Sunday, August 5, 2012

One town's hit-and-miss food scene

A painting inside Boomerangs on Main Street in Hackensack.


If you want to find a good restaurant on Hackensack's Main Street, you'll have to ask one of the many lawyers who have offices along the street or jurors who spill out of the nearby courthouse in search of lunch.

I've seen lots of articles recently in the local daily newspaper about grand plans to revive the street, but hardly anything on the many changes in the food scene during and after the recession.

A rodizio steakhouse is slated to replace a low-quality Chinese buffet restaurant.
Hookah Paradise and DiMaria's Deli are across the street.

Main Street's strength is affordable ethnic food: Two Thai restaurants, two Indian restaurants, Cuban,  Colombian, Ecuadorian, Greek, Turkish, Jamaican and others I am sure I've overlooked.

Main Dish replaced Naturally Good, a onetime favorite of employees at The Record.

Main Dish and Wondee's Thai restaurant have parking in the rear.

In mid-July, I had a wonderful meal at Casual Habana Cafe at 125 Main St., and discovered the interior of the BYO had been completely renovated.

Several blocks north, Casual Habana is planning to open a catering business on Main Street, across from the Johnson Public Library.

Pollos Mario is a Colombian restaurant that has prospered on Main Street.

A recent addition is Super Rico -- Colombian fast food.

I'm eager to try a Caribbean and soul food restaurant called Boomerangs at 136 Main St. -- on the other side of the street from the Cuban restaurant. 

It replaced Mangos Restaurant about 2 years ago.

Boomerang retained the front counter and rear bi-level dining rooms of Mangos, with the kitchen in the middle. 

The takeout menu lists Boomerangs' Famous Jerk Chicken ($12), Curry Goat ($10 and $12) and other Jamaican dishes. 

But it also offers steamed Tilapia with Coconut Sauce ($13) for customers looking for a break from fried food. 

Super Rico opened at 75 Main St. next to Greek Island Grill, where I've had a couple of good meals.

But the Colombian fast-food place offers only a few items for non-meat eaters. 

Across from Super Rico, an outpost of a well-known Italian deli is planned.

Being close to the Bergen County Courthouse doesn't guarantee success.
For many years, John's Coffee Shop operated just off Main Street, but its successor failed even though it's opposite Courthouse Plaza and near the courthouse itself.

This Main Street tavern echoes with ghosts of the many newspaper workers who held their going-away parties there before The Record left Hackensack for Woodland Park.

Most of the changes in the food scene appear to be on the blocks nearest the imposing, century old Bergen County Courthouse.

Farther up Main, toward the face-lifted Sears building, Wondee's Fine Thai Food & Noodles, a BYO at 296 Main St., has served me and my family one great meal after another.

Wondee's, opened in 1997, is celebrating 15 years in Hackensack.

Aladdin, a pricey Middle Eastern restaurant with live music and belly dancing at 382 Main St., is another success.

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