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Main Street, South River, NJ

Passadumkeg Jan 12, 2008 12:30 PM

I just wanted to check in about a very pleasant afternoon that my wife and I had while visiting my mom over Christmas. We had some down time so we went for a walk up one side of Main and down the other. First, I must mention, the SR has been going through a generation of decline, but now has a lot of new growth with new immigration (Sorry GW). A new Brazilian grill is about to open and I can't wait to try it on our next visit. There is a Chinese take out that has been there forever and a new Chinese restaurant as well, a Thai restaurant and great little Mexican cafe w/ great tacos, an Egyptian run lunch shop, with a 4 buck gyro, and a separate Egyptian grocery, a Latin supermarket , a great Portuguese bakery. The coup de gras, however are 2 Polish delis and a polish restaurant. One is a goodly sized butcher shop w/ tons of sausages, canned goods, herring and baked goods. The other, across the street, is a smaller version, but has a small alcove, and serves Polish snacks. A new Polish restaurant (BYOB) rounds out the Polanic trio. Note: there is another Polish deli over the bridge on Jerneee Mill Rd in Sayrveille and the Royal Bakery on Washington Rd. Finally, a Polish restaurant on Whitehead Ave. in SR was highly recommended to us. Next time.
From the icy far north, enjoy!

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  1. c
    carl555 Jan 13, 2008 07:58 AM

    My wife and I stopped for an excellent lunch at Ria-Mar in South River last weekend. PAELHA VALENCIANA (seafood, chicken, and sausage) was delicious as was the ARROZ DE MARISCO-SEAFOOD IN RICE PORTUGUESE STYLE. I'm no expert on Portuguese food, but this was much better than the River Mill in Bordentown and I think the equivalent of what I remember of Forno's in the Ironbound 25 or 30 years ago. Where is the great Portuguese bakery?

    1 Reply
    1. re: carl555
      Passadumkeg Jan 13, 2008 09:11 AM

      The bakery is right on Main, a few yards up from Ferry St.(Or when you leave Ria Mar go till hit a T turn left and park.You're there. My best friend's daughter married into the Ria Mar family. Give Costa Verde a try on Rt. 9 in Sayreville for excellent Portuguese too.

    2. d
      DrewBB Jan 13, 2008 08:19 AM

      I've been to the Polish restaurant Krakowiak (sp) about 4 times, although it's been over a year since my last visit. I had the best stuffed cabbage I've ever had there, and I love the Borsht, very light version. Time for another visit I think.....

      8 Replies
      1. re: DrewBB
        Passadumkeg Jan 13, 2008 09:27 AM

        I think I made the post because when I grew up here all the local bars had great Polish food. Ten years ago I wanted to take my Yankee blue blood wife out for Polish food and couldn't find a place in South River. We used to crash Polish wedding parties when in high school to meet girls, drink, eat & dance polkas. Then I couldn't even find Polish food! Even Bosco and Turbac's Diner, an institution, was gone! We wound up at a Polish tavern in Perth Amboy.
        I'm making a big pot of kielbasi borscht w/ garden beets and cabbage for lunches next week and a big pot of kiebasi, pork ribs and kapusta for suppers. Ochen horoshow and dubja, dubja!(good in Russian & Polish)
        Remember: "In heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here!" Famous Polish Polka

        1. re: Passadumkeg
          Jill Brazil Jan 14, 2008 02:08 PM

          My parents grew up in South River. My Grandfather owned Siegel Brothers -- a woman's house coat factory on George St. I have many early childhood memories of the area.
          My father used to play clarinet in Polka bands for the Polish weddings! Sometimes we would go to the weddings -- and yes - I agree with you, they were lively and fun! The area had a really strong family atmosphere filled with food and old world traditions. We often had pierogi and kielbasi in the house due to this influence -- and my grandparents always had seltzer (in those old fashioned bottles) and of course borscht! I too remember the Capital Theater (TE-AY-TOR as my grandfather used to say.) Here's a postcard of the place:

          1. re: Jill Brazil
            Passadumkeg Jan 14, 2008 02:52 PM

            Jill Brazil, He didn't play in Wally and the Polka Dots, did he? I lived in Santa Cruz Bolivia for 4 years and traveled to Bahia. If i die and go to heaven it will be Bahia. We're going to visit my daughter in Austin next month and a Brazilian Churasqueria is high on our list. Our son is in Costa Rica on the west coast, we'll be visiting him in April. If you want an exremely reasonable Bolivian restaurant in Sunnyside Queens, try the saltaenas(they're addictive) at Mi Bolivia. Summers I work as a Maine guide doing multiday sea kayak tours. Not bad for a "Joisey" boy
            ps I do a Latin radio show that can be heard on the world wide web at www.weru.org. Gracias a la Vida is on Sat. mornings from 11:00-1:00. Eschcha mi!

