Food & Drink

Foodies 'Meat' Up At Goodman's in Berkeley Heights

Don Parkin, owner of Goodman's, with Ellen Fried last week. His store was the scene of an impromptu 'Meat' Up by friends of the Ellen Loves Pastrami Facebook Page.   Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Ellen Fried take a photo of her Pastrami and Brisket sandwich for her Ellen Loves Pastrami FB page.  Credits: Barbara Rybolt
Barbara Rybolt, left, joined Arlene Beer, and Ellen Fried for a 'Meat' Up at Goodman's Restaurant & Deli last week.  
Howard Weiss on the right, made a special run to Goodmans, who drove from Jersey City to pick up lunch to go and say hello to Ellen Fried, left. Credits: Barbara Rybolt

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -- A small group of people met at Goodman's Restaurant & Deli last week for a "Meat" Up.  They are all members of the "Ellen Loves Pastrami" Facebook Page.

The event is called a  "Meat" Up because participants are there to eat some of the best deli meats around. In the interest of full disclosure, I learned about the Ellen Loves Pastrami page after covering the Annual N.J. Hot Dog Tour a few years ago. I joined the page and attended last week's "Meat" Up -- my first.

it's hard to get a mid-week lunch crowd together when the friends of the page come from all over the country, but Arlene Beer, who lives in Union County and Ellen Fried, who lives in South Jersey and maintains the Ellen Loves Pastrami page ate in. Howard Weiss, another page member, dropped by after a meeting in Jersey City to pick up his lunch, and to say hello to Ellen.

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Arlene had pea soup and half a brisket sandwich, with gravy on the side. Ellen started with matzah ball soup and a half a turkey sandwich, with gravy on the side. When she finished that, she had a sandwich that was stacked with half pastrami and half brisket -- no, she didn't finish that sandwich, but took the leftovers home. I had pea soup and a half a pastrami sandwich.  We all had slaw and pickles.

Ellen is a true foodie -- she takes photos of the sandwiches, analyzes the quality of the meat, bread, even the slaw and pickles. She liked everything she ate that day, which is what she expected. Her comments, all positive, are on her Facebook page, along with some from Arlene and me.

Arlene used to go to the original Goodman's in Elizabeth.

Owner Don Parkin and his head waitress, Jen Rosa, are getting used to having people drop in to check out the food. The four men from Maryland who are looking for the best deli have made two trips to Goodman's in the last few years. They carry their own scale to weigh the sandwiches and individually rank pastrami, corned beef and brisket sandwiches, slaw and pickles. They also take photos of the food and, when they get home, compare notes and write up an account of their trip and ranking the delis.

On their first  visit they ranked Goodman's tops (except for Katz's - always number one in their book). Goodman's also made the top 5 of all the delis they've visited over the years on their "Eight Delis in Two Days Tour."

The "Meat" Up lasted less than two hours -- we skipped dessert, left with full stomachs and a promise to meet again, at the next meat up.

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