’s young new owners have expanded the menu and given the place a facelift. The changes began in 1998, when Gerasimo (Jerry) Dimitratos and Dimitrious (Jimmy) Doris took over the Main Ave. landmark. Gyros, chicken, salads, and desserts have been added to an expanded menu. Hours of operation have been lengthened to include breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the menu’s brightest stars is the gyro. “Not too many restaurants in the area have the gyro,” says Jerry Dimitratos. “We’re the only ones around who have it and who make it fresh. All our food is fresh, all the time.”
Our summer intern, Amy Grimm, enjoys a vegetarian gyro at the Midtown Grill in Downtown Clifton.
In a city with a bounty of beef, poultry, pork and lamb, what’s a vegetarian to do? It’s easy, just head on down to Clifton’s famous Midtown Grill. Amy Grimm, Clifton Merchant Magazine’s summer intern, did just that. Amy avoids meat. But when she walked into the Midtown Grill, she enjoyed quite a feast without the beast. No meat? No problem. Midtown whipped together a vegetarian version of their popular gyro: a fresh pita filled with lettuce, tomato, onion, grapeleaves, feta cheese and yogurt sauce. Hold the lamb. Midtown also serves vegetarian wraps and panini, spinach pirogi, a variety of salads, Greek and otherwise, loads of diet delights without the meat and a delicious homemade spinach pie. Clifton Merchant • August 2013
CLIFTON DINING But the gyro is only one of the secrets to Midtown Grill’s success. “We wanted it to look better, so we put neon signs outside and in the windows to attract more attention,” added Jimmy Doris. The change has helped their already thriving business. But it’s really the buzz from their good food that attracts the crowds. During the hours of noon and 2 pm, they usually serve more than 100 customers on any given day. Of course, their trademark lunch and dinner favorites include Midtown’s famous Texas Weiners and french fries with gravy and cheese. But Jimmy says “people like to come back and try lots of different things.” Freshly made Greek salads have become popular. Then there’s chefs salad, tossed salad and greens with grilled chicken. Chicken sandwiches and platters have been getting raves, too. “I like working hard and serving the people the best that I can,” says Jimmy, “plus we try to make everything fast.” At Shake N Grill, which is next door to Corrado’s winemaking store on Let’s shake things up now with the Getty Ave., Frank Corradino, Jr. offers some hot dog options but presents a new kid on the block as we continue our grilled chicken wrap while Nicole Nunez serves up a smoothie. tour of the hot dog capital of America. He’s 34 year old Frank Corradino, Jr. Newark back in 1999. Nine years later, he bought the who happens to own Shake N Grill behind Corrado’s, Papaya King franchise to Corrado’s and converted the next to Planet Fitness on Getty Ave. brand into what is now Shake N Grill which is famous Talk about a wunderkind. Corradino was just 20 for its hot dogs and tropical drinks. So how does he years old, when he opened up Frank’s Franks in compete with The Hot Grill? (We just had to ask.)
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“This is a 100 percent all-beef hot dog, grilled, not deep-fried. It snaps when you bite into it.” Frank proudly adds “it’s a hot dog all the way. But we don’t call them Texas Weiners.” Rather then compete, Corradino walks his own path to being original. “We have 12 different variations of hot dogs: small dogs with cole slaw and sweet pickles, spicy Italian with peppers, onions, jalapenos, ketchup and cheese. And a traditional New York style dog with sauerkraut and red onions.” Then there’s the Marvelous Dog with cheese and curly fries served right on top of the hot dog. The Colombian-style hot dog features ketchup, mayo, raw onion, cheese and curly fries. And there’s the Down South Dog with cole slaw and chili. A huge favorite at Shake N Grill is their cheese steaks. As Frank describes them: “we have three different variations: Jersey-style with American cheese, peppers, onions and ketchup; Philly-style with peppers, onions and cheese wiz; and Cali-style with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mayo.” Shake N Grill’s “healthy choice” options include a variety of salads, grilled chicken wraps and grilled chicken caesar salad. And how about those famous smoothies and shakes? The smoothies contain whole fresh fruits mixed with the juice of sherbet for that cold, creamy texture. Corradino is especially proud of the variety of his shakes, “a lot of places have the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry coming out of the machines, but we have hard-scooped vanilla, blending in with 13 different flavor combinations such as Oreo, peanut butter banana, and Cap’n Crunch.” Shake N Grill is open seven days a week. They’re even open for breakfast for a quick and satisfying bagel, omelette or Taylor ham, egg and cheese. The Hot Grill, Rutt’s Hut, The New Corral, The Midtown Grill and Shake N Grill: each in a class of its own, as different from each other as can be. Yet these fine restaurants all have the most important thing in common: great eats. So get out there and take your own tour of the hot dog capital of America and taste Clifton’s best for yourself. You’ll be back for more. And we guarantee this: you won’t find these weiners in Texas. Clifton Merchant • August 2013
White Castle has been a Clifton dining landmark at Main and Piaget since, well, we’re not sure. At right, William White, James Garner and Woodrow Garner in 1940 serving up White Castle burgers, which as you may note by the sign, were then just a nickel. Photo courtesy of Walter N. Pruiksma.
Stretching Across Clion From Fine to Casual Dining Options Compiled by Intern Amy Grimm and Staff
Clifton is home to many cultures and that is reflected in the diverse restaurants and food markets around town. Tried as we did to list as much as we could, here are the names of many establishments, which literally run the alphabet from A to Z, from most every neighborhood. And we didn’t forget dessert. Following the list of restaurants is more names and addresses to Clifton’s array of sweets and treats. So enjoy. For those who will notice their favorite establishment is not listed or is published with an error, we apologize. Would you kindly write us a note with the corrected info? And please be sure to include your name and phone. Mail to email@example.com. Thanks. 42 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Al Cavaliere Ristorante 247 Piaget Ave. • 973-928-3766 Alexus Steakhouse and Tavern 955 Valley Road • 973-746-6600 Allwood Diner 913 Allwood Road • 973-365-2575 Ameti’s Pizzeria 1162 Broad St. • 973-272-6080 Aji Limon 1239 Main Ave. • 973-272-3660 Angelo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant 72 Market St. • 973-777-5599 Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza Promenade Shops • 973-471-2625
Restaurant Directory Applebee’s 375 New Jersey 3 • 973-471-6161
Barilari’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria 755 Van Houten Ave. • 973-928-4500 Beirut Restaurant 1543 Main Ave. • 973-955-2311
Bogey’s Sports Pub 103 Valley Road • 973-523-4653
Boston Market 1342 Clifton Ave. • 973-778-7879 Bruno's Pizzeria Clifton Plaza, Rt. 46 • 973-473-3339
Owners of Aji Limon, Clari and Edgardo Aranda, which is near Washington Ave. on Main in Downtown Clifton
Botany Village Pizza 266 Parker Ave. • 973-546-4163
Buco Ristorante 953 Allwood Rd. • 973-779-3500
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Castle of Gourmet Nuts 1291 Main Ave. • 973-340-8888
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Chengdu 46 1105 Route 46 • 973-777-8855 Chevy’s Fresh Mex 365 Route 3 • 973-777-6277
Alex Anicito and Matt Hunkele at Angelo's Pizzeria & Restuarant on Market St.
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
Restaurant Directory Christian’s Steak & Grill 24 Outwater Ln. • 973-772-3313 China Garden Restaurant 306 Main Ave. • 973-773-7633 China Inn Restaurant 261 Clifton Ave. • 973-772-5552 Chipotle Mexican Grill 380 Route 3 • 973-916-0040 Clif Tavern 605 Clifton Ave. • 973-365-2060 Clifton Buffet 79 Ackerman Ave. • 973-772-8438 Jose Espinoza from Hot Bagels Abroad on Clifton Ave. across from city hall serves up lunch and dinner.