            1. re: Passadumkeg
              Jill Brazil Jan 14, 2008 03:37 PM

              I don't know if he played with Wally and the Polka Dots. I'll ask him the next time I see him. Yes -- Bahia is wonderful. Especially the food! Moqueca de Peixe! Fantastic!
              Yes - go to a Churrascaria in Austin - but to tell you the truth, I have never found any Churrascaria in the US to be anywhere close to the experience that you get in Brazil. If you ever go back to Rio - please go to Porcão or Mariu's Churrascaria.
              If I'm ever in Sunnyside Queens - I will check out your recommendation for the Bolivian Restaurant. Interesting that you also work in tourism! Lot's of connections! best to you! Jill


        2. re: DrewBB
          arpad Jan 20, 2008 09:06 AM

          Just tried Krakowiak last night ! Very good , low prices . I look at it as a successor to Csardas in New Brunswick ... Central European food at reasonable prices . I had the Beef Goulash and my Buddy had the Stuffed Cabbage ... total bill including two sodas and tip was $ 30 !

          BTW has anyone tried the ' European Bakery ' a few doors from Krakowiak ?

          1. re: arpad
            RPMcMurphy Jan 20, 2008 10:26 AM

            No but I tried the new deli across the street last night...I only had to run in for polish Horseradish (not the cheesy golds stuff!) but they were very nice in there...and had this neat little "lounge" area there to eat/drink. I hope this place works out, but with european provisions on OBT, it might be tough.

            1. re: arpad
              Passadumkeg Jan 20, 2008 11:45 AM

              Yea, both places are good. If you want good babka, rye and krushchie, you can get them at the bakery. I do feel, however, that the Royal Bakery on Washington Rd. in Parlin is better. Am I confused, but there is also a a Portuguese bakery a little further down Main too, right? The little cod filled pastries outta be illegal.

            2. re: DrewBB
              jrd303 Dec 19, 2008 08:20 PM

              Krakowiak has a separate menu right now listing christmas specials, Some of it was in Polish. I was in a rush and had no time to ask. I do remember that there were one or two special kinds or pierogi.

            3. r
              RPMcMurphy Jan 13, 2008 02:08 PM

              Well, since I live in South River, and kind of grew up here, (will a short 10 yr childhood stint in Sayreville, down the road from Royal Bakery) I'm partial to everything here.

              Aside from no more Dittmans meat market, we have it all!

              2 very good Portuguese restaurants, Ria Mar and Portuguese Fisherman
              Riddle and Martin sub shop (although not as good as when ol' grumpy man owned it...i swear he couldn't smile for nothing!)
              2 European provisions stores that are excellent!
              I'm not a fan of Krakowaik but like the polish place on whitehead.
              The Thai place on main isn't that great...but who needs Thai when you have Coffaros Pizza!!!
              Jensens Galley is gone unfortunately, but the Mexican place on main is excellent!!

              I haven't been in Bravo market yet.

              What polish deli has a good butcher shop?

              South River is one of those old hidden type towns that I think people are afraid of for some reason because all the houses aren't McMansions and they all look 'different'

              Great school system and my taxes for a decent lot are 2600 a year. Sure we have the ferry street "corner" but I'll take South RIvers main street over any of the surrounding towns any day!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: RPMcMurphy
                Passadumkeg Jan 13, 2008 02:45 PM

                You probably had some of my relatives as math teacher or principal at SRHS(My dad and uncles went to the old HS). My Sayreville stint was near Pulasky & Washington Rds. I still bring the huge loaves of corn rye from the Royal Bakery back up to Maine. Yes I remember the bar and the coin shop catty cornered to Otto's. Vera's Tavern on Whitehead was a relative too. My dad was buried almost 3 yrs ago in St. P&P cemetery. Mr Jensen was my scout master and I can remember when Coffero's(Much better than Spezzi's) had posters of BOTH Drew Pierson AND Joe Theisman(no comment). I am just glad that good old South River once again has a vibrant Main Street. I had my first date at the Capitol Theater to see West Sidede Story. Christ, don't I sound like a nostalgic old Fart!

                1. re: RPMcMurphy
                  albinoni Jan 13, 2008 03:14 PM

                  Years ago, when my parents lived in East Brunswick and my post-college economic situation forced me to move back, I would drive into South River occasionally and was always amazed by the contrast between the uber-suburban monotony of EB and the faded old mill/river town funkiness of South River. Though I live in central Jersey, I'm not really near South River, so I haven't been there lately to see the results of newcomers who have moved in and invested in the town. It's good news.

