The column that says the place to be Sunday, Jan. 8, at 4 p.m. is the Bridgeton Library where Zoe (pronounced Zoey) Mulford, from Manchester, England, after growing up in Pennsylvania and visiting Bridgeton on holidays, will sing original folk songs written by her while playing the guitar and five-string banjo, like she did on 92.1 FM today, with the library date being a fundraiser.
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM WVLT Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: RA13815980
Google all columns at jackhummelblog
Happy New Year, friends!
Give thanks for making it through another year because a lot of people didn’t.
“I think the food truck idea for Bridgeton is more wishful thinking. But if they’re gonna do it, put them on the empty, formally Hillcrest, lot.
“It’s right across the street from the County Court House. Built in clientele, lawyers, police, defendants and criminals.
“Yea! Hot dogs and tacos. Eh … .”
— Alex Calabrese
“I really don’t care where they go at this point.
“I’ll be happy as long as it happens sooner than later and it fills the void of varied food eateries in the downtown center city area.”
— Jorje Romero
A TGIFriday inside the courthouse would be better, especially with an outside entrance.
We assume there are street food trucks and there are the Cadillacs of food trucks with high class food you can’t pronounce.
They’re talking different cuisine each day.
But, here’s a tip: They asked for applications from such trucks for spots in the city park and no one responded.
If the ice cream truck rang its bell outside the courthouse, would the place empty and the trials recess?
Has anybody in the city even done a survey on where courthouse employees eat?
Wouldn’t that be the first step?
Let’s go though with the large-scale seafood restaurant Everett Marino wanted to build where the boat ramp on Broad Street is now.
The place where there was waste from a gas station and the city told Marino to pay $75,000 for the clean-up.
Marino said, clean this!
A little history.
June 11, 2000
New York Times
Terrifying as thoughts of the coming season are, it does have a couple of zeniths. (I know, it’s impossible to have more than one zenith, but with so many nadirs, loosen that syntactical belt a little or you’ll be miserable here.)
Chief among summer zeniths is crab. (Also chief, which I know you can’t have more than one of, is the tomato, to be addressed later.)
And so it was mega-bracing to revisit the Marinos, that most cheerful of restaurant-running families, down at Dill’s Crab and Oyster Bar in Bridgeton, N.J., just at the moment in April when the crabs were about to swim into their deep-fat fryer. Even if you’re an autumnal person, it’s tonic to be around people with a passion for what they do.
And so, to see Everett Marino stirring his and his brother Earl’s special crab jus in Dill’s narrow kitchen on a bustling Friday night at dinner time — a crowd of noisy diners just outside in the restaurant, quaffing beer under a replica of a huge shellacked Great White — instantly got me over my pre-summer doldrums. First cousin Phil is behind the bar, Aunt Frances is in the anteroom, Shirley is in the kitchen and Patsy waits on tables. In fact, there are so many Marinos and Marino Relatives (not to be confused with the Miami Relatives, the new rock band) that you can’t swing a dead catfish without hitting one.
Attention ladies and gentlemen
Please watch your language,
This is a family restaurant
Not a truck stop
(Sign on wall at Dill’s)
”Daddy’d always say, ‘Don’t come to work with your hands in your pockets, don’t ever let me see you sitting down and don’t call people older than you by their first name,’ ”Everett says affectionately about his father, Everett Sr. ”We were expected to be at a half run the whole day.”
From the look of things, they still are. Nancy, Everett’s wife, who runs the takeout counter by day and puts out fires at night, rushes in to command, ”Three Italian clams!” — three orders of steamed clams accompanied by linguine and crab jus. The cook, Cruz (one of the few nonfamily members), wraps 18 clams in a small cheesecloth net that looks like a snood, tosses them into the industrial steamer and, after warming the linguine, puts the opened bivalves on top, ladling a little jus over all, and in less than five, Patsy has the three orders out the swinging door.
And just as quickly, oysters Rockefeller, fried crab cakes, wined and buttered scallops, sauteed tilapia, broiled crab cakes, stuffed shrimp (a beauty of a 16-to-20-count jumbo shrimp, one quarter of a crab cake attached, the whole thing deep-fried), more crab cakes, fish, fish, fish, a golden flounder and the most popular dish in the restaurant, Jumbo Lump ‘n’ Linguine (crab meat given the clam treatment), hit the road.
