I have lived in West Orange for most of my life. My family moved here when I was 3, and my parents still live in our original house. I moved away for a few years in my late 20s and early 30s, but when my husband and I were looking for a new community when I was pregnant with our third child, West Orange fell back into my lap.
Seriously, it was not intentional. I wasn’t like, “I’m definitely living in West Orange when I grow up,” or anything like that. And yet. … Timing and housing being what they were at the time, we found a home in West Orange and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Jewish community here has changed and grown since I was a child, in so many ways. One example is that we now have several Orthodox shuls, as opposed to just one. Another example, and the one that is making me super excited these days, is that there is just so much kosher shopping! Food shopping, specifically.
Jerusalem Restaurant and Super Duper Bagels, both in neighboring Livingston, have been community staples for decades. I highly recommend their margarita pizza and bagel challah, respectively. So good! The West Orange Bake Shop has also been around forever, and is well known even outside the community for its pretzel challah. Let me tell you, their pull-apart challahs are so soft and fresh, and the black and white cookies? The best!
Kosher Village, in both West Orange and Livingston ShopRite, has been around for years as well, and the newest upgrade there is The Shuk, prepared kosher food to go.
Chocolate Works, an amazing place that sells kosher candy of all types and is perfect for Shabbat gifts and so much more, is a more recent addition, as is the amazing Kings Kosher Marketplace, which only recently opened (to rave reviews). The Carvel/Cinnabon, in the Livingston Mall, is also under the Vaad of MetroWest. I know I don’t have to tell you how delicious that is!
Let me go on…
Carvel in West Orange got kosher certification within the last few years and, to the excitement of kosher consumers in town, the long-standing Mark & Julie’s Homemade Ice Cream finally got Vaad supervision this year. (Mark, z"l, please know you are missed by all.) Their ice cream is among the best I’ve ever tasted (especially the chocolate peanut butter—yum!!).
West Orange has had its share of Chinese takeout restaurants over the past 50 years, four (maybe five) by my count. Lucky for us, the best of these is the one that’s there now: Kosher Express. For those of you in Bergen County, you’ll know the name because it’s an offshoot of the original store in Fair Lawn, and just as delicious.
And I can’t forget about the new(ish) kid in town: Holy Schnitzel, in Roseland (which is basically Livingston because it’s five minutes from Kushner). They were amazing during peak COVID and delivered to our area from their Staten Island location multiple times a week. With so much community support, the franchise opened its Roseland location last year. We used them for our son’s aufruf Shabbat, and the food was as amazing as every other time we’ve ordered from them!
If you want a delicious deli sandwich, or other prepared food for Shabbat, Yom Tov or any other occasion, look no further than Reuben’s Glatt Spot. Those of us longtime community members remember when it was called Gourmet Galaxy. I’ll never forget the delicious flavored farmer cheese they had for Pesach! Today, you can stop in for a burger, and if you order in advance, they’ll even make cauliflower crust pizza. (I promise it’s delicious.)
All this brings me to the place I’m most excited about, the newest addition to the local food scene, The West Orange Fooderie. I truly have no skin in the game; I’m just an obsessed local fan who happens to have a forum to gush about my obsession.
The Fooderie opened less than two weeks ago, and already it is the place to shop in town. I may or may not have been there every day since they opened (and twice on Sunday—not joking), and all I can say is that the place makes me so… happy! The shoppers are all smiling, and I have run into people I haven’t seen since 2020 (not kidding). The Jewish community is coming out in force, and I have seen people from outside the Jewish community shopping there as well, which was one of owner Shlomo Gornish’s goals.
I already wrote an article about the coming of the Fooderie (https://bit.ly/3sKhkNo) before it opened, but let me tell you a little about it now that it’s here.
Walk inside and you find grab-and-go drinks, as well as wraps, salads and more, made fresh in the store. Simply Sushi, as anyone familiar with the brand knows, has amazing sushi items prepared fresh daily, and you can also place an order in the store (via the kiosk if you choose). My new favorite is the kani salad, and my son loves the sushi bowl with cut-up pieces of salmon and tuna.
Let’s continue our tour … cut-up fruits and vegetables of all types, fresh fruit and veggies, and then Prime by Ari takes over. What a great selection of meat! And if you don’t see what you want, just ask.
Moving on, you can find prepared fish, chicken, beef, sides and more, courtesy of Main Ingredient of Passaic. I’m pretty sure they have enough of a selection that you can have a different dinner every night of the week, all of it fresh and delicious.
As you make your way back to the front of the store, you’ll find the bagels and pastries. Super Duper Bagels brings all of their products to The Fooderie daily, and you even get challah on Fridays. On Sunday my family got bagel and bialy sandwiches, which were fresh and tasty! They also have wraps, coffee and specialty coffee drinks, frozen drinks, muffins, cookies, brownies, fresh baked pies and—hopefully within the week—freshly made pizza!
In addition to all this, The Fooderie is a regular grocery store and also sells fresh fish. It’s still a work in progress, so if there’s something you want, let them know. As Gornish has said every time we speak, The Fooderie is “here to stay,” and “in it for the long haul.” Music to my ears!
Let me apologize to all the food establishments under the Vaad of MetroWest that I have not mentioned here. I chose to only highlight the Vaad-supervised eateries and supermarkets in West Orange and Livingston. Visit http://www.metrowestvaad.org/#guide for a full listing of all places supervised by the Vaad, including caterers.
Finally, to my friends and neighbors in the area, I implore you to please patronize these local kosher establishments. We are lucky to finally have so many and we want them to stick around. And for those of you in other communities, we invite you to come and shop here. I promise it’s not too far from the Bergen County places you’ve come to know and love. Visit us, and find out what’s so special about West Orange.
Jill Kirsch is the senior editor at The Jewish Link and clearly spends way too much time thinking about food. Back to work, Jill!