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Perkins calls it a day


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


Seven years after it opened its doors, a popular Lyndhurst eatery sadly bade farewell to its many loyal customers this past Sunday.

Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery, in the Valley Brook Ave. mall across from Township Hall, closed after being unable to come to terms on a new lease with the landlord, Lyndhurst Residential Community 2 LLC of Edison, said owner Patti Moretta.

Moretta said she has no plans to reopen at another location.

“I’m not moving anywhere else – I’m done,” she said.

Patrons who want a Perkins dining experience will have to venture out to Woodbridge, the closest to Lyndhurst.

Her departure will mark the second retailer in the mall to fold. A Mandee shop closed about a year and a half ago and the space remains empty today.

The loss of Perkins will leave 24 employees out of jobs including the restaurant’s acting GM James Mojonick of Kearny who has worked there the past two and a half years.

“I’ll miss the staff and Patti,” Mojonick said. “It’s like a family here. Very few times do you get to work at a place, especially in a cutthroat world of business, and find that the people you’re working with are more like a family, where we can be somewhat laid back but still get the job done.”

Longtime customers like Eileen and Bill Gallagher of North Arlington readily agreed. “It’s been one of our favorite spots for the past six years,” said Eileen. “We like the people, it’s clean, comfortable and the food is good.”

Husband Bill added: “The people who work here do a wonderful job, they’re respectful and we get our food on time. It’s a shame they’re closing. We come here at least once a week, mostly for the turkey dinner.”

It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for Moretta.

When the Totowa resident acquired the Perkins franchise and decided to set up shop in Lyndhurst, “this place was just a cement slab when I came here.” It cost her $1.5 million to build the restaurant, she said.

Once she got going, though, she never stopped. “Each year, we only closed on Christmas,” she said. “And we were the only place open the day after the hurricane, Sandy, hit, in 2012. I brought in a bunch of power surges so our staff and customers could charge their phones.”

Moretta, who grew up in Glen Ridge, has always been food-conscious. After graduating from Glen Ridge High School, she went to Syracuse University where she got her degree in therapeutic nutrition.

She applied her academic knowledge during an eightyear stint as registered dietician at Clara Maass Medical Center and 11 years as public health nutrition counselor and Meals on Wheels coordinator in Passaic.

“I’ve actually been working since I was 15,” she said.

Her dad was a part-owner of a Holiday Inn complex in Totowa and she tinkered with the idea of bringing a Perkins there but, instead, picked Lyndhurst for its easy access to Rt. 3 and other highway transit links.

Eventually, she succeeded in building a customer base that extended to places like Secaucus, Fort Lee, West Milford and even New York.

Mother’s and Father’s Day turned out to be big draws. “Some of my former employees would come in and work for free,” Moretta recalled, “just because they wanted to.” And, every Christmas Day, she’d throw a holiday party for her employees.

Over the years, the Lyndhurst Perkins has sought to give back to the community, Moretta said.

“We’ve donated muffins, pies and cookies to veterans, we allowed them to put their coin box on the front counter. I’ve gotten awards from the local VFW for our loyalty to veterans.

“We sponsored Lyndhurst High School football team towels and, for the past three or four years, we’ve worked with the high school’s developmentally disabled program here at the restaurant.

“Anybody who knocked on my door got a donation, whether it was a Tricky Tray or whatever,” she said.

Still, it hasn’t always been a piece of cake. “In some ways, it’s been an uphill battle since we opened in October 2007,” she said.“There was Sandy, of course, and there were 29 days where my customers had nowhere to park because the mall spaces were taken up by events being held by the township or by police vehicles. Then, on top of that, we had the construction [of barrier walls] on Rt. 3 where people couldn’t use the Lyndhurst exit.”

And there were the annual rent increases assessed by the property owner.

But despite her travails, Moretta says the struggle was worth it and, as proof of the pudding, she showed The Observer a book of tributes logged in by thankful customers – a souvenir of her days in Lyndhurst she’ll always treasure.

3rd mayoral candidate surfaces


By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


When North Arlington residents go to the polls Nov. 4, they can choose one of three candidates for mayor but they’ll find only two on the ballot.

Mayor Peter Massa is the Democratic nominee seeking re-election for a third consecutive term and Councilman Joseph Bianchi is opposing him as the GOP representative.

But also vying for the borough’s top elective office is newcomer Anthony Baez, a registered Republican who is running as a write-in candidate under the slogan, “A Brighter Future for North Arlington.”

Baez, 44, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier assigned to Kearny who has lived in North Arlington for the past five years, said he missed the deadline for filing nominating petitions to get his name on the election ballot so he decided to promote himself as a write-in.

