A Taste of Cranford benefits Cranford High School Project Graduation

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CRANFORD, NJ — A potpourri of culinary delights was offered recently at A Multicultural Taste of Cranford. The event took place at Eastman Clock Plaza Park. Twenty-eight places in the area participated. Attendees who purchased a $5 bracelet were able taste sample-sized foods and drinks between $3 and $8. Proceeds benefited Cranford High School Project Graduation 2024.

The event was sponsored by Downtown Cranford, Cranford Community Connections and Cranford High School 2024 Project Graduation; and organized by Downtown Cranford.

Downtown Cranford Director Caren Demyen said, “It’s a great idea for a good cause. This is our fourth year.”

Alden Street, a Cranford based classic rock band, performed tunes from Tom Petty, Chicago, Jackson Brown and The Rolling Stones.

“We’ve been together eight years. We all met at St. Michael’s,” said drummer Carl Williams.

Papa Ganache Cranford is an all-vegan bakery, with gluten free options, that’s been in town for more than three years. “Something for everybody,” said manager Karter Dinkelacker. “People come in to try, even if they’re not vegan. It’s important to know we’re here.”
They were sampling Choco Brownies. Their best sellers are rainbow cookies and Yodels, which Dinkelacker called “a classic.”

A Better Me Juicery was sampling mini acai bowls. Isabella Lebron, who has been working there nine months, said, “We have a huge range of juices, healthier options. No sugar in anything.” In addition to juices and acai bowls, they also have vegan treats, gluten free muffins and kosher chips.

Garlic Rose Bistro was sampling sliced tenderloin over arugula. Their specialty, according to server Ben Hand, is medium rare filet mignon with garlic mustard mayo drizzle. He said, “It’s nice seeing families enjoying what Cranford has to offer.”

Ligia DeJesus, owner of Cake Artist Café, said they’ve been in business 13 years as a brick and mortar. Specializing in customized cakes, they also have coffee and “yummy pastries,” said DeJesus.

Niki Savinelli, manager of Vinny’s Pizza, said they are special because they build a relationship with customers, remembering their faces and names. “We treat everyone like family,” she said.

Their “Grandma Pizza” is made with sauce from tomatoes grown in Savinelli’s nana’s backyard. “The secret sauce keeps people coming back,” she said. “Everything is homemade. We’re a family environment.”

Lokal Coffee & Co. was sampling iced raspberry mocha with a free croissant. They serve mostly breakfast, brunch and lunch items. Their biggest sellers, according to barista Valentina Rodriguez, are French toast, turkey clubs and iced lattes. “It’s an experience,” said Rodriguez. “Nice ambience; good setting for people to work and study.”

Vanilla Bean Creamery was sampling a Chipwich sandwich. They’ve been in business for 14 years and Sherri Bogdan recently took over. “We make all ice cream fresh and daily,” she said.

Urban Burger has been in town over 10 years. They were sampling “Da Butt” sliders, which are two pulled pork sliders with pickle and Urban BBQ sauce.

“We have wings to die for,” said manager Damian Rivera.

They also have a vegan option on the menu — the Impossible Burger with vegan cheese. “People were ordering them, but without cheese,” Rivera said. He wanted to spread the word that they now have the vegan cheese to go with the burger.

Other participants included 8 Thai, Agave, Ambeli Greek Taverna, Ani Ramen House, Café Teasia, Don Chicken, Delice Macarons, Folklore Artisanal Taco, Il Gabbiano, La Colina Mexican Cantina, Oasis Restaurant, Old City Café & Grill, Poke House, River and Rail Cantina, Rustic Mill Diner & Pancake House, Sweet ‘n Fancy Emporium, The Thirsty Turtle, Toast City Diner, Tomasello Winery and The Vine & Oak Tavern.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta