April 12, 2024
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April 12, 2024
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Teaneck Jewish Haunted House to Open

Teaneck—Move over, World of Wings. You’re no longer the strangest tourist attraction in town, with your huge beetles wearing little outfits pinned to the wall just across from the snack bar. The country’s first exclusively Jewish Haunted House is set to open on the southwest corner of West Englewood Avenue and Queen Anne Road.

“This community is so rich with heritage,” said Mordechai T. Chew, founder and executive director of the Teaneck JHH. “In particular, few communities are as rich as Teaneck in restaurants that have gone out of business.”

That’s why, Chew said, the JHH will initially feature ghosts of Teaneck eateries that are no longer.

“Remember the Burgers Bar? That ghost is Israeli, and is constantly lamenting how no one liked garlic mayonnaise here, even though it’s a smash in Israel,” Chew said. He’ll perform his soliloquy in an original booth from Burgers Bar, complete with wooden backboards and holograms of long ago half-eaten homemade potato chips.

The haunted house will have a special section dedicated to ‘factory’ ghosts. “No one really ever met the Appetizer Factory ghost, because it was in business for like a minute. But everyone really, really loved the Pasta Factory’s ghost, who got kicked out of its location because she talked about its delicious dairy offerings all the time. That just didn’t sit well at the very fleishig NoBo Grill,” Chew said. Joining the Pasta Factory’s display will also be the ghost of Santuro’s, the Pasta Factory ghost’s “bff,” who also constantly talks about dairy to the exclusion of everything else.

Also being featured are several ghosts from Teaneck’s “other” restaurant row: Cedar Lane. “We’ve got Mabat’s ghost, a slightly uppity French middle eastern ghost, who only eats dinner, not lunch or breakfast. And of course our favorite—Fish of the ‘C’’s ghost is a carefree Californian who got really good at telling everyone how to make Manhattan fish chowder,” said Chew. “The key is to use both fresh and smoked salmon chunks,” C’s ghost intoned.

Jerusalem Pizza’s ghost is not yet available at the JHH, but Chew assures the public that he is currently being recruited. “The Jerusalem Pizza ghost is so busy making sure that all the pizza stores in our community have the same flavors, same menu, same energy and same friendly service, that I’m not sure he’s available,” Chew said.

The oldest ghost is Phibble from Phibbleberry’s Bakery and Café. It’s been almost 25 years, but he says, “We are immortal because they still talk about my chocolate cheese ruggelach. And yes, they were milichig, too!”

The ghost of Tabatchnik’s, Teaneck’s first kosher eatery, is so far gone, we can’t even find him.

Also haunting the JHH will be the ghost of Hunan Teaneck, who has recently decided to stop haunting the same location of Chai Ko Tapas because it’s “just too fancy,” Hunan’s ghost said.

“I am just a simple Chinese food ghost; I don’t even know what tapas is,” he said.

Another ghost from long ago that many Teaneck residents may remember is from Fliegel’s, whose was forced to haunt the similarly-styled Kosher Castle fast food restaurant on Route 59 in Monsey. “Ugh, the commute was a nightmare,” she said. “Did you know there’s a mechitza on the bus? But other the other hand, I never missed maariv!”

One disappointing part of the Haunted House’s first set of haunters is that Chew was unable to secure an Indian-Jewish ghost. “At first, Shalom Bombay’s ghost was totally hired. We had him under contract, but then BAM! The restaurant went back into business and pulled him back in. That was a complete surprise,” said Chew.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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