“I figured, ‘Why not take the shot?’ ” he said.

Since he was away on vacation during the June primary balloting, Baez didn’t get to square off against Bianchi for the party’s nomination.

As a sort of dry run, he got a set of petitions and began asking people for their signatures “and I got 200 to sign and I thought that was a pretty good response,” Baez said. Since then, he said he’s been “going door to door” and using social media to introduce himself and hand out fliers to residents.

“I’m running because I don’t like what’s going on here,” Baez said. “When people go to mayor/council meetings, they don’t get responses from the people representing them.”

Asked for examples of nonresponsiveness, Baez – who served in the U.S. military from 1989 to 2001 in Germany and Texas – said, “It’s inexcusable that our 9/11 memorial is still sitting in the public works garage. That irks me. 9/11 was a war with terrorists so the memorial needs to be on a veterans’ plateau, in front of our VFW/American Legion hall on River Road.”

Around North Arlington, Baez said, “There’s a feeling that the town has been forgotten. There’s no July 4 fireworks. No pride in our community.”

If he’s voted in as mayor, Baez said he’d give away his salary as charitable donations to various community organizations. “I’d give $1,000 to each organization, like the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, the Woman’s Club, the veterans’ groups, plus the Fire Department, Police Department and the Board of Education.

“Money isn’t the importance of being mayor – it’s being the voice of the people,” he said.

Local government’s inability to agree on a municipal budget is a disgrace, Baez said. “We all have to come up with a budget to run our home.”

To get more revenues, North Arlington should “promote the use of the baler” by other communities and should do more to attract “franchises” and other tenants for the industrial park in the meadows behind Saw Mill Creek, he said.

Baez grew up in Newark where he attended St. Lucy’s Grammar School and Essex County Vocational High School. He took college classes while stationed in Germany with the military. After his Army service, he was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.

He has served with the USPS for 12 years and has been a shop steward with the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Branch 38 for Kearny and North Arlington.

In North Arlington, he is service officer for the American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 and senior vice commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Carlos Sass Post 4697. During his time with the veterans’ groups, Baez has chaired the local Boys’ State, Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy programs, helped organize the Memorial Day Parade, family food drive, dinner program for veterans at the V.A. Hospital in East Orange and the burning of worn U.S. flags and supported the campaign to rename the Passaic River bridge for the late Marine Lance Cpl. Osmany Montes deOca. This year, he was nominated by the Legion for the Veteran of the Year award.

He is also a member of the Liquid Church in Nutley.

Baez, who lives on Roosevelt St., has two daughters, Amanda, 17, and Monica, 16.

Baubles, bangles & bail


By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


“It was,” said Kearny Police Chief John Dowie, “like following a trail of breadcrumbs.”

Except that these crumbs glittered in the morning sun and were worth a good amount of bread, being assorted pieces of jewelry stolen from a Windsor St. home. Cops recovered both the bling and the alleged burglar, identified as 41-yearold John Enright of Kearny.

Dowie said that at about 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 29, headquarters received a call from a concerned citizen about a possible burglary in progress at a residence on the 200 block of Windsor.

Dispatched to the address, Officer T.J. Hernandez took up a position at the front of the home, while Sgt. Paul Bershefski went to the rear of property, where, police said, he encountered Enright “leaving via the deck.”

The suspect reentered the home, and the sergeant shouted a warning to Hernandez that a man was fleeing out the front door. Sure enough, he exited there, clutching a bundle — a gray T-shirt that appeared to be full of purloined items, police said.

Ignoring Hernandez’ orders to stop, he took off on foot, pursued by the officer and with the T-shirt reportedly “emitting jewelry as he fled.” She chased him south on Windsor and then east on Liberty St., where he entered an apartment building near Maple St.

Hernandez continued to follow and saw him enter a third-floor apartment.

Other KPD units responded, and Enright was persuaded to open the door and surrender, police said. Inside, they said, were the proceeds of the burglary, still wrapped in the T-shirt.

Hernandez retraced the route of the pursuit, following and retrieving the “breadcrumbs,” those pieces of jewelry that had been scattered along the way.

All the stolen items were inventoried at headquarters, and they included:

• 3 necklaces

• 9 bracelets

• 10 rings

• 10 watches

• 39 pairs of earrings

• 14 single earrings

• 4 charms

• 1 silver jewelry tray

• 1 butter knife

And: 1 gray T-shirt

Police said the homeowner confirmed that the property was hers and that it had all been in her residence when she left that morning.

Enright was charged with burglary, theft, possession of stolen property, and resisting arrest.

He was remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $40,000 bail.