                  As an aside, I drove through nearby Milltown for the first time in decades a few weeks ago. Some beautiful 19th century buildings in that town. I know they have an issue with the owner of one of the old mansions who wants to demolish it--I hope that the town can overcome the forces of economic greed and preserve their irreplaceable heritage. It's one of the few places where you can see what central NJ looked like in the 19th century that hasn't been Disneyfied.

                2. r
                  RPMcMurphy Jan 13, 2008 02:09 PM

                  For any of you older folks, (i'm a yougin') but, my grandfather used to own Jesse's Tavern next to Ottos on Obert, where Royal BBQ is now.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RPMcMurphy
                    jerzymom Jul 3, 2010 10:28 AM

                    I know your Grandfathers tavern very well... My Mom used too be the barmaid there like 25,30 years ago. It was a fun place and everybody felt like family.

                    1. re: jerzymom
                      Passadumkeg Jul 3, 2010 04:22 PM

                      She probably served me underage.

                  2. r
                    RPMcMurphy Jan 13, 2008 02:45 PM

                    Also the other polish deli, is not on Jernee Mill Rd (unless they opened one I don't know about yet), however, it is on Bordentown ave, which if you take whitehead ALL the way down...its on the right. (where Petes Bar used to be for you older folks)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: RPMcMurphy
                      Passadumkeg Jan 14, 2008 02:14 AM

                      Nope, I know the place in Old Bridge. This is a new Polish Deli in Sayreville.
                      Just go over the bridge from SR, hang a rt. and you're there right in the strip mall w/ Italian, Chinese and Middle eastern restaurants(Go Bombers!). That makes 8 Polish food sources between Sayreville and E. Brunswick(European Provisiona). That's quite a concentration. A correction. The Polich food store next to Beckers(Te Amo?) might just be a deli, but I thought I saw some cuts of meat. But as an escapee from monocultural Maine, I was was distract by all the luscious, rotund, firm and fully packed........kolbasas hanging around the shop. I was as if I were in a foreign country.
                      I think I'll have some herring in sour cream sauce on Polish corn rye, all that I brought back to Maine from SR, for breakfast. Oh yes, as we teach, we have our 4th snow day today, a foot or more and more predicted for Fri. Na zdrovnia!

                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                        RPMcMurphy Jan 14, 2008 05:14 AM

                        Unfortunately, I think Sayreville is more on the decline these days, I'll check out that place on Jernee Mill today and report back. The italian place in that strip mall is excellent for takeout. Great veal for some reason.

                        Royal Bakery in Sayreville is great, I used to live on Johnson Lane, walking distance, and used to frequent a lot. (after the Jon Bon Jovi years!) I believe that they sold the deli part, so no more "Ziggy" Sandwiches.

                        And no one knows Beckers as Te Amo! Blasphemy!

                        The weather men screwed us with a false alarm this morning, so unfortunately, I'm at work.

                        1. re: RPMcMurphy
                          Passadumkeg Jan 14, 2008 06:55 AM

                          Yeh, they know me as the guy from Maine at the Royal Bakery. Next door is an hallal food store and to the left is another pizza joint. Remember Spezzi's? At Christmas, we enjoyed, Costa Verde, Ria Mar bar, Vietnamese on rt 9 in Sayreville, Polish take home, 7 Hills in Highland Park and the good old Sayreville Bar, which seems to be declining under new management. Mom(92!) is about to stay w/ my bro in Las Vegas. We're heading to Austin, and Costa Rica in Feb. and April during our school vacations. I don't think I'll be back to NJ for another feed until school's out in June and bring mom up to Maine to escape the heat.
                          Go eat a kishka for me!

                    2. c
                      cranrob Feb 1, 2008 10:46 AM

                      Does anyone know anything about Cuzco Restaurant on Main St. in South River?
                      We've been looking for some good Peruvian chow, is this a good place?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: cranrob
                        Passadumkeg Feb 1, 2008 11:40 AM

                        Gone! It was good, but a bit overpriced, I feel, and run by Gringos who lived in Peru. It is now another Chinese restaurant which I have not visited.

                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                          cranrob Feb 1, 2008 12:00 PM


                      2. c
                        carl555 Feb 23, 2008 12:03 PM

                        We were in South River again, heading down Whitehead toward Main St when I saw a sign for Polonia Polish-American Restaurant. A quick u-turn and we parked in the strip mall next to the laundromat and sat down for lunch. We started with very good mushroom barley soup and a luscious, indescribable, rich cabbage soup. My wife had a good kielbasa sandwich while I polished off a big Polish sampler: 6 delicious pirogies (2 cheese, 2 sauerkraut, 2 potato), kielbasa, good mashed potatoes, and excellent stuffed cabbage. Must be the place RPMcMurphy mentioned earlier. Very very good.

