ROSELLE, NJ - The Roselle: The Adventure has Begun
To drive past the warehouse at 118-128 West First Avenue, Roselle, you might not notice anything different in its façade. But big changes are happening inside, and Saturday, Feb. 8, the building was filled with more than 150 guests attending a “pop-up” event to preview the coming enterprise and celebrate its progress.
Jaull and Mahshid Loram, long-time residents of Cranford, purchased the long-abandoned warehouse in August 2013 and are in the process of converting it to a food destination comprised of three businesses. Crossroads Farmers' Market will open this fall, followed by the restaurant, The Grill The Griddle & The Irons, and the shared use kitchen and food learning center, Food IV Thought, in 2015.
Saturday’s festivities included a culinary tour of the raw spaces that will house the three businesses, as guests were treated to an eclectic feast showcasing products from prospective vendors to Crossroads Farmer’s Market. Local artwork and live music also engaged the crowd, demonstrating The Roselle’s potential as a community gathering space.
The cocktail hour in the Market Hall featured a creamsicle-like drink with Orange Vanilla Syrup from Blue J Syrups, paired with Jersey Artisan Distilling's Busted Barrel Dark Rum, and shaken and served to perfection by mixologist and author Warren Bobrow. Those who needed something warmer could enjoy a fresh brewed coffee from Jersey City based ModCup Coffee.
As guests in down jackets danced to The Crash Combo, appetizers soon emerged from a flight below, where event producer Benjamin Walmer had fashioned a temporary kitchen in the space that will become Food IV Thought. A team of chefs including Ian Knauer (from PBS’ The Farm) worked their magic with greens from Garden State Urban Farms and pork from Stonybrook Meadows farm, creating surprising combinations such as seared maitake mushroom with pureed leek and crispy pork skin, and beet chips with borscht gelee and horseradish sour cream.
Local officials were also on hand, mixing with the crowd and exchanging friendly banter. Mayors Jamel Holley (Roselle), Colleen Mahr (Fanwood), and Andis Kalnins (Cranford) expressed support for the project, as did Roselle council members Randy Sandifer, Ronald Hayman, and Roy Locke, and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano.
The group then moved to the area that will become The Grill The Griddle & The Irons for a four-course family-style meal. Seated at continuous tables, the convivial spirit was electric as dining partners became fast new friends. Many were surprised to learn that Jaull was also a chef and graduate of the International Culinary Center (formerly the French Culinary Institute), and had lent his own hand to the menu with one of his specialties: sourdough waffles with fried chicken and chipotle maple syrup.
Jaull was effusive about the evening, stating that “It is amazing to see the diversity of people here, having fun and being playful. We are truly creating a venue for people to come together and share ideas, and not just about food. I am awed by the enthusiasm.”
Space heaters, decorative lighting, and wonderful food took the chill out of the warehouse on this cold winter night, but it was the warmth and excitement from the crowd and the genuine appreciation from Jaull and Mahshid that brought the space to life. New friends and supporters, all climbing on board for the adventure, now easily envisioning the space and experience that will become The Roselle.
Post script: To learn more about The Roselle, visit the website: http://www.theroselle.com/ and sign up for the mailing list or follow us on social media. Additional details about this event can be found at: www.therosellefeast.eventbrite.com.