KPD blotter: Amend to that

A man with an apparent affection for the U.S. Constitution, but not perhaps for DWI laws, was arrested last week after he nearly hit a patrol car in front of KPD headquarters, police reported.

Police said Officer Chris Levchek was stopped at the light at Laurel Ave. and Elm St. at 10 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 30, when a 2002 Buick made a wide turn at the intersection, nearly hitting the squad car, then continuing south on Elm.

Levchek gave chase and stopped it at Columbia Ave.

When asked for his driving credentials, the motorist, Edward Sallustro, 64, of North Arlington, reportedly handed Levchek several business cards and a health insurance card.

After failing field sobriety tests, police said, he was arrested and taken to HQ , where he refused to take an Alcotest, citing the Fifth [protection against self-incrimination], 14th [the right to due process] and 15th [The right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”] Amendments.

(Editor’s note: The right to vote? For an Alcotest?)

Nevertheless, Sallustro was charged with DWI, DWI within 1,000 feet of a school, careless driving and refusal to take the Alcotest.

• • •

Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

Sept. 26 

Det. Sgt. Robert Maguire interviewed a Pine St. resident who reported that his garage had been broken into sometime within the previous four days. Missing were several thousand dollars’ worth of tools, including two jackhammers, an air compressor, various power saws, a hammer drill and a Honda generator. The case is under investigation, and police are also monitoring pawnshops, eBay and other internet sites, etc., via which the equipment might be sold.

Sept. 27 

At 12:45 a.m., HQ received a report of an erratic driver on Kearny Ave., approaching Midland Ave. Officer Tim Castle checked the license plate number provided and learned it was registered to a white Kia, which he soon spotted at Oakwood Ave., weaving in traffic and with its headlights off.

When Castle stopped the vehicle, he detected an odor of alcohol, police said.

Driver Johana Alvarez, 32, of East Rutherford, was administered FSTs and an Alcotest and was charged with DWI and careless driving.

Sept. 29 

At 6:30 a.m., Officer Steven Hroncich responded to Walmart after store management reported that a cashier they had been monitoring via video had pocketed more than $4,000 in proceeds during the month of September. On the 29th, she had stolen an additional $400, which was found in her possession, police said. Charged with theft was Gerecia Clark, 21, of Hillside.

Sept. 30 

Officer Levchek was on patrol at Passaic and Johnston Aves. at 8 p.m. when his license-plate reader advised him that a passing vehicle had a suspended registration. After stopping the 2002 Honda, he also learned that the plates belonged on a Nissan. Elmer Martinez, 20, of Elizabeth, was charged with driving while suspended, being an unlicensed driver, using fictitious plates and operating an uninsured vehicle. The car was impounded.

• • •

At 9 p.m., Vice Squad officers, having knowledge of an earlier drug transaction, stopped Michael Franqui, 37, of Kearny, at Chestnut and Dukes Sts. and confiscated two plastic bags of suspected cocaine. He was charged with possession of the drug and of drug paraphernalia.

Oct. 1 

At 5 p.m., Sgt. Peter Gleason and Officers Jay Ward and Malinda Esposito responded to Windsor St. near Bergen Ave. on a report of a man threatening bodily harm to a 45-year-old Kearny woman. Upon the cops’ arrival, the suspect fled on foot but was chased down and caught at Afton St. William Murray, 52, of Kearny, was arrested for making terroristic threats and was remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $10,000 bail.

– Karen Zautyk 

Am I worried? Not if I don’t turn on the news …


Confronted with the widespread chaos and hardship around the globe, every time I pick up a newspaper or listen to the news on various media, I invariably want to bury myself in a good book or watch an old movie or sports event as a welcome distraction.

Or take a retrospective look back into a seemingly simpler time in my youth: remembering my paternal grandfather – a self-employed tailor who had somehow found the courage to uplift himself and his family from a village in Russia at the turn of the last century – and start life over again in the U.S.

At home, after a full day at his tailor’s bench, he liked to kick back by sipping a glass of tea flavored with a white sugar cube and playing checkers with his grandson. I don’t remember every seeing him excited or flustered about anything.

But in today’s fast-paced world, there seems to be a crisis every moment: the spread of Ebola, global warming, drought in California, the continued deforestation of the Amazon, the slaughter and/ or displacement of civilians in Syria, Somalia, Gaza, drone attacks conducted by the U.S.

The tabloids decry the beheadings of journalists and aid workers by the ISIS extremists and Obama calls on the U.S. and its allies to send troops as “advisers” to the Iraqi military.

It wasn’t that long ago that the U.S. was invading Iraq and decrying the dictatorship of Syria’s Assad regime and now the tables have turned.