                        24 Replies
                        1. re: carl555
                          RPMcMurphy Feb 23, 2008 02:19 PM

                          glad you liked it! I live a few hundred feet from there...

                          1. re: RPMcMurphy
                            Passadumkeg Feb 23, 2008 06:36 PM

                            Walk out the door and look left across the tracks to the empty lot; that's where my dad was born and the onion dome church up the street was a big part of my upbringing. Polania is the best around.
                            Dobre piva!

                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                              RPMcMurphy Feb 24, 2008 05:19 AM

                              do you remember the festivals at 7 acres? MMMmmmmmm

                              How old are you again? my mother grew up on northside and my aunt and grandma grew up on whitehead.....

                              grandpa owned Jesse's Tavern on Obert...

                              1. re: RPMcMurphy
                                Passadumkeg Feb 24, 2008 10:23 AM

                                Hell Yes! My grandfather was pres(stardista in Russian) of St. P&P, my dad and uncles were very actove. Dad and 1 unc electricians and 1 unc a plumber. Grandparents had a handkerchief embrodiery shop on Clark St.
                                Just got back from a week in Austin. Gotta go fire up the snow blower!

                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                  yve Feb 24, 2008 12:24 PM

                                  We had takeout last night from Krakowiak--stuffed cabbage, bigos, pierogies, chicken soup, meatballs, beets, red cabbage. Everything was delicious, and inexpensive, as has been mentioned elsewhere. The desserts were outstanding, especially the poppyseed cake and the cheesecake. I don't know who supplies the desserts, but they were definitely made with care and with an emphasis on authenticity--unlike the run-of-the-mill baked goods that predominate in this area.

                                  1. re: yve
                                    bgut1 Jul 11, 2008 05:36 PM

                                    I have to agree with the above posters on Krakowiak. I ate dinner there this evening and everything was excellent. We shared the following: pierogies (meat and potato both fried with onions and bacon and boiled), red borscht (sweet and sour), fried pork chop cutlet, bigos, kielbasa (crispy and perfect) and stuffed cabbage topped with a creamy mushroom sauce. Everything tasted fresh and homemade. The meal reminded me of food my mother used to cook only better. The cost for three exclusive of tip was $39 a true bargain for the amount and quality of food. I wouldn't hesitate to return or recommend. Good Luck.

                                    1. re: bgut1
                                      Passadumkeg Jul 11, 2008 06:20 PM

                                      Yes, I agree. I just cooked Russian (St. P&P) style kolbasa, kapusta w/ pork ribs, pieriogies fried w/ onion, mashed potatoes w/ dill and cuke & onion w/ sour cream salad for a son whose home for the summer.
                                      Hve you tried the Brazilian BBQ on Main?

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                        bgut1 Jul 11, 2008 06:47 PM

                                        Pass - I haven't tried the BBQ yet as Main St is a bit out of the way for me. However, I will definitely try it. Thanks for reminding me of the cucumber with sour cream and dill that came with the pan fried pierogies - creamy, cool and fantastic.

                                      2. re: bgut1
                                        tom246 Jul 11, 2008 07:01 PM

                                        Good report, Krakowiak is a favorite of ours when in that area.
                                        "reminded me of food my mother cooked" sums up this place perfectly.

                                  2. re: RPMcMurphy
                                    Quine Jul 11, 2008 08:17 PM

                                    Hey both my maternal and paternal side have been on Whitehead since labout 1920, the maternal homestead was just sold....hum

                                    1. re: Quine
                                      Passadumkeg Jul 11, 2008 11:32 PM

                                      My dad was born in house that used to be in the empty lot directly across the railroad tracks from Krakowiak. I can remember getting ice at the ice house gthat stood where Krak. now stands. Whitehead Ave used to be called Russian Alley.
                                      Funny, About 5 years ago I wanted to take my New England born and bred WASP wife out for Polish food in SR and there was no place. Now several options.
                                      Has any tried the Russian Restaurant on Rt 18 S. in E. Brunswick? It is just called the Russian Restaurant, is next to A Russian Deli. I'm also curious about the Korean BBQ next to it and there is also an All-You- Can- Eat seafood buffet in the same strip mall. Anyone been? So much to eat, so little time!

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                        arpad Jul 12, 2008 09:43 AM

                                        Slightly off track but a new Hungarian place opened on Main St Woodbridge - where the Polish place was ! Haven't had a chance to try it yet but I heard one of the cooks from Cszardas in New Brunswick is working there .