Clifton Grill & Deli 1193 Main Ave. • 973-928-5922 Clifton Thai Restaurant 239 Parker Ave. • 973-253-1400 Corner Bakery Café 850 Route 3 • 973-272-1422 Dalto Ristorante Italiano 14 Market St. • 973-778-4533 D'Columbia Latin Cafe & Restaurant 1055 Main Ave. • 973-779-4947 Djordan Burek 223 Parker Ave. • 973-513-9050 El Dorado Restaurant and Lounge 255 Parker Ave. 973-246-1856 El Fogon Restaurant 1025 Main Ave. • 973-272-2675 El Mexicano Restaurant and Lounge 1293 Main Ave. • 973-546-2348
44 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Restaurant Directory El Pincon Familar Restaurant 213 Parker Ave. 973-772-0886 Empanada Spanish Grill 8 Market St. â€¢ 973-772-8202 Euro Cafe 211 Dayton Ave. 973-859-0088 European Grill & BBQ Restaurant 224 Parker Ave. â€¢ 973-928-1680 Foodies Cafe 1348 Clifton Ave. â€¢ 973-773-3062 George's Coffee Shop 227 Parker Ave. â€¢ 973-546-0920 Giovanniâ€™s Grill and Pizzeria 570 Clifton Ave. â€¢ 973-470-0500 Carlos Rodriguez and Benjamin Rodrigues at the Portuguese Tavern on Crooks Ave.
Grande Saloon 940 Van Houten Ave. â€¢ 973-472-5207
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Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Restaurant Directory Grimaldi’s Pizzeria 1296 Van Houten Ave. • 973-777-0061
Jamie’s Cigar Bar and Restaurant 915 Bloomfield Ave. • 973-779-8596
Happy Garden 1154 Main Ave. • 973-614-0601
Joe’s Crab Shack 405 Allwood Road • 973-777-5114
The Hearth Charcoal Restaurant 1116 Hwy 46 • 973-473-6444
Joiyl’s Deli and Café 1070 Main Ave. • 973-470-0087
Homemade Pirogi 1295 Main Ave. • 973-340-0340
Junior's Pizza 1281 Main Ave. • 973-340-3900
Hot Bagels Abroad 859 Clifton Ave. • 973-591-0661
Kamil’s Restaurant 1489 Main Ave. • 973-772-1972
Hot Grill 669 Lexington Ave. • 973-772-6000
Karpaty Deli 457 Clifton Ave. • 973-546-4659
IHOP 680 Route 3 • 973-471-7717
La Piazza Pizzeria Ristorante 150 7th St. • 973-478-3050
It’s Greek To Me 852 Route 3 • 973-594-1777
La Riviera Gastronomia 429 Piaget Ave. • 973-772-9099
Jaimito’s Chinese Restaurant 389 Lexington Ave. • 973-546-2549
La Riviera Trattoria 421 Piaget Ave. • 973-478-4181 Scott Nela at center, who is the co-owner of Taste of Tuscany in Styertowne Shopping Center with his cousin Fred Nela (not pictured), stands with chefs Gerbert, Kledi and Bori.
48 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Gerry Tuohy at his “American Original” Grande Saloon Restaurant on Van Houten Ave. At Buco on Allwood Rd, Giovanni Romagna serves Gnocchi Terracina Napolitano, with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, basil and pesto.
Leandro’s Pizzeria 397 Piaget Ave. • 973-253-6030
Neil's Pizzeria & Restaurant 57 Harding Ave. • 973-546-8889
Lefty’s Pizzeria 457 Clifton Ave. • 973-767-2867
New Corral 499 Hazel St. • 973-772-0941
Mario’s Restaurant 710 Van Houten Ave. • 973-777-1559
New Taste of China 655 Van Houten Ave. • 973-777-3380
Master Pizza Deli & Caterer 1326 Main Ave. • 973-772-4333
Noches de Columbia 25 Lake Ave. • 973-928-4553
Matthew’s Italian Restaurant 1131 Bloomfield Ave. • 973-928-4300
Osaka Sushi 116 Market St. • 973-815-0801
Mirage Restaurant 590 Lexington Ave. • 973-928-6002
Perico’s Bar and Grill 709 Van Houten Ave. • 973-928-2240
Moe’s Southwest Grill 852 Route 3 • 973-773-1700
Plaza Bagel & Deli 850 Van Houten Ave. • 973-777-2094
Mountainside Inn 509 Hazel St. • 973-772-1333
Portuguese Tavern 507 Crooks Ave. • 973-772-9703
Muscle Maker Grill 1043 Bloomfield Ave. • 862-899-7111
Pub 46 1081 Route 46 • 973-473-8184
50 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers 265 Route 3 • 973-470-9222 Billy Mocek the owner of Troops Subs on Van Houten Ave.
Riverside Bar & Grill 2 South Parkway • 973-859-0777 Rutt’s Hut 417 River Road • 973-779-8615 San Remo Pizzeria 1102 Main Ave. • 973-779-5885 Sergio’s Bistro 327 Lakeview Ave. • 973-772-1655 Scotto’s Pizza 58 Main Ave. • 973-667-5697 Shake N Grill 600 Getty Ave. • 973-340-1100
52 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Taste of Tuscany 1051 Bloomfield Ave. • 973-916-0700 TGI Fridays 826 Route 3 • 973-778-1828 The Famous Midtown Grill 1218 Main Ave. • 973-546-0121 The Season’s Fine Chinese Cuisine 1061 Bloomfield Ave. • 973-777-8073 Tick Tock Diner 281 Allwood Road • 973-777-0511
Stephanie Pose, Paulison Ave. Shoprite Registered Dietition can you help plan healthy dining options.
Shannon Rose Pubs 98 Kingsland Road • 973-284-0200 Sharkey’s Wings & Raw Bar 545 Highland Ave. • 973-473-0713 Shots Sports Lounge 1168 Broad St. • 973-928-3610 Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Tapas 70 Kingsland Road • 973-661-2435 Stew Leonard’s Wines of Clifton 345 Allwood Road • 973-859-7700 Subway 1043 Bloomfield Ave. • 973-685-9992 4 Village Square. East • 973-478-1656 261 Clifton Ave. • 973-478-4400 Sunny Buffet 166 Main Ave. • 973-471-8018 54 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Toros Restaurant 489 Hazel St. • 973-772-8032 Troops Subs 1212 Van Houten Ave. • 973-365-1544 Uno Chicago Grill 426 Route 3 • 973-574-1303 Villa Roma Pizzeria 849 Clifton Ave. • 973-472-4833 Villa Pizzeria 290 Lakeview Ave. • 973-546-5707 White Castle 1341 Main Ave. • 973-772-0335 Yesterday’s Bar and Grill 70 Main Ave. • 973-235-1766 Zen Sushi 433 Piaget Ave. • 973-253-7788 Zinburger Wine and Burger Bar 850 Route 3 • 973-272-1492
66 Years of Serving Clifton 573 Clifton Ave • 973-773-1737
Back in 1947, Ray Zang sr. was repairing cars on the same Clifton Avenue corner where Ray jr. is running the business today. As always, you know you can trust the Zang name for service, quality and reliability. Stop in to find out more about what they do…
• Factory Maintenance • Brakes • Shocks • Exhaust Systems • AAA approved • Tune up • ASE certified • Diagnostics Work
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
At the Lakeview Bakery, cake decorator Mariso Tamayo in center with bread bakers and donut makers Kleber V. Condo and Luis Sotamba.