Witness the American support of the new post of “chief executive” in Iraq – a position not included in the country’s constitution but inserted as a way for the U.S. to prop up a puppet government there.

And our presence in Afghanistan – on the heels of Russia – only helped feed the insurgents’ cause to kick out foreign invaders, in turn, kindling an even more violent reaction by the extremist Islamic State.

Obama says it’s up to America – with the most powerful fighting force in the world – to “lead” but to not be the world’s policeman every time. That poses an interesting dilemma: how do you “lead” without managing to impose your political agenda or military might?

I reasoned with a politically aware friend that perhaps we – with our allies, whoever they turn out to be – have a moral obligation to send boots on the ground into the Middle East to defeat ISIS, just as we did in World War II to stop Hitler. He disagreed on the grounds that we’ve had a habit of not opposing overseas dictatorial atrocities in the name of political expediency.

I can’t argue with that proposition but I feel it doesn’t excuse not taking action now to quash a force set upon the destruction of anyone who, in their eyes, fails to conform to the rules of the Caliphate they wish to set up as the only law of the land. It’s a call to arms that has attracted believers from Europe and the U.S.

Meanwhile, maybe we’ll find a way to intervene in Hong Kong where youthful demonstrators look to apply democratic principles to overturn Beijing’s rules on how presidential candidates are to be selected. The irony there, the N.Y. Times tells us, is that local merchants – already preyed on by gangs taking a piece of the profits – have joined pro- Beijing thugs in removing the protestors’ Occupy Central tents from the clogged retail district.

Things have gotten so strange that states like California and New York have passed legislation mandating “clear assent” to sexual relations between students in the state university system, as a response to the hundreds of rape cases reported on campuses, coast to coast.

It’s enough to send me to the Mets’ clubhouse to cheer up Sandy Alderson. After all, he just got a new 3-year deal to make that team into a contender again.

When you compare that mission to everything else going on in the world, it’s a cinch.

– Ron Leir 

So ‘hungry’ for news, he takes a whole bundle, cops say

An East Orange man has been booked as a serial newspaper stealer in Nutley. On Sept. 30, Hertilus Duvelsaint, 57, was issued a summons for theft and a warrant for eluding police along with several motor vehicle tickets after Nutley police officers say they caught him with the goods.

During the early morning hours, as cops conducted a surveillance of a Centre St. store where prior newspaper thefts had been reported, police said they observed a man, later identified as Duvelsaint, approach the store and take the stack of Star Ledger newspapers delivered there.

Police said the suspect placed the papers in a 2003 4-door silver Toyota and drove off, ignoring officers’ orders to stop. Police said he “accelerated … and continued to flee [while] failing to yield to officers’ vehicles and several red traffic signals.”

The Toyota was finally halted, about a mile west of the crime scene, at Centre St. and Povershon Ave.

Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari said that police have linked Duvelsaint to at least four previous newspaper thefts at the same Centre St. spot on July 23 and Sept. 15, 17 and 24, on the strength of video surveillance providing the suspect’s vehicle make and model and a description of the suspect.

Police surmise that Duvelsaint’s plan was to sell the papers on his own and pocket the assets.

Montanari said that other newspaper thefts have been reported at another Nutley location including one on Aug. 28 in which 400 papers, valued at $400, were taken, “but so far we’ve been unable to trace those crimes to this suspect.”

Meanwhile, Duvelsaint – who, according to Montanari, has declined to provide police with any explanation for taking the papers on Sept. 30 – remains free, pending a court appearance, after posting bail, which was set at $2,500 with a 10% cash option.

In other episodes logged during the week ending Oct. 3, the Nutley PD responded to 50 medical calls, 23 motor vehicle crashes and these incidents:

Sept. 27 

An Oakridge Ave. motor vehicle stop resulted in the arrest of Darren Gutierrez, 21, of Nutley, on charges of possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, possession within 1,000 feet of a school, possession within 500 feet of a park and possession of CDS in a motor vehicle. Gutierrez was released, pending a court date, after posting a 10% cash option on $25,000 bail.

Sept. 28 

Ryan Smith, 30, of Hoboken, was stopped by police while driving on Harrison St. for a warrant from Hackettstown. He was also ticketed for alleged violations of unlicensed driver and maintenance of lamps and turned over to Hackettstown PD.


Someone took a silver mountain bike that its owner had placed behind some bushes in front of their doorstep on Passaic Ave. The owner told police he’d been hoping to buy a lock for the bike.

Sept. 29 

A tenant in a Chestnut St. apartment building reported that the common door to the building had been forced open. Police checked the interior doors and an unlocked storage area but found nothing disturbed.


An apparent fraud victim reported to police that they were mailed an invoice for an online poker credit owed to a Bank of America account. Police advised the victim to contact the bank to resolve the issue.