”Want to taste something good?” Everett says, handing me a spoonful of the special family fluid. ”This is the base for all our sauces.” I toss the crab broth down my gullet, and damned if it isn’t good enough to drink as soup. I ask for a cup, which startles them, and sip. Sooooo seafood-sweet. Made with beer! ”Oh, here’s our daughter,” says Nancy, as Gina, in sweatshirt and jeans, scoops up that anomaly, a burger, and rushes back out. ”And Mother still keeps the books for us,” Everett says, looking as though this just might be a mixed blessing.
Everett Sr. bought Dill’s Seafood in 1952, when it was strictly a retailer, and put his family to work. His whole family. ”We’re the only family in New Jersey, all of whose seven members worked together for 40 years,” Everett says proudly. New Jersey? Probably all of America. When Everett Sr. retired in 1971 and left Dill’s to Everett and Earl, the boys took over an old 7-Up factory-warehouse and expanded the business into the wholesale, restaurant and takeout conglomeration it is now.
A friend enters the kitchen and puts a beefy hand on Everett’s shoulder. ”I love this guy,” he says genuinely. ”Come here for my seafood, wouldn’t come anyplace else. Best crab cake in the Western world.”
The smartest thing to do with crabs is pretty much leave them alone. They are so rich and delicate, they’re almost bland. Most cooking errors with crabs are made by trying to make them richer (with cream) or blander (with bread crumbs and flour), or trying to wipe them out (by adding strong flavors like green peppers or bacon). Of course, with a crab cake, as with a good steak, truth prevails — if you don’t have an excellent crustacean to begin with, you might as well tart it up with gobs of mayo and mustard.
Everett pretty much leaves his alone, which is why they’re so good. He nudges me and says, ”Sometimes I leave a little piece of cartilage in there just so the folks know they’re not eating surimi.”
Although the Marinos also steam and juice king crab legs that are pure pleasure, they use blue crabs for their other crab dishes. Blues are the tastiest — and are a plastic surgeon’s worst nightmare, since in the warmer season they literally walk away from their previous skins every new moon, almost like reincarnation. (But what have they learned?) Right now there’s probably some guy out in Los Angeles doing crab-molting research to see if Faye Dunaway and Michael Jackson can be spared one more assault under the knife.
Everett and Nancy’s four daughters all married ”up,” and though two work part time at Dill’s, none want to be in the restaurant biz. This pleases their parents. ”Because of Dill’s, we sent ’em to college so they could do something else,” says Everett. ”We in the fish business know what hours this takes.” He hopes to open up a fish school on the premises so that the next generation will know about seafood and ”won’t be stuck in the fast-food rut.”
It’s 10:30 p.m., and Dill’s kitchen officially shuts down at 10, but a couple of customers straggle in. Though, at 61, Everett is tired (Friday’s the toughest day) and suffers from his second bout of rheumatoid arthritis (the first occurred several years ago when he was oystering, but he went into remission), he agrees to serve them Lump ‘n’ Linguine. The warden from the local prison, who has been chatting in the kitchen for several minutes, chuckles at Everett’s generosity. ”This man will never quit the fish business,” he says. I ask Nancy, ”Would you like him to?” Behind her husband’s back, she nods broadly. ”No, you wouldn’t,” Everett laughs, and ladles some more of that fabulous jus onto the latecomers’ fine lump crab meat.
— Jonathan Reynolds,
Food: Crab Bag
And we let him get away!
No, better yet, put the classy eatery at Sunset Lake while we write the grant for $2 million to deepen the lake to the Pascale Sykes Foundation, as a way of keeping families together.
Let it front on the lake in conjunction with the Donald Rainear Amphitheater, and not that far from the self-contained RV park.
Tuesday night, city council will be asked to approve a request for proposal for professional services for implementation of a city park plan of marketing, advertising, wayfinding signage, business-concession operations, development and branding of venues and amenities.
The plan covers a number of aspects related to the growth and development of the park including branding themes, signage, graphics, concession/kiosk possibilities, sponsorship models, merchandising opportunities, event planning, entertainment and promotional possibilities, marketing strategies, new venue development and other aspects designed to expand (the park) into a more self-sustaining regional destination …
… The order in which the tasks will be completed may vary …
There is only one problem. No one has seen the park plan that is to be carried out. No one has approved a park plan to be carried out.