Arnold Bakery Thrift Store 106 Market St. • 973-778-1074
Costco Bakery 20 Bridewell Pl. • 973-779-8715
Baskin Robbins 1053 Bloomfield Ave. • 973-473-9631
Cupcake Café Promenade Shops • 973-594-1711
Beyti Sweet Shop & Bakery 60 Madison Ave. • 973-458-0067
Cups Frozen Yogurt Promenade Shops • 973-272-1990
Brother’s Quality Bakery of Allwood 70 Market St. • 973-483-1467 Carvel 750 Van Houten Ave. • 973-773-4737 Cold Rush 1376 Clifton Ave. • 973-928-6600 Corrado’s Family Affair Bakery 1578 Main Ave. • 973-340-0628 56 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Dayton Homemade Chocolates 110 Market St. • 973-574-0444 Dunkin Donuts 817 Clifton Ave. • 973-365-0158 531 Van Houten Ave. • 973-365-0158 1372 Clifton Ave. • 973-773-2130 1209 Main Ave. • 973-340-8245 1578 Main Ave. • 973-546-9719 1053 Bloomfield Ave. • 973-473-9631
Restaurant Directory Marc’s Cheese Cake 53 Valley Rd. • 973-684-8511 Metro Candy Apple 132 Getty Ave. • 973-772-0837 Mr. Cupcakes 1216 Van Houten Ave. • 973-859-0180 Natural Homemade Ice Cream 243 Parker Ave. • 973-772-5040
A Cupcake Wars TV veteran and genre innovator: Johnny ‘Mr. Cupcakes’ Manganiotis and his dad John.
Scoops 353 Crooks Ave. • 973-772-3332
Hornitos Colombian Bakery 1092 Main Ave. • 973-272-8899
Starbucks 360 Route 3 • 973-473-2560 160 Kingsland Rd. • 973-779-6697
Lakeview Bakery 308 Lakeview Ave. • 973-772-3837
Styertowne Bakery 1039 Bloomfield Ave • 973-777-6193
Macondo Panaderia Bakery Inc 1152 Main Ave. • 973-458-1983
Sweet Lane Cupcakes 116 Market St. • 973-894-3689
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
MY LIFE WITH THE MICK By Jack DeVries
This is a chapter from a memoir by Jack DeVries describing his life in Clifton. DeVries lived at 204 Trenton Ave. in Lakeview, a place never far from his thoughts. The book also examines DeVries’ lifelong love of sports, fatherhood and other topics at the halftime point of life, age 50. Heroes matter because they show us what’s possible. This is why I loved my first hero… I was a kid who needed a larger-than-life role model. Though I lived in a neighborhood full of tough squirrelshooting hombres on Trenton Ave., none gave me a glimpse of what was possible beyond Clifton. Even Mr. Breuer, the retired professional wrestler next door, was more of a tomato-growing and tanning machine than a hero. I loved my dad. I’d say he was my hero if asked, but he confused the hell out of me, especially what he talked about at the supper table – things like the “X-15 Hercules Project at Plant II” or other stuff to keep the Russians at bay. As soon as he said, “inertial guidance systems,” I’d tune out. I wished he were a pilot instead of an engineer. I needed a living, breathing hero, and not a fake one 58 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
like Superman. At age four, I found my hero on my TV screen – a blonde man from Commerce, Oklahoma, playing centerfield for the New York Yankees. During the summer of 1961, Mickey Mantle was locked in a battle with teammate Roger Maris to wrest the coveted “most home runs in season” from the immortal and much dead Babe Ruth. That was lost on me. I was four and didn’t know much about baseball except that you hit a ball, threw a ball and caught a ball. But I did know that name – that melodious, magnificent, marvelous name – words that flowed out of people’s mouths as if they were singing a song. “Mic-key Man-tell.” That summer – as Maris broke Babe’s record with 61 homers and the Mick smacked 54 – Mantle’s name blared from our kitchen radio, and I’d hear it said often
when men gathered. And, most importantly, my mother would speak it when the Yankees were on TV. “Look, Jackie,” she’d say pointing at our small black and white TV screen. “There’s Mic-key Man-tell!” When Mantle struck-out, which he did often, her lips would purse together and her eyes grow dark. When he did something wonderful, like swing his bat and run around the bases, she would become giddy and happy and hug me. Mantle’s home runs never lasted long. The Mick didn’t embarrass pitchers like today’s sluggers, ones who stop and admire their blasts that disappear into the sky. Instead, the Mick would put his head down and run around the bases quickly, like he The people who made me fans of the Yankees and the Mick, my mom was ashamed for slowing down the game. and Mr. Adolph Stickleberger. His wife Mary is to the far left. The Mick was Robert Redford meets as a box of rocks. He earned $100,000 a year for playBrad Pitt in a shirt full of muscles, complete with the ing a kid’s game, 10 times what my father made for helpwonderful No. 7 on his back. He was faster than any ing rockets fly. player that ever lived (though slowing down when I But the old man couldn’t keep me away from the Mick. began watching) and hit home runs longer than any man He was on the back of Post cereal boxes, on TV schilling – including the Babe. for Maypo, and photographed in Life and Look magazines. I had a baseball doll named Mickey. I had a stuffed I’d cut out the photos and glue them in a scrapbook. My dog named Mickey. I wanted to be named Mickey. dad didn’t allow me to tape them to my bedroom walls. This hero worship drove my old man crazy. Mantle “It’ll ruin the paint!” he’d growl. More likely, he didn’t was a Yankee – in my dad’s eyes, one of the lowest forms want Mantle’s mug staring at him everyday. of existence on the planet. The Yankees were arrogant Trying to keep Mickey away was a lost cause. Nearly jerks, full of money and superstars, and always beating every October when the Yankees were in the World up on his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. Series, my mother followed him with a nun’s devotion, Mickey Mantle, my father believed, was a slow-talkme at her side. All the old man could do was root against ing hick who started bar fights in night clubs and dumb the Yankees in stony silence.
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
Lakeview Memories “They’re coming back!” I yelled. Then… things changed. In 1964, on a beautiful afterMr. Stickleberger sat with a glazed look, watching a kid noon full of golden autumn sunshine, Mickey’s Yankees worship fool’s gold. Big comebacks are never built on were locked in a World Series battle against the St. Louis solo homers; instead they’re made of walks, lucky breaks, Cardinals. It had come down to Game 7 – the Series tied singles, doubles, shaky relief pitchers, and maybe… just with three wins for each team. I’d raced home from St. maybe… one big dramatic game-winning blast. Brendan’s, running the entire five blocks, knowing I’d With the 6’1” Gibson faltering on the mound, New see the Yankees win. York’s No. 2 hitter Bobby Richardson stood at the plate. As I hit my street, Mr. Stickleberger, a retired Clifton The slugging Maris was on-deck, followed by the Mick. Assistant Fire Chief and fierce squirrel hunter who lived If little Bobby, who would hit a gaudy .406 for the at the corner of Trenton Ave and East Second St., called Series, could get on, we had a chance to tie the game to me. He had rolled his TV onto his screened-in front with one swing. porch to watch the game. I saw a bit of hope flick“Doesn’t look good, er in Mr. Stickleberger’s Jackie,” he said, as I entered old gray eyes. his porch. Gibson threw… and Incredibly, our Yanks Bobby swung, lifting a were losing, 7-3, despite pop-up to shortstop Dal Mickey’s best efforts. He’d Maxvill. When the ball setslammed a three-run homer tled into Maxvill’s glove, in the sixth for the Yankees’ the Cardinals were champiruns, but New York’s rookie ons. Mr. Stickleberger said pitcher Mel Stottlemyre quietly, “Not this year, couldn’t stop the Cards. To Jackie.” make matters worse, pitchNo, not this year. Not ing for St. Louis was the again for a long time. intimidating, glowering Bob It would be 13 years Gibson. before the Yankees would Playing in St. Louis’s win again. When that popSportsman’s Park, the up landed, the Yankee Yankees were dressed – not Dynasty, nearly as old as in their sharp pinstripes – Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in 1961. Mr. Stickleberger himself, but in drab road-gray uniwas dead. A drunken binge of 29 American League penforms. The cheers coming from the tiny TV speaker nants and 20 World Series victories starting in 1921 was were only for the Redbirds, and their fans smelled blood. over – the likes of which won’t be seen again. With each out, Mr. Stickleberger, who followed the After the 1964 Series loss, New York fired manager Yanks since Ruth, became more negative, full of tongue Yogi Berra and replaced him with – of all people – the clicks, sighs and head shakes – an ancient man resigned Cards’ manager, Johnny Keane. He was an outsider, not to the inevitable. “It’s not to be this year,” he whispered. a real Yankee like Yogi. My father loved it… the “Not to be.” Yankees were panicking, he probably thought, feeding But me – with my unshakeable belief in the mighty on themselves. Yankees and Mantle – thought somehow, someway, New Then it got worse. York would come back and win. In 1965, the Yanks finished in sixth place with a 75In the top of the ninth with one out, the Yankees’ Clete 85 record, 26 games out of first. The next year, New Boyer, their sweet fielding third baseman, belted a home York fell to 69-89, good for an unthinkable, unimaginrun, making it 7-4. After Johnny Blanchard struck-out, able, last place finish. In 1967, they jumped from the light-hitting, harmonica-playing Phil Linz smacked his American League basement to ninth. second homer of the Series to close it to 7-5. 60 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
By age 23, I’d left Mickey and the game behind for Springsteen. That’s me on the right with my brothers David, Bill and Chris.