About two weeks after Nutley PD had charged Martin Lucas, 48, of Newark, at Vreeland and Hillside Aves. in connection with an alleged narcotics transaction involving crack cocaine, Lucas was arrested again on a similar charge – this time in Garfield. Police said Lucas was nabbed at 1:49 a.m. after allegedly pounding on a resident’s door and shouting threats. Police said they found a crack pipe and drug paraphernalia on Lucas when they searched him. He was released on a summons pending a court date.

Sept. 30 

Police responded to a Whitford Ave. residence on a report of an attempted burglary. The residents told police that the front door had what appeared to be pry marks near the handle and exterior locks and that the door wasn’t locking properly. It appeared that no entry had been made nor was anything taken, police said.

Oct. 1 

Someone swiped a cement planter from in front of a Chestnut St. house, the owner told police. The planter, green with a Roman flower design on the outside, had plants in it, weighed more than 50 pounds and was valued at about $70.


Someone damaged the front steps of Building C in a Passaic Ave. condominium complex, it was reported to police. The vandalism occurred sometime between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., police said.

Oct. 2 

Police responded to an attempted burglary reported at a Franklin Ave. location. A realtor who, police said, is showing the building to prospective occupants, showed officers that the bottom of the front door had pry marks and that the glass in the door was broken. No one got inside, however. The building was secured and detectives were alerted.

Oct. 3 

Someone removed the passenger side mirror from a Coeyman Ave. resident’s vehicle, police said. A piece of the mirror was found in the driveway. The owner told police that four teens were seen inside a 4-door silver sedan driving through the area during the night.

– Ron Leir  

Netflix has made watching TV unnecessary and frustrating


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

So you’ve got to wait a while before you can watch your favorite shows. It’s worth it, frankly, if you’re a Netflix subscriber — and if you haven’t subscribed yet, you’re truly missing out.

There are numerous reasons why for me, TV is not the way to watch shows anymore. But perhaps the biggest reason is the lack of commercials. There aren’t any on Netflix streaming — and I can say, with ease, it’s been a few years since I last watched a commercial.

But it’s something well beyond the commercials that makes Netflix so appealing.

Perhaps most notably, it’s the original programming that has made the streaming service a must-have.

There are numerous shows the service now offers, but the three biggest — “Orange Is The New Black,” “House of Cards” and “The Killing” are perhaps three of the best shows out there, period. And aside from the first three seasons of “The Killing,” which did air on regular TV, none ever have to be seen with annoying breaks.

“Orange Is The New Black” is the real-life story of Piper Kerman, a Connecticut woman who spent 18 months in prison after she was charged and convicted of helping her friend smuggle illicit narcotics.

“House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, is based on a British show of the same name, with an American twist, and follows the highs and lows of a man who went from being a member of the House of Representatives, to vice president to the president of the United States.

Netflix.com The cast of ‘The Killing.’

The cast of ‘The Killing.’


And “The Killing,” easily the best of the of the three shows, is an extremely dark drama that follows two fictional Seattle police detectives who are responsible for some of the most brutal crimes imaginable.

Another reason why these shows are as popular as they are likely stems from the ability to binge-watch them.

Whenever a new season is ready, Netflix releases the entire season’s episodes on the same day.

And what that does, essentially, for those who choose to binge-watch, is create more of a 12- or 13-part full-length feature than it does an episodic show.

When the episodes of each of the three shows were last released, I watched each in a matter of two to three days. The shows are so good, it’s next to impossible to stop watching.

I wasn’t going to do it this way initially. But the shows are that good.

And yet there’s a problem for most viewers when shows like “Orange,” “Cards” and “The Killing” end — you find yourself feeling lost, sad almost, that it could be a year or more before more episodes are available.

That, of course, is driven by the notion that generally, there are 12 or 13 episodes a year. (The fourth and final season of “The Killing” only had four episodes).

But that’s what makes the shows so intensely good. Having about half of a normal season’s worth of episodes ensures that each successive season gets better. The shows’ popularity grows. It’s almost impossible to get sick of the shows.

The biggest drawback to the Netflix shows is that the streaming company does not release statistics on how many people watch the shows. So it becomes impossible to make solid comparisons to shows on terrestrial television. But it doesn’t seem to matter — because “Orange” and “Cards” have each been nominated for Emmy Awards.

Imagine that? Shows that have never aired on TV have gotten Emmy nominations — they’re that good.

Beyond the original programming, so many other TV shows are available for streaming. I became enamored with “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The West Wing” after watching each episode of the series on Netflix.

And there wasn’t a single commercial break.