                                        1. re: arpad
                                          ambrose Jul 12, 2008 01:14 PM

                                          According to the following, Chardas still exists and is at 214 Somerset Street (as of a year ago).


                                          1. re: ambrose
                                            arpad Jul 12, 2008 01:33 PM

                                            Wish it were so ! I went to the Hungarian Festival in june and while the building still stands the restaurant is gone !

                                            1. re: arpad
                                              ambrose Jul 12, 2008 05:16 PM

                                              Damn, this is a huge disappointment. I couldn't find much on the internet but there were a lot of sites giving the address and phone number. One even gave the menu. Remembrances of things past.

                                          2. re: arpad
                                            arpad Aug 18, 2008 04:00 PM

                                            I tried the new Hungarian place in Woodbridge recently . It's on the north side of Main Street about a half block from Rte 35 and is called Little Europa .
                                            It's a nicer place than the Polish restaurant that was there a few years ago . The food is good , tasty and well made . The service however is inept and the prices are relatively high . One odd note is the listing of Small and Large platters for the main courses . I ordered the small platter of white meat chicken paprikas @ $ 14.50 . It was two small pieces of chicken breast served with nudli . The cucumber salad I ordered was $ 3.50 . The palascinta I ordered was $ 4.50 for two small crepes . Overall comparing this place with Krakowiak the quality of food is about the same , the prices and portions at Krakowiak are better - most expensive dish on their menu is $ 13.50 and includes kolbas , stuffed cabbage , hunter stew and pirogi . The cucumber salad is the same portion at half the price . The service at Krakowiak is far more professional . Overall I'm not sure I would return .

                                            1. re: arpad
                                              jrd303 Aug 18, 2008 05:27 PM

                                              I tried this place and most times I hate to speak ill of places, but the Chicken Papikas I had hear was really, really poor. The chicken was dry small and terrible to the point that it ruined the meal.

                                              1. re: jrd303
                                                Passadumkeg Aug 18, 2008 06:12 PM

                                                Hey, I was on Main St. Woodbridge 3 weeks ago w/ one of my sons on the way back from NYC (I'm just a Main St. kinda a guy.)and noticed the Hungarian place had replace the Polish. We went to the train station brew pub. Very impressed w/ the brewskis. Why doesn't NJ have more brew pubs like this?
                                                We like Mai Thai on Main too.

                                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                  arpad Aug 19, 2008 04:49 AM

                                                  You mean J.J.Bitings ?
                                                  Pretty reliable place with a decent bar food menu ! Nice list of beers
                                                  too !
                                                  I agree about the lack of brew pubs ! The next nearest one is Triumph in Princeton I think !
                                                  Don't forget to try that Hungarian Deli on Somerset in New Brunswick !
                                                  Go west past the Hungarian club to Oak st ! The deli is on the corner a little bit set back from the street ! Good kolbas and hurka - both white AND black !

                                                  1. re: arpad
                                                    Passadumkeg Aug 19, 2008 07:25 PM

                                                    There used to 2 or 3 Hungarian restaurants near the Hungarian club. The Americanization of another immigrant group.

                                                  2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                    arpad Sep 6, 2008 01:34 PM

                                                    BTW if you like Mie Thai try Pad Thai on the north side of Highland
                                                    Park 's main street - they serve BEER !

                                                  3. re: jrd303
                                                    arpad Aug 19, 2008 04:45 AM

                                                    The paprikas I had was good but skimpy .

                                                  4. re: arpad
                                                    foodisgoodstuff83 Sep 6, 2008 01:05 PM

                                                    yeah so i tried this restaurant and found the food to be amazing :)
                                                    my friend used to run a restaurant and i undertstand the reason for the high prices is the same reason as everything else, if the food in stores are rising, of course the restaurant has to raise its prices, otherwise it cant make a profit, for people who arent smart and complain, the reason is cause everything else is expensive....the meal actually also contains a LARGE amount of nudli for the chicken paprikas anyways,
                                                    personally i like the pictures on the wall, and how it actually brings you back to the old hungary.
                                                    **jrd-you said "the chicken paprikas i hear..."
                                                    you wont know how it tastes, unless you try the meal for yourself. id ive this place about a 4.
                                                    2. i really miss the csardas restaurant, i would always drop by there when i would go to the hungarian festival, the food really was excellent.
                                                    3.where is this Krakowiaks restaurant??
                                                    thank you

                                                2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                  jrd303 Jul 19, 2008 05:21 AM

                                                  I stopped into the Brazilian BBQ place for lunch the other day. . They have a buffet set up or you can order off the menu. I ordered off them menu.