Boy-oh-boy, did the Yankees fans complain! Generations of rooters who had never known the losing misery that infected places like Washington, Kansas City and Cleveland were indignant and thoroughly annoyed. Then they’d spot me – a kid with a Yankees cap, glove and box of baseball cards – and ask: “What’s wrong with YOUR Yankees?” My Yankees? This was MY fault? Well, they sure weren’t THEIR Yankees, the winning ballplayers they grew up with. My Uncles Sal and Fred told me what an absolute no-good collection of no-talents they were – how they couldn’t hold a candle to Berra, Phil Rizzuto and their Sicilian saint, Joe DiMaggio. “Your Yankees stink,” they said in case I forgot. After losses, the old man would secretly smirk. He’d try to get me interested in the rising New York Mets, the new National League team that replaced his Dodgers, and their stars Tom Seaver and Ron Swoboda.
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
Lakeview Memories I didn’t care about the Mets. I still had the Mick. Because each time he gimped to the plate – every time public address announcer Bob Sheppard would intone with his voice of God: “Now batting, Number 7, Mic-key Man-tell” – there was a chance to see greatness. My devotion grew. Each spring, I’d make secret a pilgrimage to the candy store on Lakeview Ave., 20 blocks away, a walk that took hours. With money carefully saved all winter, I’d plunk down crumpled dollar bills to buy the Yankees yearbook at the only place in Clifton that sold it. The yearbook was a glossy magazine with stats, ads and photos, and always a two-page color spread featuring the world’s best player: Mickey Charles Mantle. I’d care for that yearbook like a Gutenberg Bible and memorize Mickey’s career stats – his Triple Crown season in 1956 (leading the league in batting average, homers and RBIs) and his all-time career best .365 season batting mark in 1957. In the off-season, I read, the Mick lived in the big buckin’ bronco state of Texas, not a small cruddy one like New Jersey. There was always a photo of him with his family – his beautiful blonde wife Merlyn and their four sons, all looking like the Mick. Some nights while looking at the yearbook in bed, I was angry that I couldn’t be part of that family. The Mantle boys were lucky to have Mick for a father, not an electrical engineer like mine.
The best times were when Mick would hit a home run on Saturday because the next day in the New York Daily News, which my father purchased religiously on Sundays (along with a dozen white-powdered jelly doughnuts from Home Bakery on Crooks Ave.), was filled with words describing Mantle’s blast into the usually empty Yankee Stadium seats. God bless those wonderful sportswriters – the ones who gave plenty of ink to Mick’s home runs, now less-frequent as the years went on. Sure, they let us know how inept “my Yankees” were, but they also worshipped Mantle with their words. I devoured every adjective about my hero, happily sprinkling the paper with jelly doughnut dust. The writers also wrote about Mick’s injuries. Before each game, the trainers would tape each of his legs from ankle to his groin to keep him playing. Every muscle, every bone pained the Mick, they wrote, but he never complained. Mickey suffered in silence – a wounded warrior, still dangerous, still lethal, still lifting his crappy team on his shoulders… representing the power and glory that once was the Yankees of New York. I swooned. Reading these accounts of him playing in pain, I admired him more. But the writers didn’t cover the other stuff going on in Mick’s life – the late nights, the alcohol, the girls
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Lakeview Memories and all the pressure of having to be Mic-key Man-tell. Rumors my father heard, ones he kept from me, were true – of little kids told to go the hell away after waving a paper and pen in Mick’s face. He was only a damn baseball player and people, especially ones like me, made him into a god. The writers kept his behavior secret to guard the Mick’s legend – as they had done with Ruth and others. They kept things quiet to protect their readers who loved him, giving us a living, breathing superhero without a costume and cape. For a kid like me, it was enough. My family never made the trip to Yankee Stadium to see him, but it was almost better that way (the new 1965 Chevy station wagon stayed safely in Clifton). Mantle lived on my TV screen, in newspapers, and through the words of radio broadcasters like his former teammate Rizzuto, who loved him as we did. I’d close my eyes and listen, and he’d come to life. Stuck on Trenton Ave., there were two ways to close to my hero: collect his Topps baseball card or chase his autograph through the mail. First the card… Each summer, I’d search for Mickey’s image, the Holy Grail of cardboard. Inevitably, my quest was in vain. The nickel pack of ten cards – wrapped in wax paper with a stick of bubble gum that tasted like candy cardboard and rotted teeth on contact – never yielded a Mantle. Instead, I found cards of Cesar Tovar, Dick Groat, Bobby Allison, and other no-name players that Jersey kids didn’t care about. The only Yankee cards I got were ones of a chubby relief pitcher named Hal Reniff and the unforgettably named Dooley Womack. I had a zillion of those guys,
but never one of Mantle. In fact, I remember walking three blocks to Danny Raymond’s house just to see a Mantle card. Danny wouldn’t let us hold it. “See with your eyes, not you hands,” he warned. In 1968, I decided, by any means necessary, that I’d own a Mantle baseball card. My will was fueled by the economic engine of my Herald-News paper route. With my considerable weekly fortune – earned from my customers’ nickel and dime tips – I had $4-5 to buy cards every week, more than enough to uncover a Mantle card. It was a great plan… until the old man caught wind of it. “You’re spending all your money on baseball cards?” he asked, seeing my shoebox begin to fill. “What’s wrong with you? You need to save that money and put it in the bank. A pack or two a week is all you should be buying, not 20!” Then the clincher: “I never blew money on cards when I was a kid. After the Depression, we couldn’t spend money on stuff like baseball cards.” Damn it. The freakin’ Depression again – he had me. I had the guilt of the thirties weighing on my shoulders each time I walked into John’s Candy Store or Sanitary Super Market where a Mantle card might be waiting. Instead of finding a Mantle card by May, I ran through June and July buying five packs a week and finding no Mickeys. But I had a 100 Hal Reniffs. The Topps 1968 set was one of the ugliest ever produced. The players photos were placed over (and I’m not kidding about this) a burlap bag-looking background. Even the great Willie Mays looked like he was ready for a sack race. By August, I was desperate. With the rioting in the streets of Chicago and hippies preaching revolution, I said the hell with the old man and the Depression, and set
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off to Sanitary Super Market with $5 in my pocket and my little brother Billy at my side. After buying 100 packs of cards and stuffing them all into my Herald-News paper sack, we found a shady curb on East Second St., far from our house and began to open them. Halfway through, the packs yielded no Mantles but some stars, like Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew, and “Bob” Clemente (Topps Americanized “Roberto” for us). We also had piles of no-names, including Jesus Alou, which always felt sacrilegious to read. “Who would name their kid Jee-sus?” we’d think, not yet knowing the Spanish pronunciation of “Hay-zeus.” Sister Mary Concepta would die if she saw that Jesus card, we imagined, and giggled about leaving it on her desk. By the 83rd pack, Billy’s cheeks looked like a chipmunk’s packed with 40 sticks of awful bubblegum (four cavities had already formed in his mouth). I’d also given him 10 Hal Reniffs because I couldn’t bear looking at the fat pitcher anymore. Then, inside the 84th pack, between Clay Dalrymple and Johnny Briggs, was a pristine, untouched and unstained by gum, 1968 Topps Mickey Mantle card. The prize was mine. The card’s photo showed Mick batting from the left side with his quiet, confident look. On the back of his card, No. 280 in the set, were his season stats, beginning