So the bottom line is the $8.99 a month cost is well worth it for fans of TV shows who just don’t have the time for commercials. And best of all, every new subscriber gets the first month for free.

So if you’ve been unsure of whether subscribing to Netflix would be worth it, waver no more — it’s worth every penny you’ll spend if you’re ready to watch.


Kevin Canessa Jr. can be reached at kevincanessa@ gmail.com. 

Sushi Samba is worth the trip to the West Village


By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 


If you’re a fan of sushi — but don’t like being limited to just sushi when you go out to eat — Sushi Samba in New York City’s West Village is the place to go. Better yet, if you like a mix of Brazilian and Peruvian food, you’re going to fall in love with Sushi Samba quicker than you could imagine.

The first Sushi Samba opened in New York City in 2000, when one of the owners, a frequent visitor to Sao Paolo, Brazil learned that Sao Paolo had the largest concentration of Japanese people outside Japan, according to the restaurant’s general manager Joe Ofmani. Back then, the owner decided he wanted to fuse a love for sushi with the incredible cuisines of Brazil and Peru.

And from there, things took off.

There are now other locations in London, Las Vegas, South Beach Miami and Coral Gables, Fla. (home to the University of Miami).

Dining at any of the locations, but most notably in New York, is like nothing you’ll experience elsewhere, Ofmani says.



“And that’s because we like people to really enjoy the whole experience at Sushi Samba,” Ofmani said. “We want our guests to experience the menu and the atmosphere. We ask our guests what they like and don’t like. So what ultimately happens is our diners will enjoy sushi and hot food together.”

Ofmani says the concept at Sushi Samba is to “share a little of a lot of food.”

“It’s family style,” he said. “And our patrons really enjoy it that way.”

But it’s hardly just the food that contributes to the whole experience at Sushi Samba. Every Friday and Saturday night, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., there’s a DJ on hand to play what Ofmani calls “Samba House” music.

“There’s a lot of drum and bass sounds,” Ofmani said. “It really contributes to a great atmosphere.”

That atmosphere is spread over two entire floors, as well.

There’s a huge dining area that includes an incredibly big bar (see above photos). And, the second floor includes a completely outdoor dining experience with New York City views.

“If the weather is good, it’s a great way to experience Sushi Samba,” Ofmani said.

Ofmani says there are two happy hours at Sushi Samba every day of the week except Saturdays. The first is from 4 to 7 p.m., and the second is from 11 p.m. until closing. There are a lot of drink specials — and that includes the city’s largest selection of the Japanese drink sake.

Sake is made from fermented rice, Ofmani says, and its creation process is similar to the preparation of beer.

“We pair it with the types of food people decide to order,” Ofmani said. “It’s a lot like how wine is paired with different foods. There are many kinds to choose from.”

So just how good is Sushi Samba?

Lots of celebrities have dined there over the years.

You never know if you’ll bump into former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, or Jamie Foxx, Alyssa Milano, Willow Smith, Lindsay Lohan — or a host of others who have repeatedly returned to the restaurant.

And, not too long ago, chefs from the restaurant appeared on “Good Day New York” with Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto.

So if you’re looking for a great meal and want the entire New York City experience, give Sushi Samba a try. Chances are by the time you get home, you’ll be stuffed and planning another visit to the place in the not-too-distant future.

ShopRite of Lyndhurst aids food banks

Food Drive_web

ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, recently collected donations to help fill the shelves of community food programs. The “Help Bag Hunger” event, held every September as part of National Hunger Awareness Month, included community leaders and groups committed to highlighting the need for food assistance in their neighborhood.

ShopRite associates and community volunteers partnered to collect non-perishable items and monetary donations for food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, child-care centers, battered women’s shelters, senior citizens programs, drug rehab centers, programs for the mentally and physically disabled, after-school programs and other organizations that aid those in need.

“Help Bag Hunger” is part of the ShopRite Partners In Caring program. Since its inception in 1999, more than $27 million has been donated to 1,700 hunger relief agencies in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Around Town


Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., offers the following programs. No registration is required.

• Storytime for toddlers and preschoolers is offered, starting Oct. 8, and every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

• Pajama Storytime is held on Tuesdays, Oct. 14, Nov. 18 and Dec. 9, all at 6 p.m.

• Saturday crafts are planned for Oct. 11, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13, all at 3 p.m.

• Children’s computer classes on Microsoft Word and online research skills is available by appointment. To make an appointment, call 973-450-3434.

Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade will step off Sunday, Oct. 12, with special guest Kacy Catanzara of “American Ninja Warrior,” a sports entertainment competition series. Catanzara will kick off the parade at School 7 at 1:30 p.m.

