Food & Drink

Mother-Daughter Team at Tatiana's Cafe Offers Caribbean Cuisine

Tatiana's Cafe, 74 First St., South Orange, offers Caribbean, Guyanese and American Soul food. (Photo: Joanna Toole)
The counter at Tatiana's Cafe features tempting sweets for a snack or the perfect end to a meal. (Photo: Joanna Toole)

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ— “We bring great flavor to your table.”

That’s the motto at Tatiana’s Café, 74 First St., which serves the latest in Caribbean, Guyanese and American Soul food.

The café is run as a two-man, or rather, two-woman show. Tatiana Wong takes on the roles of owner, delivery person, hostess and waitress, while her mother, Deborah Nickles, mans the kitchen, cooking all of the dishes – and homemade pastries. 

Sign Up for E-News

Tatiana’s Café opened on July 31 and specializes in traditional Caribbean recipes along with some homemade specials from Nickles. It also has a large selection of vegetarian dishes on the menu.

Wong said she came up with the name Tatiana’s Café because Tatiana was the nickname given to her by her friends back in modeling school.

“At the time, everyone said I looked just like Tatiana Ali because I had the center-part and long straight hair,” Wong said. “The nickname stuck and then became the name of my café, because it’s Tatiana’s Café.” 

The café opens daily at 11 a.m. and offers late-night dining or takeout every night. On Mondays, it is open until 10 p.m., and it remains open Tuesday through Saturday until 11 p.m. Sunday’s hours are 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Tatiana’s café offers 10 percent discounts to senior citizens and Seton Hall students.

Wong said that she serves larger portions than other Caribbean restaurants and is always willing to let anyone sample any of the food from the steam table before ordering.

Wong said she is looking to attract a younger crowd and will be hosting some nighttime events for entertainment. She said in the past they have had an open-mic night with a DJ, and she plans to have karaoke in the near future. 

The decor of the café consists of a few simple paintings hanging on the walls, with square tables arranged through the room. Wong said she bid on the items at an auction where another restaurant was going out of business and selling all of its furniture.

“I didn’t want it to be too much because then people get intimidated,” Wong said about her café’s décor. “In other places where they have so many decorations with their flag and everything from their culture, people don’t recognize it and then don’t want to try the food.”

Wong said that when people think of Caribbean food, they think everything is going to be spicy, which is not true for Tatiana’s Café. “In case people want to share their food with their kids, we don’t make the food spicy,” Wong said. The café does provide its own homemade hot sauce, however, that people can add to their meals if they are looking for that heat.

Wong said that for someone coming to try her food for the first time, she would suggest the oxtails; however, the brown-stew chicken is the most popular.

“I want people to come in and be able to order what they want,” Wong said. “If someone says they want spaghetti and meatballs, that’s what I’ll make them, because that’s what my own kids want sometimes, too.”

The menu offers a wide variety of different cuisine, including several chicken dishes, a large selection of fish or seafood meals, and choices of beef, goat or pork.

For customers craving a snack or something sweet, there is a large assortment of pastries and snacks, including one called ‘Sock-It-To-Me Cake.’  

Wong said in addition to dining in or take-out, she provides local deliveries if her mother is able to stay in the café.

“Our food is fresh,” Wong said. “We try to cook just enough food to last the day.”

The café also provides catering for all occasions, Wong said. People can order pans or trays of different food for their private parties.

Wong said she worked in 2003 at an eatery owned by her sister, who was pregnant at the time, and boyfriend, both of whose schedules prohibited them from working. She would open at 8 a.m. and close the place at 10 p.m., just her and the chef.

“I got the itch because I did everything there from cleaning to prepping to flipping burgers,” Wong said. “I learned how to multitask and knew one day I would have my own café.”

For more information about Tatiana’s Café, stop in at 74 First St., South Orange, NJ 07079 or call 973-762-2220.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Columbia High School Principal's Removal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

The last Twitter post from Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron is very telling. 