in Independence, Mo., in 1949; through Joplin Mo., in 1948; and up to the Yanks (with a stop in Kansas City) in 1951. When the card was printed, Mantle had already hit 518 homers (he’d end his career with 536). The back of the card read “Mickey holds a World Series mark of 18 homers!” Damn straight – it’s a record that still stands. My treasure would be Mantle’s last card as an active player. By the end of the 1968 season, he was done. He’d already shifted to first base for his final two seasons, his magnificent sprinter’s legs slowed forever. I bought a first baseman’s glove and moved to that position, too. You follow your heroes that way. Now, to the autograph… That September, after sending notes and drawings to my hero for three summers, a letter from the New York Yankees arrived addressed to me. Holding it like 2,000 year-old parchment, I brought it to my backyard, sat at the picnic table and opened it carefully. The simple note inside read: Dear Jack, Really appreciated your letter. Best Wishes, Mickey Mantle Screams were heard at Yankee Stadium. I ran around the block, just to burn off the excitement, and then wrapped Mick’s note in cellophane with a cardboard backing, showing it to every one I knew. None were allowed to touch it – I handled it the way Moses did with the 10 Commandments tablets. You don’t fool with things touched by gods.
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
Lakeview Memories Later that fall, a story appeared in the Daily News reporting Mickey Mantle would retire. After batting just .237 with 18 homers and 54 RBIs, he said his legs were done and he couldn’t hit the kid fastballers anymore. By age 36, the same time today’s lesser players are signing four-year, multi-million dollar contacts, Mantle was a victim of too many injuries (and too many late nights). Superman was flying back to Krypton forever (or to Dallas in this case). I took the paper into our cellar and again read the article. Then I wept for a half-hour, ashamed to be crying like a baby at age 11. Another kid from Oklahoma named Bobby Murcer – a good decent man – replaced Mickey in centerfield. He was signed by the same scout as Mickey, started out as a shortstop like Mantle, too. Though Bobby was a nice player, he wasn’t the Mick – no one could be. There was only one Hepburn, one Clapton, one Picasso, and there was only one Mantle. By 1975, the Yankees traded Murcer to the San Francisco Giants for Barry Bonds’ father Bobby. It didn’t seem right – the last link to Mantle and my childhood was gone. I was 18, and the Yankees were now a collection of players not much older than me, playing their games at Shea Stadium while they ripped down Yankee Stadium and rebuilt it. The next year, the Yanks finally won the pennant but lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. For $50 paid to a scalper, I sat in the upper deck during the Game 3 loss, experiencing what it was like to see a Series game. It was cold. During the next two seasons, the Yankees’ talented dysfunctional family of ballplayers – Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Lou Pinella, et al. – won the World Series, rolling to the championship in 1977 and completing one of the most incredible comebacks in 1978 – rising from the dead and killing the hated Boston Red Sox. The next year, Thurman died in a plane crash, and the team broke apart. Reggie left after the 1981 season. Owner George Steinbrenner decided to turn the Yanks 66 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
from a slugging team to a speedy one. In 1982, they finished in fifth place. By then, I was working nights, and the Yankees and baseball weren’t as important anymore. Music mattered. Girls mattered. Money mattered. So did my late nights and fun. Bruce Springsteen became my role model. My look changed. Instead of wearing Yankees or Knicks tshirts, I wore leather jackets. If I missed reading the sports section, I lived. I put away childish things… until my hero returned. It was June 1982 and for some unexplainable reason, I decided to go and see Mickey Mantle appear at the Paramus Park Mall, about 30 minutes from my apartment. I didn’t talk about it, didn’t think about it – and I sure didn’t tell my friends about it who would have laughed like hell. I simply woke up that day, dressed and drove to Paramus. Inside the mall, I stood against a wall in my best Born to Run pose and watched the crowd gather in front of the stage where Mantle would speak. “Idiots,” I thought of the people pressed against the stage. What was I doing here? I didn’t belong. Then a door opened near where I stood, and my hero walked through the opening, moving toward me, his eyes fixed ahead. No one saw him coming – they expected him to come from behind the stage. He kept coming toward me, and I realized he’d have to pass in front of where I stood to get to the crowd. God, he was magnificent – older, yes, but still muscular, still… him. But there was something more, and I recognized what it was: the pain in his eyes as he walked. The Mick’s legs were killing him, every step hurt. He limped, walking carefully and determinedly to that stage, ready to be Mic-key Man-tell and everyone’s hero again. He passed directly in front of me – so close I could see his profile, the same as on his baseball card, so close I could touch his shoulder. I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. I was frozen with a million different emotions paralyzing my body. I let the Mick pass and never said a word.
I watched him on the stage for a bit, but didn’t stay long. People kept raising their hands, yelling his name, waving pens and papers, and hoping he would sign his autograph. The Mick could hardly speak it was so loud. I left soon after, glad I hadn’t bothered him and glad to have seen him that close. But I was now different… changed. My youth, I knew, was still inside me. I started reading the sports pages again and appreciating the new Mantles… ones like Jordan and Tiger. And baseball and the Yankees once again became as familiar and welcoming as that golden sunshine outside Mr. Stickleberger’s porch in 1964. The Mick gave me the game back. Years went on. The Yankees were good but never champions until 1996. The Mick got old. In this new era of celebrity, we learned of the late nights, the booze and the lost times with his kids. He got to know them better as their drinking buddy later in life. He lost his son Billy in 1994. Mickey Jr. would be dead of liver cancer six years later. Between his sons, death came for the Mick. He’d been running from it his entire life – always sure death would take him early, like his dad, Mutt. The Mantles were cursed, he believed. Along with that belief, he had to live with being Mickey Mantle, everyone’s hero, everyone’s idol. Alcohol made it easier. In 1994, Mantle went into rehab at the Betty Ford Center and came clean in a Sports Illustrated story, “My Life as an Alcoholic.” Instead of hating him for destroying his incredible body, we loved him more for admitting the truth. Even my father, who finally became a Yankee fan in the late seventies, felt sorry for the Mick. In June 1995, Mantle’s received a liver transplant to replace the one ravaged by alcohol. He returned to us a walking skeleton resembling Mickey Mantle, his great smile now too big for his gaunt face. Didn’t matter to us, he was still here, still a part of our lives. And, during this horrible time, he once again became great – more heroic than ever before. Mick said: “Talk about a role model. This is a role model. Don’t be like me.” He also told kids not to abuse their bodies and asked people to become organ donors. They did by the thousands. A few months later, he showed us what happens when a hero dies.
