By Jerry Del Priore
Yes, it’s me again, the friendly Brooklynite, gorging his way through the lovely Garden State. This time, I landed at two popular sandwich shops and visited a well-liked pizza joint along with a legendary bakery outpost for a sweet tooth fix.
That’s right, life is good, my friends, as long as I’m not hungry.
Chatham Sandwich Shop – 253 Main Street, Chatham, New Jersey
In business for over 30 years, Chatham Sandwich Shop is a borough favorite and was on my list for must-tries eateries for some time. Modest from the outside, with that small-town feel, it’s anything but ordinary on the inside.
With so many options on the menu, I had the Turkey & Swiss Sloppy Joe – premium turkey cold cut meat and Swiss cheese, with coleslaw and Russian Dressing smothered in between the layers of the mammoth, hardy sandwich. I loved it; what an excellent value at only $8.75. You’ll be hard-pressed to finish the oversized and delicious sandwich in one sitting.
Other great menu items include the Sliced Eggplant with fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, and a touch of balsamic vinegar on ciabatta roll ($8.95), and the Crispy Chicken BLT Wrap Sandwich with leaf lettuce, tomatoes, crisp bacon, and honey mustard dressing ($8.95).
Chatham Sandwich Shop also serves up great soups, salads and breakfast fare. I can go on, but I’ll have to stop writing at some point.
Pascarella Brothers Delicatessen – 34 Watchung Avenue, Chatham, New Jersey
I really enjoyed my visit to Pascarella Brothers Deli, as it reminds me of the best Italian delis in Brooklyn, such as Bari Pork Store and John’s Deli.
Italian food products adorn the shelves, and it makes some of the most delectable sandwiches and salads in the area.
I enjoyed the Turkey Sloppy Joe, sans any cheese. It was awesome nonetheless. I also sampled its grilled chicken salad, which was outstanding.
If you suffer from a gluten-related condition (non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), gluten ataxia, dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) and wheat allergy), then you’re in luck, as Pascarella specializes in gluten-free cuisine.
Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley, rye, and all their species and hybrids (such as spelt, kamut, and triticale). It can cause severe gastric distress when someone with a gluten-related disorder ingest a product with the protein in it.
Pascarella Brothers Deli’s unyielding desire to best serve its gluten-free followers started when doctors diagnosed Nicolas Pascarella – one of the owners – with Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestines) at the age of one.
Seeing a need, his father Anthony and Uncle Gino Pascarella decided to dedicate their old-world Italian food establishment to providing gluten-free options for its customers – no small undertaken, as several foods, especially Italian, contain the protein.
Now, that’s a commitment to Pascarella Brothers’ faithful patrons.
By the way, there’s one in Morristown. So, mangiare, si prega.
Hickory Tree Pizza – 641 Shunpike Rd., Chatham Township, New Jersey
I finally found a pizza joint comparable to ones at home in the Borough of Kings in the form of Hickory Tree Pizza.
The pizza slice boasts a nice, not too thick, not too thin crust, crispy enough for my satisfaction. Savory sauce? Check. Solid mozzarella? Check. Add up those qualities all together and you have everything for a tasty slice of heaven.
I also had a few jalapeno poppers with melted, smoothed American cheese in the middle – a solid offering indeed.
B & W Bakery – 64 Main Street, Hackensack, New Jersey
New Jersey may be one of the leaders in scrumptious crumb cakes in the nation, in my opinion.
B & W Bakery is one of the reasons why Jersey has earned that auspicious distinction. Its overwhelming crumbs ratio to actual cake is why it’s so darn “how you doing?” delicious.
Cannoli, pastries, cupcakes, seven-layer cake, and chocolate fudge cake are rather tasty as well.
Staying true to its old-school ways, B & W Bakery is a cash only business, and you’ll have to grab a ticket in order to be served during its busy times.
In addition, B & W is closed on Sundays and Mondays, with its doors shutting at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday – Friday, and Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
Until next time, eat well, New Jersey.