Waiting seems to be part and parcel for kosher customers eager to patronize new establishments in West Orange.
There was a period of time after Glatt Fusion’s March opening that Sam Lurie, a rising senior at Golda Och Academy in West Orange, would call weekly. The “Fusion” in the West Orange kosher takeout restaurant’s name refers to a combination of Chinese and Japanese cuisine, as listed on the storefront’s sign, yet for months after it opened, only sushi was available.
Sam always asked the same single question: “When is the Chinese restaurant opening?” The responses were either “soon” or “in two weeks.”
Finally, he’ll be able to order the General Tso’s chicken he’s wanted for so long. As of last week, Glatt Fusion began offering a “limited” Chinese food menu, though appetizers, soups, and some other items won’t be available “for a few weeks,” according to co-owner Shneor Dobruskin — so hang tight on the egg rolls and chow fun.
In the end it took three months for Glatt Fusion, located in the Pleasant Valley Way strip mall next door to the kosher West Orange Bake Shop, to offer Chinese food.
Another business demanding patience: the grand opening of Aron’s West Orange, a new kosher grocery store on the site of a former CVS Pharmacy on Eagle Rock Avenue. Construction has been underway for months, and in February a post on the store’s Facebook page announced plans to open on Memorial Day weekend. The posts that followed, on May 5 and June 14, said “Coming Soon,” and a large “Coming Soon” banner has been plastered at the store’s location for weeks. However, management did not return multiple phone calls or emails asking for a specific opening date.
In a mid-June email to another writer at NJJN, Moshe Zupnick, who said he’s “involved in the deal” but declined to elaborate on his role with the store, wrote that construction is “taking longer than expected,” but he anticipates a “late July-early August” opening. The store is affiliated with Aron’s Kissena Farms in Queens.
It can be confirmed, however, that Beth Indyk of Herb n’ Spice will close her Livingston location and move to Aron’s to supply prepared foods. “Everything will be cooked on premises,” she said about the new store, which will have dairy and meat kitchens, plus a “very big” grab-and-go section for convenience, which, she said, “is what people want.”
Eventually, she said, the new store will also carry healthy options. “We do want to have gluten-free, more vegan and vegetarian,” Indyk said.
In spite of the delays, residents in the Pleasantdale and Redwood sections of West Orange look forward to the ease of shopping in an entirely kosher local store.
“I’m very excited about Aron’s,” Betty Lando, a real estate developer who has lived in West Orange for 10 years, told NJJN in a phone interview. She currently treks to Seasons in Clifton, a kosher grocery store, at least once a week for her meat, specifically for products that aren’t readily available in West Orange ShopRite’s kosher aisle.
Lando also said that having a kosher neighborhood store is an asset for an area with a growing Jewish population. “Most of the new families moving in have very young kids and both parents work full time, so having a kosher market close by is really a much-needed boon,” she wrote in an email. “A kosher market is one more piece in the multiple factors that help make West Orange an attractive community.”
Several stores that appeal to Jewish customers are within walking distance to Aron’s, including Reuben’s Glatt Spot, West Orange Bake Shop, Glatt Fusion, and two stores that carry Judaica — CBL Fine Art and Lubavitch Center Judaica.
“As a rabbi and as a person who cares about building a Jewish community and bringing more people into the community, the more Jewish things to take care of the community the better,” said Rabbi Boruch Klar, director of Lubavitch Center of Essex County, which operates the Judaica store and the Shabbat House, a place for guests to experience Shabbat rituals, food, and programming.
He hopes the new business will “keep making the community a better place.”
“Maybe Aron’s will bring in more people who want to shop in the neighborhood, increase the walking traffic; it could increase the empty stores, maybe they’ll fill up with more Jewish-related things,” he said about empty storefronts near the intersection of Eagle Rock Avenue and Pleasant Valley Way.
The delay in Chinese food at Glatt Fusion was because Dobruskin’s partner, whom Dobruskin declined to name, was working at another restaurant that the partner also owns. The partner needed to find qualified staff to take his place at the other location before he could move to Glatt Fusion and become the resident chef.
Glatt Fusion also caters Chinese, sushi, and traditional Shabbat food, such as chicken, salads, and kugels.
Regarding the sushi, Dobruskin said he buys the raw fish from Raskin’s Fish Market in Brooklyn and limits the layers of rice to only one or two. According to Dobruskin, other kosher purveyors use three to four layers.
“I don’t sell rice, I sell sushi,” he said.
Sam gave his sign of approval. “We really loved the sushi so we’re really looking forward to a new meat restaurant,” he told NJJN.
Dear Sam, your wait is now over.