An aggressive cancer entered Mickey’s body and killed him. When he left us, it was amazing how many people were like me – each with a story of how this man brought us into centerfield on his broad back to stand under the Yankee Stadium facade. To the men he played with, he was all what we saw and more. On his Yankee Stadium monument, more prominent than any statistic or feat, are these words: Mickey Mantle “A Great Teammate” I still have Mick’s card, fixed in the scrapbook of ticket stubs, old photos and certificates. Incredibly, I have all of those 1968 Topps cards bought with my paper route money, including the zillion Hal Reniffs. A bit after seeing the Mick in Paramus, the old man – a father better than Mickey ever was – gave them to me. He’d saved them to return to me as an adult. The cards that he once said were a waste of money now reminded us of those years. The Yankees, the team he used to hate with passion, became a frequent subject of our conversations, common ground where we could always meet. This year, while looking at the Mick’s autograph once more, I made a discovery that would have crushed me years ago. His signature, complete with his distinctive loopy “M” always looked rushed to me, like he had dashed off the note before running to batting practice. Looking closely at the autograph, it hit me… the clubhouse boys. They were the ones who signed that piece of paper – one of thousands sent back to star-struck kids wanting a piece of their hero. I’d read how Mantle had to have someone answer his mail because of the flood of letters. It didn’t look exactly like Mickey’s signature because it wasn’t. After all those years, I smiled, my treasure was a fake. I shook my head and closed my scrapbook, where “Mick’s autograph” would forever remain, another piece of my childhood. And the Mick… well, he’ll always be a hero to that kid of my past, and I’ll forever admire his courage at the end. And on days when I want to go back to the golden sunshine of the sixties, when all was new and fresh and limitless, I think of Mickey Mantle – how he ran, how he stood, how he swung the bat with that magnificent No. 7 on his back. I think of him and I’m there. Clifton Merchant • August 2013
Ukrainian Milestone Twenty-two years after declaring independence from Russia, Ukrainians in Clifton will mark the milestone of their homeland on Aug. 24 will solemn services. St. Nicholas Church on President St. in Passaic will follow its 5 pm liturgy with a moleben, in which the priest and those congregated petition the Mother of God Mary for blessings upon the Eastern European nation. It will be followed by a raising of both the American and Ukrainian flags in front of the church. Over the weeks which follow both St. Nick’s and the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Church on Broad St. in Clifton will host picnics and festivals. Holy Ascension’s event will follows the liturgy on Sept. 15 and the large church grounds always attract a crowd.
Irene Mykych at an Ukrainian Independence Day event at Clifton City Hall.
The Sept. 22 Ukrainian Festival at St. Nick’s will open at noon and include vendors and exhibitors as
well as a stage show and good food and beverages. For details, call the church at 973-471-9727.
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Aboard the Red Napper Roofer Richie Knapp is also a Ship’s Skipper
At center, Richie Knapp with a Sailfish caught in the Florida Keys last winter and below right, with a 70 lb. Bluefin Tuna he caught off Long Beach Island.
When he’s not repairing roofs in North Jersey, Richie Knapp heads down to LBI on weekends to live on and skipper his fishing boat, “Red Napper.” Two summers ago, Knapp and his boat crew of six took third place in the Beach Haven White Marlin Tournament and won and shared $50,000. Fishing for big game can be lucrative but it is full of risks and challenges, both physical and financial. For the tournament, Knapp and his crew would leave at 2 am and fish for 12 hours. The trip takes “Red Napper” 100 miles from Little Egg Harbor into the Atlantic Ocean. “We burn an easy 320 gallons of diesel fuel,” said Knapp who together with his brother Don run R.F. Knapp Roofing here in Clifton. “That’s about $1,300 bucks a day.” This summer, “Red Napper” took a pass. “We didn’t enter. The weather was not good. There’s just no big fish around,” he said. “I decided to save $10,000 and fish for fun the next couple of weeks.” That $10,000 goes toward tournament fees, the cost of fuel, maintenance and insurance for the boat, his 43-foot Sportfisher, “Red Napper.” “Red” was actually his dad’s nickname. “Napper” was Richie’s nickname when he was a kid. “So we always dreamed of having a boat together.” But Richie’s dad died in 1991 at age 51. And they never got to share that dream. The boat is Knapp’s home away from home, May to October. The boat sleeps six and sounds comfy but it truly is built for the high seas and deep sea fishing. It has radar GPS, cable TV, a shower, clothes dryer and central air and heat. So while Richie Knapp is sailing the seas at his own pleasure this summer, next year’s tournament awaits. But maybe this weekend the fish are biting... 70 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
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Public Safety Eight new Clifton Police Officers were sworn to duty on July 18. Three of the recruits who are now in boot camp are Clifton residents. “It’s great to see young people who have grown up here become Clifton cops,” said Chief Gary Giardina, a 35 year veteran who was sworn in 1978. “It gives them unique insight into this very complex city and the people who live and work here... the people we serve.” With the addition of the eight officers, seven men and one female, the Clifton Police force now has 143 officers. As recently as 2010, the CPD Table of Organization called for 158 officers but since was reduced by ordinance and through retirement, the force is 149.
Matt West, Edgar Duran and Matthew Phillips are Clifton residents and three of the eight sworn on July 18 to be Clifton Police Officers.
The life of Clifton Police Officer John Samra will be celebrated in tributes as the anniversary of his death nears. Samra, a 15 year member of the force who is pictured above, died in a vehicle pursuit on Nov. 21, 2003. He remains the only Clifton cop to be killed in the line of duty. The Clifton Optimist Club will contribute to that legacy when Samra will be honored on Sept. 19 at 6:30 pm. He will receive the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award. Next month’s magazine will tell more about Samra and the life he lived. To share your memories, call or write Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. 72 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
Clifton FMBA President Bob De Luca wants Mayor Jim Anzaldi to apologize for ‘demonizing’ the Fire Department at a July meeting. In a discussion about overtime in the Police and Fire Departments, De Luca said the Mayor spoke of closing firehouses much like the city did a few years back during a budget crunch. De Luca in an email recounted how after Fire Station 2 was reopened, Clifton Firefighters saved a boy in an Elmwood Dr. house fire. Had that firehouse been closed, he wrote, “a different outcome may have occurred. One of the... duties that every council person swore to uphold is Public Safety,” DeLuca continued. “To demonize the fire department because we are doing our jobs and simply disregarding studies and recommendations received under your watch as Mayor is irresponsible. “If you choose to measure the value and productivity of your fire department by the amount of civilian deaths and injuries...” he continued, “then we are all doomed.” De Luca asked Anzaldi to “have the temerity to apologize to the citizens for your rash and obnoxious comments.”
Former Clifton Councilman Joe Cupoli heads the Republican ticket in the 34th legislative district. He launched his NJ Senate campaign on July 11 and is pictured at top left center with his family and above with his mom. About 300 people attended the kick off. Cupoliâ€™s Assembly running mates are former Clifton Board of Education Commissioner Mike Urciuoli and the Rev. David Rios. On Nov. 5, they face incumbents Democrats Senator Nia Gill, and Assembly members Tom Giblin and Sheila Oliver.
Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
Events & Briefs July’s magazine looked back at Mustangs who graduated in 2003, 1993, 1983, 1973, 1963 and 1953. Those featured included Dr. Dolores Shiposh (at left). The 1953 grad grew up at 422 Lexington Ave. and in a meeting at Foodies (“my second home”) related how her dad was a window washer and her mom worked in a clothing shop. “In other words,” she continued, “we didn’t have a lot of money. But they allowed me to go away to college to start a career in physical education. What wonderful parents I had.” For the next five year she attended Russell Sage College in Troy, NY, earning a doctorate in PE. Her long career in education completed about 10 years ago when she retired as the Chair of the Physical Education department at Kean University. Now 77 years old, Dr. Shiposh still lives in Clifton and while she never had children she said she enjoys the support of a wonderful family. Her nephew, Ihor Stefan Andruch, picks up the story: “When our father died in 1983 my sister Christina (now Kedl) and I were very young. Dolores became another parent to us... taking us to the movies, Broadway shows, cultural places. She is wonderful and giving and was very pleased to be featured in the magazine. My mom Irene and all of us want to say thanks including our aunt.”
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In that same issue, we made an error. It wasn’t the ‘63 Marching Mustangs that performed in Kerkrade, Holland. The trip was actually made in the summer of 1962 so it was the band members from the Class of 1962 that made that history. However so many 1963 classmates were Marching Mustangs that the editors decided to publish the photo on page 16 in the 1963 yearbook. We guess the Class of 1963 wanted to share that bit of Mustang glory. Thanks to the readers who brought this error to our attention. The CHS Class of 1963 will hold its 50th class reunion on Nov. 29 at the Mountainside Inn on Hazel St. Cost is $60 per person. Organizers Ellen Grexa and Helen Kubik need to make reservations well before the date of the get together and asked classmates to send in checks now. For details, call Helen Kubik at 973-742-4466.
C h C L
Clifton is a generational town. Chris DiFalco was the 2013 CHS Class Athlete of the Year. His grandfather, Mustang Jim Haraka held that honor in 1950. DiFalco’s parents are Doug and Linda DiFalco.
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
Events & Briefs St. Philips Knights of Columbus has organized a campaign to support Colin Michael Jones, a two year old with a traumatic and permanent brain injury. The K of C hosts an Oct. 26 Tricky Tray with proceeds to support care of Colin. The cost is $35 for admission and dinner and it will be held at the St. Philip the Apostle Church Auditorium, 797 Valley Rd., starting at 7 pm. There are various ways to help the cause. Co-chairs Carolos Rocco and Dennis Fitzpatrick are soliciting memorabilia and goods for auction and will also be accepting donations. Last year’s event raised more than $100,000 and they expect to exceed that amount this year. To discuss a donation or other ways to help, call 973-272-8776 or 973-773-0019. Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno is the featured guest at the Aug. 28 breakfast presented by the Passaic County Office of Economic Development. The meet, greet and breakfast is at 8 am at the Upper Montclair County Club in Clifton. Advance tickets ($15) can be purchased by calling Angelo Morresi at 973-239-5626 or writing to him at email@example.com.
Colin Michael Jones with his mom Susan (Lil) of Clifton.
Passaic County Women’s Center offers a free and confidential 12week sexual assault support group for adult female survivors who were sexually abused at any point during their lives. Meetings are on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 pm, starting on Aug. 13. If you are a survivor of sexual assault, child sexual abuse or incest, and are looking for a safe, confidential space to discuss the issue with those who have had similar experiences, call Maria Pintar, Sexual Assault Program Coordinator, at 973-881-0725, ext. 205 to schedule an initial interview.
Spencer Savings Bank, the community bank with two branches here in Clifton, announced that CHS Senior Einar BarrientosArenaza and WWMS 8th grader Denisse Brito were the 2013 Clifton scholarship recipients. Some $22,500 was shared by 15 high school and 15 middle school students from Clifton, Cranford, Elizabeth, Elmwood Park, Garfield, Garwood, Lodi, Lyndhurst, North Caldwell, Nutley, Roselle, Saddle Brook, Union, Wallington and Wayne. The students were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements and educational goals. Find out about next year’s scholarships. Visit Spencer Branch Managers Edward Kurbansade, Jr. near Burger King at 437 Piaget Ave. (Rt. 46) or Lali Filipovich at 908 Van Houten Ave. in Athenia. Passaic County Clerk Kristin Corrado said her office will hit the road and visit the Clifton Main Library on Piaget Ave. on Sept. 4. From 5 to 7 pm, they will provide free Passport Services, Notary Registration and Renewal Services and Free Identification Cards to veterans who reside in Passaic County. For details, call the Passaic County Clerk at 973-225-3690.
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Kimberly Sue Sokolik graduated from Virginia Tech in May with her Master of Arts in Communications. Sokolik (inset) today resides in Roanoke, VA., where she works for a CBS affiliate, WDBJ7 Television. The 2003 Mustang is also a 2007 grad of Monmouth University. S.S. Cyril & Methodius Church on Ackerman Ave. continues its centennial anniversary on Aug. 10. A 7 pm liturgy will be celebrated by the Most Rev. Jozef Halko, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Bratislava and delegate for Slovaks living outside of Slovakia. The 100th anniversary celebration will come to a close on Nov. 3 with a 10:30 am liturgy celebrated by Diocese of Paterson Arthur J. Serratelli and a banquet which will follow that day at the Venetian in Garfield. Tickets are $80 or $40 for those 12 and under. Call 973-546-4390.
Looking back to July 8, 1956, Bishop James A. McNulty at the laying of the cornerstone and the blessing of S. S. Cyril and Methodius Church.
The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton hosts A Taste of Clifton Food & Wine Festival on Sept. 30. Over 25 restaurants, caterers, wine sellers and liquor distributors are expected to be on hand to offer visitors samples of their fare. There is no charge for the vendors to participate other than agreeing to sample their culinary creations or fine wine. The Club will raise funds by selling $35 tickets. Purchase 10 in advance and it costs just $300. Proceeds help fund services the B&GC offers to its 5,345 members which are mainly youth from pre school to age 18. A Taste of Clifton is from 6 to 8:30 pm on Sept. 30 in the Bingo hall at the Club on Colfax Ave. Restaurants, caterers and other sponsors or those wanting to sample goods should call Development Director John DeGraaf at 973-773-0966 ext 11 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact DeGraaf for advance tickets or other details. Clifton Merchant â€˘ August 2013
60th Anniversary of Korean War Armistice By Rich DeLotto
July 27 marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. As our nation paused to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of all those Americans who served in the Korean War, we take time to remember a fallen hero from Clifton and the mystery surrounding his disappearance. Initiated on June 25, 1950, with the southward invasion of North Korean troops, it took 37 months and more than 33,000 American lives to stabilize the country of South Korea and re-establish democracy at the 38th parallel. Six decades later, some 8,100 men are still listed as MIA. Of those, the POW-MIA network lists 944 who were known to be alive when captured but were never accounted for when the final truce was signed. One of those 8,100 was USAF Airman 2nd class Reynold G. Campbell who was born June 12, 1929 and raised on East 5th St.
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Campbell was serving as an observer aboard a US Air Force B26 bomber with the 3rd Bomb Wing, 8th Bomb Squadron. On a mission on the night of Jan. 13, 1952, his B-26 developed mechanical problems forcing the four-man crew to bail after making its bomb run over Anju, North Korea. Of the four man crew, only the pilot and the bombardier survived the mission and returned from the war. Today, that bombardier, Lt. Ken Enoch, lives outside Houston. In a phone interview last month, he shared details of the aircraft’s downing and of Campbell. Shortly after being captured, Enoch saw one of his Communist guards wearing Campbell’s leather flight jacket and noticed a splash of mud on one of the sleeves. Unknowingly, this would be the last connection ever made to the Clifton serviceman. Neither he nor the other non-surviving crewmember has ever been heard from again. As for Lt. Enoch and the pilot;
Lakeview’s Reynold G. Campbell, was a USAF Airman Missing In Action (MIA) since Jan.13, 1952 at the height of the Korean War.
they were jailed, interrogated, tortured and forced to sign statements saying the U.S. had been using biological weapons against civilian targets. Enoch served in solitary confinement for the next 20 months. Released in August 1953, he refuted the use of biological weapons and of targeting civilians As for Lakeview’s Reynold G. Campbell, no one knows whatever happened to him. Did he die in the plane crash? Did his parachute fail to open? Was he killed for his jacket? Was he also captured and tortured as a war criminal? Did he ever make it to a POW camp? All we can do is speculate. On milestone dates such as the 60th anniversary, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of men like Airman Reynold G. Campbell.