                                                  The buffet has 12-15 different items including meats. a few different types of beans, rice dishes and vegetable dishes. A local lady who apparently comes for lunch regularly noted how much she enjoyed the cauliflower and how she could make a meal out of it alone. I didn't have the opportunity to try it.

                                                  I ordered a platter that included whipped beans , rice, sausage, and a hard boiled egg. You can also add grilled meat to your order. The choices included chicken, marinated siloin, and chunks of pork (my description not theirs). I chose all of them since I was hungry and would use the left overs for dinner.

                                                  I'm a big fan of beans and I thought the whipped black beans were fantastic and I couldn't stop eating them. Very uniquely seasoned and I could have sworn I tasted a hint of cinnamon I'll be stopping back here for the beans alone. The rice was fluffy, tender, and buttery but not the least bit greasy and portions were huge.

                                                  I thought the sausage was fantastic. Really smoky and really flavorful. I don't eat sausage all that much but I enjoyed this as well.

                                                  The chicken served was a thigh. Solid but hard to describe because I wolfed it down after eating the smoky sausage and the flavor of the sausage was still in my mouth.

                                                  The sirloin chunks were tasty with a bit of garlic coming through. They were cooked medium rare which I prefer/, but if you like it more well done I'd let them know when you order.

                                                  The small pork chunks (sorry I can't describe it better) were on the bone, smoky and delicious. They had a good deal of fat on them but it wasn't a bad thing as it made the meat fall of the bone tender.

                                                  The only thing I was disappointed with was the egg. It was cooked at too high a temp and had the sulfur ring around the yolk and was way overdone. I thought the platter really could have gone from very good to excellent if the egg was cooked properly and there were some fresh herbs on top.

                                                  I appreciated that there were several Brazilian beverages offered. I chose a guava drink.

                                                  The staff was very friendly. I'll definitely come back and I'll feel rude about doing it but I think I'll let them know about the egg. The food was too good to be brought down by something that can be fixed so easily. I'd also like to explore the menu a little more and see what else they have to offer.

                                                  I'd recommend stopping in if your in the area. It's more than just a chicken/ribs/fries place and deserves a try.

                                      2. r
                                        RPMcMurphy Aug 23, 2008 07:31 AM

                                        Since I live in South River, last week, I felt compelled to walk down Main Street, and get menu's and do a little "thing" on Main Street in South River....I took photos or at least posted photos of each place, and I'm kind of keeping a "running post/blog" about it....

                                        Chowhound admins, I'd post here, but its VERY long...with MANY (100+) pictures....and I'm constantly updating it.


                                        BTW - I have to add that I ate at Polonia last night after a loooong drive home from a whitewater rafting vacation in West Virginia....pulled directly into Polonia at 7:45ish, (they close at 8) and they were happy to seat/cook for us! On top of that, we forgot we blew all our remaining cash on tolls, and they didn't take credit....the owner says "ah don't worry about it, you'll be back!" (we did end up scrounging up enough to pay the check/tip).

                                        If anyone has any specific places they want me to go to/get menu's from, etc. let me know....Hope you guys enjoy....and don't critique too much :)

                                        p.p.s. On the other side of the bridge, my Fiance gave a 2 thumbs up to the Sushi place that just opened!

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: RPMcMurphy
                                          Passadumkeg Aug 23, 2008 03:40 PM

                                          Great blog site! Hit the sushi place w/ my kids last month. My 24 year old blond son who just returned from a year in Costa Rica had the waitress in Tapatio charmed. We have to get together next time we visit my mom.

                                          1. re: RPMcMurphy
                                            arpad Aug 23, 2008 03:56 PM

                                            The Krakowiak menu you posted ? Was it a lunch menu ? Reason I ask is the combination platter is around $ 13 now and it was less than $ 8 in the blog .

                                            1. re: arpad
                                              RPMcMurphy Aug 23, 2008 04:42 PM

                                              It was/is the most recent take-out menu I believe. Actually, come to think, I'm not sure if it was an old one from my drawer or one I got when I made that post.

                                              I'll double check next time I'm by and keep it updated. The Polonia combination platter is 13 too, but I think you get a little better value for it at Polonia. (if they raised the price at Krakowiak) The borscht (hot) at Polonia i had that came with the combination platter last night, was worth it alone!

                                              Passa - for sure!

                                              1. re: arpad
                                                RPMcMurphy Aug 23, 2008 05:49 PM

                                                Looking at it....that is the most recent take-out menu. Sit down may be different prices or you're confusing it with Polonia maybe? Polonia's comes with soup, 4 perogies, a piece of kielbasa, a potato, saurkraut, and a BIG stuffed cabbage.