All civic associations, classic cars and motorcycle clubs are invited to participate in the Belleville Veterans Day Parade slated for Sunday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. Those interested may contact Bill Steimel at 973-759-4692 (home) or 973- 955-7211 (cell) no later than Oct. 17.


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., hosts a program on hypnosis with certified hypnocounselor Kathy Lindert on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m. Oakeside

Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave., announces the following events:

• A Garden of Pink Dedication celebrating the center’s “Sponsor a Tulip” program for its Breast Cancer Awareness garden is slated for Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. A one-time $25 fee buys a bulb and assures its care.

• Children ages 3 to 9 are invited to “Party with the Great Pumpkin” and enjoy snacks, crafts and a chance to take a picture with the pumpkin on Oct. 18 at 11 a.m. Reservations are required. For tickets, reservations or information, call 973-429- 0960.


Mayor James Fife and Harrison Town Council announce its second annual Harrison Community Day on Saturday, Oct. 11, in the library park and soccer court. The event begins at Guyon Drive and Peter Higgins Blvd. (Red Bull Arena) with a walk for Autism Speaks, starting at 10:15 a.m. Registration for the walk begins at 9:30 am. The event also includes a children’s soccer tournament and a Health and Business Expo.

A rummage sale is slated for Saturday, Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Church (lower basement), 16 Church Square.


The Kearny Fire Department will host an Open House on Sunday, Oct. 12, noon to 4 p.m., at Fire Headquarters, 109 Midland Ave. View the fire apparatus and equipment, meet the firefighters and see live demonstrations, including a “Jaws of Life” automobile extrication. A Fire Safety House from The Burn Center at St. Barnabas and the Fire Sprinkler Burn Trailer will also be there. There will be free handouts and light refreshments.

The Woman’s Club of Arlington meets on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. at The Girl Scout House, 635 Kearny Ave.

The Salvation Army of Greater Kearny, 443 Chestnut St., offers classes in basic computer skills plus Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The fee is $30 for 12 hours of instruction. For more information, call 201-991-1115 or Pete at 201- 889-1352.

Good Shepherd Church, 780 Kearny Ave., will conduct a blood drive, in conjunction with New Jersey Blood Services, Oct. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Grace United Methodist Church, 380 Kearny Ave., sponsors a turkey dinner Friday, Oct. 17, from 5 to 6:45 p.m. Admission to the dinner is $10 but there is no charge for a live auction beginning at 7 p.m. Dinner tickets may be purchased at the door. Takeout orders will be available. For more information, call 201- 991-1132.

Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., will offer free nobake cooking classes for ages 4 to 8, every Wednesday, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., beginning Oct. 22. The class will meet for four weeks. Recipes will take food allergies into consideration. Space is limited. To reserve a spot or for more information, call 201-998-2666.

The Rosary Society of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 136 Davis Ave., sponsors an Oktoberfest, with live music and food, Friday, Oct. 24, in the church basement. (BYOB). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $25. For tickets, call 201-991-2808 or 201-998-4616.

A Doggie Halloween Parade and Festival, sponsored by the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone program, is set for Saturday, Oct. 25, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Arlington Depot Park, off Midland Ave., between Forest and Elm Sts. Dogs can be registered for a costume contest. Current dog license and proof of rabies vaccine are required. Forms are available at www.kearnynj.org, the KUEZ office at 410 Kearny Ave., or K-9 corner, 169 Midland Ave. For more information, call 201-955- 7985 or email Halloweenpawrade@ kearnynj.org. All dogs either attending or participating in the festival must be leashed.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1302 and American Legion Post 99, in conjunction with the Kearny Police and Fire Departments, host Octoberfest Saturday, Oct. 18, noon to 6 p.m., at Veteran’s Field, Bergen Ave. and Afton St. Proceeds will be used to send items to send N.J. National Guard soldiers deployed overseas. Bring non-perishable items to send to troops. The event features live music, food and displays from both the Kearny Fire Department and the N.J. National Guard. Vendors and sponsors are needed. Contact the post at 201-991-9645.


ShopRite of Lyndhurst, an Inserra Supermarkets store, 540 New York Ave., hosts the following free programs, each led by in-store registered dietician Julie Harrington, R.D. Advance registration is not required, unless otherwise noted. For more information or to pre-register for a program, contact Harrington at 201-419-9154 or email julie. harrington@wakefern.com. ShopRite’s retail dietitians can serve as guest speakers/ instructors at wellness events hosted by local organizations.

• Walking Club, a one-mile trek through the store, starting at Dietician’s Corner, is held every Thursday at 8 a.m. Membership cards and prizes are awarded to all participants.