Allwood’s Alfred Aiple, Jr. lost his life in service to our country during World War II aboard the submarine USS Bullhead on Aug. 6, 1945. Ironically, it was the very last U.S. Navy ship sunk by enemy action in the Pacific, on the same day that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. USN Quartermaster 2nd Class Aiple is remembered annually during our city’s commemorations of fallen heroes. You’ll also find his name in our May magazine which lists over 300 Cliftonites Killed in Action during WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. It was within those pages that National Archives historian Paul W. Wittmer found Aiple’s name during an internet search and called our office to see if our community can provide a photo of this fallen hero. “My personal project is to update a basic genealogy and a history with photos on each one of more than 3,600 U.S. Submarine men who perished during WWII,” said Wittmer, an 89-year-old submariner. “I hope you can spread the word and see if someone in your community can find and share a photo of QM2 Aiple.” Wittmer’s research shows that Aiple’s wife, Madeline Elaine Aiple, lived in Allwood. He had two sisters, Florence and Helen. Aiple’s parents and sister Helen Evans lived at 8 Englewood Rd. Readers who have a photo can visit our office or email us with information at email@example.com or mail it to historian Paul W. Wittmer at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Clifton Veterans Parade Committee Beefsteak is on Aug. 16 at 6:30 pm at the Boys and Girls Club. Tickets are $40. Proceeds go to offset expenses for the Veterans Day Parade. The parade this year will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War and those who served in the so called Forgotten War.. Starting at 2 pm on Nov. 10, the parade will step off from the Athenia Veterans Post on Huron Ave., and march up Van Houten Ave. to the City Hall complex. The parade will then pass a reviewing stand and bring visitors to the Avenue of Flags where some 1,400 American flags are on display in honor of America’s veterans. To contribute, volunteer as an individual or as a group, support the cause or to get tickets or more details, call John Biegel at 973-519-0858 or Rosemary Trinkle Baran at 862-668-9151 for tickets. You may also send your check payable to the City of Clifton Veterans Committee, 900 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ 07013.
Dr. Jack Houston and Rich DeLotto are organizing a series of talks on American Military and Naval battles during World War I and II. The free monthly discussions will take place at the Hamilton House Museum, 744 Valley Rd., at 7:30 pm on Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Nov. 21. Houston is an associate dean of Undergraduate Studies at Fordham University in The Bronx. DeLotto, a retired Clifton Firefighter, is an aficionado of military history and a writer focused on American military history as it relates to Clifton. For more details or to attend, call 973-478-0522 or 973-472-5326. Avenue of Flags Chief Groundsman Bill Van Eck reminds the community that extra hands are always needed to set up at dawn and break down at dusk the display of some 1,600 flags. The display goes up next around city hall on Sept. 11. Citizens can honor a veteran with a flag as a tribute to their service. Cost is $100 for the flag, pole, sleeve, name plate and ground socket. To honor someone, visit www.cliftonnnj.org, click on links and then click on Avenue of Flags. To volunteers and for set up and break down times, email email@example.com or call 973-519-0858.
WE REMEMBER the life of Christopher Nicholas Tselepis 1984-2013
Clifton Merchant • August 2013
Birthdays & Celebrations - August 2013
Emilie Oakley turns 20 on Aug. 22. Emily Hawrylko and Kyle Crawford announced they plan to marry June 28, 2014. Emily also celebrates her 29th birthday on Aug. 12. Her uncle Tom Hawrylko will be 56 on Aug. 15. He is pictured with Lori Jeffries who turns 55 on Aug. 4.
Birthdays & Celebrations
Send dates & names...firstname.lastname@example.org Margot Villanova................8/1 Kim West...........................8/1 Angelo Greco ....................8/2 Karen Lime ........................8/2 Michael Urciuoli .................8/2 Kevin Ciok.........................8/4 Scott Malgieri ....................8/4 Mark W. Mikolajczyk .........8/5 Theresa Raichel ..................8/5 Christina Sotelo ..................8/5 Melissa Ayers.....................8/6 Ed Gasior Sr. .....................8/6 Sean McNally ....................8/6
Gladys Shefchik .................8/8 Chiara Cristantiello.............8/9 Jean Schubert.....................8/9 Danielle Swede ................8/13 Andrew Cronin ................8/14 Kimberly Mozo ................8/14 Michelle Smolt..................8/14 Yuko Angello....................8/15 Christopher Antal .............8/15 Peter Bodor......................8/15 Jessica Oliva....................8/15 Maria Pinter.....................8/15 Susan Van Blarcom ...........8/15
JoAnn Frances Morici turns 89 on Aug. 10.
Lakeview Bakery baby Daniel Alexis was born on June 30 to Dayana Rivera and Carlos Sotamba. 80 August 2013 â€˘ Clifton Merchant
Rachel Bavolar and Brian Kennedy were married on July 20. Daniel Wolfe....................8/15 Arlene Hard.....................8/17 Bella Bulsara....................8/18 Alexandria Veltre..............8/19 Michael Melendez............8/20 Rachelle Swede................8/20 Emilie Oakley ..................8/22 Cara Cholewczynski .........8/24 Yasmin Ledesma ...............8/24 Joanne Pituch ...................8/24 Robbie Lucas....................8/25 Eileen Gasior ...................8/26 Cameron J. Popovski.........8/26 Adam Brandhorst .............8/27 Peter Fierro, Jr. .................8/28 Nicholas Swede. ..............8/29 Michelle “Mish” Choy .......8/30 Joe Rushen.......................8/30 Kathleen McKenny............8/31 Nancy & Mike Ressetar mark their anniversary on Aug. 15. Bruce and Diane Drake will celebrate their 43nd anniversary on Aug. 22. Clifton Merchant • August 2013
Some of the participants in the Kohl’s Cares Summer Challenge Basketball Game at the Clifton Boys & Girls Club on July 23. The Clifton team came from behind to beat the Kohls Associates, 67 to 58.
The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton would like to extend a huge thank you to Kohl’s Associates in Action who participated in the Kohl’s Cares Summer Challenge Basketball Game against Club volunteers in July. Kohl’s Associates, who came from as far as Philadelphia to compete, had the opportunity to award the B&Club of Clifton with a $500 corporate grant from each of the seven Kohl’s stores that took part. In all, the Summer Challenge raised $3,500 for the Camp Clifton Summer Programs. From the basketball court to the ball park, Kohl’s Associates and Boys & Girls Club staff and volunteers continued to battle it out during a softball game at Eddie Mayo Field on Clifton Ave. Want to get in the game? There is more competition ahead. On Aug. 13, from noon to 3 pm, Kohl’s Associates take on Club staff and volunteers for a volleyball game at the Club’s gym on Colfax Ave. After the game, everyone is invited to Uno Chicago Grill on Rt. 3 West for a fundraiser. The B&G Club will get as a donation 20 percent of your food and bar tab. Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée. A special Clifton B&G Club coupon is needed at the time of purchase and will be available via email or at the Club. Development Director John DeGraaf says the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton appreciates corporate contributors like Kohl’s. Funds raised support the Club’s services and programs enjoyed by nearly 6,000 kids. Support from corporations and individuals is critical to the Club. If you’d like to add your support, call Development Director John DeGraaf at 973-773-0966 ext 11 or email him at email@example.com. 82 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant
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