BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - After being closed for nearly two years, the cafe which was formerly Mamma’s Caboose at the Berkeley Heights train station, has now reopened with new renters and a new name -- Deena’s Delights.
In May of 2010, an accidental fire caused severe damage to the restaurant and the previous owner did not want to fix it. So, it remained vacant and bids were put out for new renters. A year ago, Berkeley Heights residents Yoram and Donna Aflalo were awarded the business.
Yoram, who owns a construction company, has experience in managing people and he was able to renovate and design the location because of his background. However, growing up as the youngest of 17 children in Israel, he was always cooking and continued as he got older to cook at many renaissance festivals, as well.
“My dream is to have a cafe because I love to cook,” he said.
They opened a week ago, but Aflalo said the place looks completely different from when they first rented it. In four months he and his crew created a beautiful welcoming atmosphere for commuters and Berkeley Heights residents. The café also has a Mediterranean-like feel with numerous pictures from Israel hanging on the walls. They also serve Israeli food.
Deena's Delights is open Monday to Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and does deliveries and catering. Their goal is to sell fresh, high quality food at a reasonable price, he said. They offer coffee, drinks, bagels, eggs, oatmeal, fruit, wraps, chicken, tuna, egg salad, burgers, fries, salads, and traditional Israeli food such as falafel and shwarma.
So far, business has been great and they have many regular customers. Their employees include a brother and sister who used to work for the previous owner and are experienced with food and people.
“I wanted to keep it local,” he said. “I like the community here. People are happy that someone from town is here that is nice, clean and has good food.”
Donna said she is very excited about the opening of the store and wants people to know it’s more than just a place for commuters to stop in before catching a train. It’s a nice café for people to meet and grab lunch, she said.
“We want them to have somewhere to come and relax,” she said.
They are planning to have a grand opening event by the end of the month.