The four-year CHS schools chief, who was recently, surprisingly, reassigned to a vague “Principal on Special Assignment” post by the school district, was a Twitter regular on her @CougarPrincipal account. There she would often promote the school’s successes and notable staff and ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Maplewood Police Blotter - Stolen Vehicle in Maplewood Recovered by South Orange Police

July 18, 2018

July 11 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime during the early morning hours, a vehicle was stolen from a residence on the 400 block of Richmond Ave. The vehicle was recovered by the South Orange Police Department the same morning.

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Robberies Reported on July 5

July 2 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime over the previous two days, a U-Haul truck was stolen from a business on Newark Way.

July 4 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd was entered and keys were stolen from it.

July 5 - Robberies; At approximately 1:30 a.m., a male was assaulted by two males ridding bicycles while he was walking on ...

Free 'Movies in the Park' on July 18 and August 23 in Maplewood

July 16, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Free "Movies in the Park" are planned for Wednesday, July 18, and Thursday, August 23, a program hosted by the Maplewood Police Department in conjunction with the Maplewood Recreation Department, the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs, SOMA Film Festival and SOMA Municipal Alliance.

The movie on July 18 will be The Incredibles, shown in Dehart Park, ...

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 17

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16, until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Sat, July 21, 7:30 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, SHORT HILLS

Solid Gold with Bobby Valli at Par 440

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

River Barge Park & Marina, Carlstadt

Meadowlands Discovery Sunset Eco-Cruise

Green Travel

Statement From Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

July 10, 2018


We created a movement. We leveraged our collective 1,600 voices and forced the District leadership to sit with us today [Monday] and discuss the poorly communicated, weekend announcement that CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron was being reassigned.

Our meeting was a first step in both accountability and transparency as Dr. Ficarra revealed Principal ...

Coalition on Race Responds to Changes in School District Administrators

The Board of Trustees of the Community Coalition on Race seeks racial equity, integration, and excellence in education for all students in our schools. While the pace of change has been frustratingly slow, we have seen some progress. Yet, candidly, there are too many students of color who are not well served in SOMA, who still experience segregated classrooms and who still suffer from racial ...

Lawmakers Denounce SCOTUS Nomination at Essex County Courthouse

July 17, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - State Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin said it was important to support local women’s health organizations at a state level should President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justice nominee be approved.

The assemblywoman joined state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, congressional leaders and women's rights groups yesterday at the steps of the Essex County Courthouse ...

3rd Annual Newark International Film Festival Accepting Submissions

NEWARK, NJ - Three days filled with celebrity guests and showcases from both local and international filmmakers are coming to the city in September.

The third annual Newark International Film Festival will return Sept. 6 and run through Sept. 9, 2018. The festival has grown each year since it was first created, with the city last year hosting 10,000 attendees seeing films across ...

Rutgers Hikes Tuition, Student Fees for 2018-2019 Academic Year

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University Board of Governors today approved a 2.3 percent hike in tuition and fees, as well as increases for dorm rooms and meals, for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The increase now brings the annual cost for undergraduate students to $14,975, which is $337 more than this past school year.

Student housing will increase 1.9 percent, and ...

NJ Residents Take Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

New Plumber Joins the Woolley Home Solutions Team

July 16, 2018

We are excited to announce a new addition to the Woolley team! Our new plumber, Oscar Buonafina, is an expert plumber with nearly a decade of industry experience serving New Jersey homeowners. He is also a NJ Master Plumber Since 2007. As a military veteran, Oscar truly understands hard work and commitment, and we’re so happy to bring him on board!

"I believe in service to people ...

Maplewood Brings Local Youth to the Governing Table With the Youth Advisory Committee

The Maplewood Township Committee cordially invites diverse student residents of Maplewood who are enrolled in private or public school in grades 8 through 12 to apply to serve on its new Youth Advisory Committee.  In order to continue empowering local youth whose recent advocacy on - gun safety, safe schools, voting rights, immigration, greater institutional equity and inclusion, to name a ...

Repairs to Boyden Avenue Between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue

On Monday, July 16, road repairs to the south side of Boyden Avenue between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue will take place for approximately one week pending weather conditions. There will be access to the pool parking lot for pool members and NJ Transit employees. Signage and police officers will be present to direct traffic.