Planner Cindy Williams provided a concept that included making $2 million the second year. But that was never approved.
A little history
Feb. 28, 2014
Councilman Bill Spence hears people talk about the Cohanzick Zoo as the city park.
Not part of it, but the whole park.
Determined to change that concept and take the park from “great to even greater,” council decided a group of experts was needed to accomplish that.
So, Tuesday night, they brought in Land Dimension Engineering. from Glassboro, to give a presentation.
It lasted just short of three hours.
“Fifty years from now, people will say, ‘Boy, those guys knew what they were doing in 2014,’’’ said Spence before the presentation.
“That’s what the attempt is here today.’’
An hour-and-a-half into the presentation came the sizzle.
After the history of the city park, after the ideas of a walking trail here and sidewalks there and connecting bridges, Cindy Williams took the microphone.
She could be an evangelist.
“What we’re giving the city here tonight are tools,’’ she began.
“These are just suggestions so you can go out and put the park in business with the city.
“We have several brand objectives that have come from our interviews and studies.
“Brand the future of the park if we’re going to get investors interested in putting a business on a space or a mobile concession.
“We have to brand a vision.”
The money concept.
“Then we need to brand the park as a community focal point,’’ said Williams. “The health benefit. The entertainment. The importance the park has to the businesses downtown.
“Brand the park as a regional destination. We can do that again. Attract visitors.
“Brand the park as a business opportunity and stewardship with volunteer and peer groups.’’
She said you can even reach an audience on a national level.
“Our goal is to get Bridgeton City Park designated as an NJ Top 10 Park,’’ she said.
The audience sat up.
Williams said you need the right language after you find out who your audience is.
Exciting language. Combinations of phrases. Present its history as well as its future. The vision of the new plan to develop partnerships.
Wake everybody up.
Example: “Bridgeton City Park and Cohanzick Zoo, located at the foot of an historic downtown, along the windy Cohansey River is home to historic sites, including the Nail House Museum, along the mile-long Lenni-Lenape trails, living history museum, botanical garden, children’s estuary, adventure park, splash pad, water sports and theater, Sunset Lake, fitness trail, open-air market.”
“Some of it is on the vision side, some exists,’’ she said. “Maybe it needs to be cleaned up.’’
Eyes got wider and heads nodded in their seats.
She went on to extoll the benefits of the 360 acres of the 1,100 acres targeted in inviting, must-do language.
Better than Fairmount Park. Better than Central Park.
“We have that kind of potential,’’ she said.
Put it all together with color and graphics with a cool logo with taglines.
It features the Civil War Monument with a white tiger and maybe a high-wheel bicycle.
Emphasize free in the wording — 50 or more things free.
Keep the message positive.
“The park they call home.’’
“For every season, there’s a reason to visit the park.’’
“Tie it into the downtown with winter by saying, ‘Get warm.’
“I say we go all the way with this.’’
Those who left the presentation early will never know the growing fervor they missed.
You could hear Spence’s heart beating faster as Williams delivered the possible future.
“A lot of these plans wind up on the shelf,’’ he said at one point. “We don’t want that to happen here. We want to implement.’’
Spence didn’t know how prophetic his words would be.
“I’ve never been so ready to end a calendar year in my life. Today feels like the almost-end of a really horrible work day. 2016 was cruel to me in ways words can’t really describe.
“I lost my family, the vast majority of the people I thought were my friends, and — for a little while — myself. There were some really dark days in there.
“But the Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for — and through it all, I have hope. I have hope that I will rebuild my life, that people will see through the lies they have been told about me, and that I will continue to serve a purpose in this world.
“For those of you I left, for those of you who left me, and for those of you who tried to keep me down in this God-forsaken year, good riddance. Your character speaks for itself. I woke up this morning. I still want to do good in the world. I’m still here.”
— D. Bailey Miles,
Taking Back Millville
Obviously, steak isn’t the answer. But we’ll find the answer. Sometimes you have to suffer in doing the right thing, and time will bear that out.
YOU CAN BOOK IT: Never let them see you sweat!