BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - After a week long wait due to Superstorm Nemo, and a soft opening three weeks ago, Deena’s Delights, in the Berkley Heights Train Station, has officially opened to the public.
This quaint and cozy eatery held its grand opening and ribbon cutting on Saturday, Feb. 16. With about 40 people filling the restaurant, owners Donna and Yoram Aflalo were thrilled.
“After the original opening the 7th of January, we had a soft opening a few weeks back, and after we were postponed due to the storm, we went ahead and made the 16th of February our grand opening, rain or shine," Donna said. "We lucked out and the weather ended up being great.”
Among those in attendance at the grand opening was Mayor Joe Bruno, who along with the Aflalo family, cut the ribbon which got the celebration underway. Also attending was Marcella Gencarelli, VP Branch Manager of Hilltop Community Bank, attending on behalf of the Bank as well as the Berkeley Heights Rotary Club.
Before the festivities began with the food being brought out and entertainer, The Great Maurice, making balloon animals, Bruno first thanked all that were in attendance at the event.
The mayor went on to explain that local shops like Deena’s Delights are key factors in the mentality of shopping local. Bruno stated that “we used to have a lot of vacant shops in the area, but since Deena’s has opened, we now only have four vacancies left in the Berkley Heights area.” The mayor went on to wish the Aflalo family “much success” and urged everyone to continue to be “involved in their community as the Aflalo family is very much involved in the community by supporting local business and school events.”
Following the ribbon cutting, the food was served and everyone was able to taste the food, for those that had not been to Deena’s before. Many dishes from American and Mediterranean cuisine were laid out for all guests to enjoy. Attendee Ben Pinker said the homemade food has “excellent quality” and reminded him of “a restaurant you would find in Manhattan.”
Other guests at the grand opening were Donna Aflalo’s parents. Charlotte Posner, Donna’s mother, went on to explain that before her daughter and son-in-law took over the spot at the train station, it was "not a pleasant view."
But now with Yoram’s own handiwork and his own refurbishing, the place just looks welcoming and warm.” Posner also explained that Deena, the restuarant's namesake, was Yoram’s mother.
As the celebration came to a close, Bruno was asked how he felt about the remodeling and what the restaurant does for the community as a whole. "It is gorgeous," he responded. "Yoram did a wonderful job. Commuters now have a place to stay that is warm and comfortable. It is very convenient and only adds to the 100 percent occupancy of shop vacancies that I would like for Berkeley Heights to achieve in the near future and helps aid in our vibrant town.”
Bruno also predicted that Deena’s Delights would always be full of people. “Those coming for coffee as they wait for the train in the morning, the lunch group that will come from Town Hall since it is right next door, and then the dinner group that would happily stop in on their way home. I see this place never being empty."
Another perk Deena's Delights offers its customers is their Commuter Dinner. People can order their dinner in the morning as they're getting on the train, then call on the way back, step off the train and pick up dinner.
Deena’s Delights is located in the Berkley Heights Train Station. Contact them at 908-790-1010. They're open Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.