                                                1. re: RPMcMurphy
                                                  arpad Aug 24, 2008 06:23 AM

                                                  No , I'm thinking of Krakowiak . Their platter includes pirogi . stuffed cabbage , kolbas and bigos as well as saurkraut .
                                                  I'm going to try Big Stash' in Linden today just for a comparison .

                                                  1. re: arpad
                                                    Passadumkeg Aug 24, 2008 06:45 AM

                                                    Is there still a good Polish Tavern in Perth Amboy S. of Smith St. maybe around Bertrund Ave & Curtis? I used to go there a lot when South River had no Polish Restaurants. Imagine. But not in the last five years.
                                                    Who stole the kishka?

                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                      arpad Aug 24, 2008 08:27 AM

                                                      Not much Eastern European left in Perth Amboy other than Sipos' Bakery which while still good is on it's last legs !

                                                      That's the National Anthem of South River , right !

                                                      Remember the Knock Knock Polka ?

                                                      1. re: arpad
                                                        Passadumkeg Aug 24, 2008 06:37 PM

                                                        Yes, and "In Heaven there is No Beer!'

                                              2. re: RPMcMurphy
                                                ambrose Sep 6, 2008 01:29 PM

                                                RPMc, really enjoyed your blog site. I need to make an excursion to South River.

                                                I'm thinking you may be able to answer a question. A couple of weeks ago, I was at the farmers' market in Washington, Hunterdon County. One of the vendors, a woman, told me that they were planning to open a Polish restaurant in Washington. Do you know anything about this? I should have followed up with her but did not.

                                                1. re: ambrose
                                                  RPMcMurphy Sep 6, 2008 02:43 PM


                                                  unfortunately I don't know anything about that. If i hear anything I'll be sure to post.

                                                  1. re: RPMcMurphy
                                                    ambrose Sep 6, 2008 04:21 PM

                                                    I stupidly forgot to mention the most important part of my conversation with the woman at the farmers' market - she was from South River. I'm wondering if she is connected with Polonia.

                                                2. re: RPMcMurphy
                                                  MGZ Sep 10, 2008 04:09 PM

                                                  RP - I loved the blog! My grandfather was the SR Cheif of Police for many years (50s through 70s). They lived on Virginia Street. Any time I am in Middlesex County, I like to see the changes in town. There was a point when it was horribly depressing to visit. Now, I applaud the renaissance. Oh, and the twice smoked bacon at European Provisions . . .

                                                3. s
                                                  SusanJab Sep 10, 2008 12:02 PM

                                                  I googled Russian church festival, South River, NJ today and this is where it brought me to.

                                                  South River is my hometown even though I moved away when I was 9. Both my grandmothers have lived there their entire lives and still do as well as a few aunts and uncles and cousins. I visit there weekly if not more. Ria Mar is our family's special place to celebrate as it is for McMurphy who posted to this topic too. We are there for all birthdays, showers, anniversaries and yes, funerals...great place, food and people. Last time I was there I was very drunk on sangria and a shot or two of Almondina! Yikes!

                                                  My question for you is does the Russian "onion" church still have the festival? I have gone many time with my grandmother over the years but not within the last 4 or 5 maybe. I run into childhood friends there and my grandmother always got the best Babka there from the ladies selling it. We would eat the great food, listen to polkas, add to the auction and enjoy the oncoming fall weather! I remember also going to the russian picnic in the fields when I was very young.

                                                  I have been trying to find a dish that my grandmother used to make called Katlyeti? It was a mini meatloaf or large meatball with brown gravy and it was sweet. One of my favorite childhood meals. My grandmother's still live in SR but they do not cook much any longer. My mom still makes kielbasa, homemade pierogis, stuffed cabbage etc. But the Katlyeti eludes me....more russian than polish but still that eastern european :)

                                                  It was great reading all the posts about my ol childhood stomping grounds. It has changed but I still know every crack in the sidewalks and love it dearly.

                                                  Thank you.
                                                  Susan J

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: SusanJab
                                                    Passadumkeg Sep 10, 2008 03:04 PM

                                                    Yes, I took my Russophile son to the St. Peter & Paul's RO Church picnic last July 19 at The Seven Acres and it was a major disappointment. I too grew up there and miss kutleti, but the picnic was all American food except except for kapusta. My son was so dissappointed and so was I. I hadn't been in more than 30 years.
                                                    We used to go to Ria Mar a lot. As a child it was Schaks Hall. Lots of good Polish food in town, but not much Russian.

                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                      arpad Sep 10, 2008 03:18 PM

                                                      BTW St Nicholas Byzantine Church in Roebling had their picnic last sunday ! Live Polka music , good food and drinks and the picnic grove brings back memories of when you could find groves everywhere !

                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                        RPMcMurphy Sep 10, 2008 04:00 PM

                                                        Indeed the picknick at Seven Acres isn't what it used to be. the "festival" at the other church up the hill, is pretty good food-wise though.

                                                        how much you bet if we all met, we'd all recognize each other, or at least one of our family members knows each other. betcha no more than 2 degrees of separation haha.

                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                          MGZ Sep 10, 2008 04:18 PM

                                                          My dad was SRHS '59.

                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                            Passadumkeg Sep 10, 2008 04:22 PM

                                                            Pop was SRHS '36. did your dad have severe acne scars and red hair? SRHS principal and ancient math teacher were cousins.

                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                              MGZ Sep 10, 2008 04:24 PM

                                                              Can Pollocks have red hair?

                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                Passadumkeg Sep 10, 2008 05:18 PM

                                                                Hey, the Vikings were wide ranging! Coffaro's, 40+ years and counting!

                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                  labrat0486 Aug 28, 2009 05:38 AM

                                                                  They sure can! I have red hair, and am Polish. My dad (and uncles) and paternal grandparents are all from South River too. My dad was SRHS '58, one of my uncle's was '70 I think, and the other was '78 or '79. They lived over on Franklin.

                                                            2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                              RPMcMurphy Sep 10, 2008 05:41 PM

                                                              at Jesse's tavern? (my grandfathers joint, where Royal BBQ now is)

                                                              I don't have a damn good thing to say about SR's police...especially after "Fox 5 on your side" exposed them with the fake diploma thing.

                                                              1. re: RPMcMurphy
                                                                Passadumkeg Sep 10, 2008 06:08 PM

                                                                That's it.
                                                                I just got done at looking at the SR Hist. Soc. site, My grandfather and lots of people form St P&P are mentioned in it. Ask your family about the Greeks chili dogs on Ferry St., the Music Center, The Crestwood for pizza and Bosco & Turbac's Diner. We gotta get together on my next vistit. I'll contact you (and Currymouth) on the blog. Boy, do I miss Jensen's

                                                        2. p
                                                          Potrezebie Dec 15, 2008 11:03 AM

                                                          I work in South River and hit the SUN SUN Chinese take-out 2 or 3 times a week (right at the foot of Ferry/Whitehead) at Main Street. Really good value and they make a good-sized lunch special (with white or fried rice) and a good hot-sour soup. I like their making specials for me that aren't on the menu, like beef curry.

                                                          Nice people.

                                                          1. l
                                                            Lindapilk Dec 23, 2008 06:19 AM

                                                            Or...if you don't feel like heading out with a group of people, there is always great catering by Twin Oaks right up the road on Old Bridge Turnpike!!

                                                            Was just online looking for phone number of Rio Mar and came across this post. It's become our favorite weekly place...welcoming, great food and sangria :-), eating in the bar part makes it feel like a neighborhood place. Glad to see you recommended Costa Verde too...will have to try!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Lindapilk
                                                              Passadumkeg Dec 24, 2008 04:04 AM

                                                              We have been going to Ria Mar for nearly 20 years. There used to be free peel your own shrimp at the bar, then free fava beans, now zip, Change over time. still a great place for bar food and drinks. The bar menu is a much better deal than the restaurant.
                                                              Merry Christmas

                                                            2. Passadumkeg Jul 4, 2010 04:11 AM

                                                              Since my folks died I have not been back to SR and I miss it. I'm out of kolbasi and my stock of Asian foods is running low.
                                                              I wrote another post on the Main Street of the small Maine town where I now live. There is something special about frequenting the old established pre-mall downtown areas for dining. Restos. in strip malls, to me, lack esthetics.I get a kick out of going to the Ethiopian resto.on George St.( Named after King George?) and remembering that the same facility used to be Wolfson's clothing store.
                                                              Next month I'm moving to New Mexico where Main St. is Rt. 66, where I shall continue to get my foodie kicks.
                                                              Go eat some kishka for me.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                arpad Jul 4, 2010 05:28 AM

                                                                Should be a chance to sample some Latino cuisine ! That's the only thing I miss after living in the LA area for twelve years !

                                                                BTW had dinner at Krakowiak last Sunday - food is as great as ever and the waitresses still pretty !
                                                                Latest thing in Central NJ recently is Irish Pubs - usually decent bar food and a varied selection of draft beers !

                                                                Krakowiak Restaurant
                                                                42 Main St, South River, NJ 08882

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