• Flu-Fighting Foods, an opportunity to learn and taste foods that will help keep you healthy during cold and flu season and all year-round, is offered on Thursday, Oct. 9, noon to 2 p.m.

• Produce Pick presents Harrington preparing a new dish featuring October’s produce pick on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and 21, noon to 2 p.m.

• Cooking Class with Chef Joe will help you learn how to cook up a healthy dish on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 1 p.m. Recipe cards will be available. Pre-registration is required.

• Fall Harvest Cooking Class teaches how to use fall’s fresh bounty to prepare a delicious and nutritious meal on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

• Scary Facts about Sugar are shared at the Dietitian’s Corner on Thursday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• High Fiber Friday at the Dietitian’s Corner explains how to meet your fiber requirements on Friday, Oct. 24 and 31, noon to 2 p.m.

• Soups and Stocks Cooking Class offers tips on how to make a tasty stock and a new soup recipe on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Pre-registration is required.

Lyndhurst Public Library, 353 Valley Brook Ave., hosts the following events:

• Fit4Kids Magic Show is open to ages 3 to 10 Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 3:30 p.m.

• “Belinda Bumble Bee” author Jennifer Katafigotis meets with children ages 3 to 10 Wednesday, Oct. 22, 4 to 4:30 p.m. Registration is required for both events. To register, call 201-804-2478.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst sponsors a children’s Tricky Tray Oct. 18, at the Senior Building, 250 Cleveland Ave., at noon. Tickets are $5. For tickets, call Janet at 201- 935-1208.

Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., hosts a dinner and osteoporosis seminar Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m., at the Senior Center, 250 Cleveland Ave. Call 201-804-2500 to register.

 North Arlington  

Queen of Peace Rosary Society sponsors a Tricky Tray Friday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m., at San Carlo Fine Caterers, Lyndhurst. The $40 admission includes a four-course dinner and one sheet of small prize tickets. Among the prizes are gift baskets, gift certificates and more. Grand prize values start at $500, which includes an iPad and much more. For more information and tickets, call Betsy at 201-997-3914 or Pegeen at 201-246-1030.

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Road, offers the following programs:

• A lecture on coin collecting will be held Saturday, Oct. 11, at 11 a.m.

• An SAT practice test open to grades 9 and up is offered Saturday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.formstack.com/ forms/?1774866-DWur9MjZPt.

Note that the library will be closed to the general public after 1 p.m., as usual and will only be open for students taking the practice test.

• Story Time for ages 2 to 5 is held every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m.

• Pumpkin Decorating is available Tuesday, Oct. 14, for kindergarten to grade 5. Registration is required. To register, call 201-955-5640, ext. 126.

• Music and Craft for ages 2 to 5 is held Thursday, Oct. 9, at 11:45 a.m.

• Young Adult Movie Day features a screening of “The Fault in Our Stars” for grades 6 and up Friday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m.

• Teen Girls Group, moderated by a licensed social worker, is offered for grades 7 to 12 Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 3:30 p.m.

• Tween Book Club, open to grades 4 to 7, meets Thursday, Oct. 16, at 3:30 p.m.

• Origami, open to grades 4 to 7, is held Friday, Oct. 17, at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, call 201-955-5640.

North Arlington Elks, 129 Ridge Road, hosts a fish fry Oct. 10, 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is $12. Shrimp cocktail and clams on the half-shell will also be available for $5 for a half-dozen and $8 for a dozen.

The Senior Harmony Club of North Arlington sponsors a trip to Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Tuesday, Oct. 21. Cost of the trip is $25. Attendees will receive $30 in slot play and $5 for food. Nonmembers are welcome. For reservations or more information, call Florence at 201-991-3173.

Woman’s Club sponsors a beefsteak fundraiser Friday, Oct. 24, 7 to 11 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus hall, 194 River Road. Tickets are $40. Proceeds benefit various local charities. For tickets and more information, call Christine at 201-577-1088 or Fran Sardoni at 973-818- 6421.


The Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive, offers the following programs.

• For children:

• Drop-In Craft is open to all ages every Saturday while supplies last. Drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

• Teen Book Club meets Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 3:30 p.m.

For adults:

• Conversational ESL meets every Wednesday at 10 a.m. No registration required.

• Wednesday Afternoon Knitters meets weekly at 1 p.m. Bring your own supplies.

• Play Bridge at the library every Tuesday at 1 p.m. No registration required. For more information, on any program, call 973-667- 0405

The Tri-County Camera Club meets Tuesdays two-to-three times per month in the teacher’s cafeteria at Nutley High School, 300 Franklin Ave., at 8 p.m.Beginners and advanced photographers are welcome. For more information and a full schedule of meetings, visit: tricountycameraclub.com.