Business & Finance

Local Fare, Longevity Highlighted at 6th Annual Taste of South Plainfield


SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ –On the eve of winter storm Stella, approximately 250 borough residents ditched their snow boots, albeit temporarily, and gathered at the senior center for South Plainfield Business Association’s 6th Annual Taste of South Plainfield. 

The event, sponsored by the South Plainfield Business Association and held at the senior center, attracted a standing room only crowd and provided attendees the opportunity to sample food from various local eateries while raising money for graduating South Plainfield High School seniors.

Among the local establishments providing samples of their fare were Ciccio’s Pizza, HomeTown Heros, Imperial Deli, La Bonbonniere Bake Shoppe, Mr. Subs, Sherban’s Restaurant, Rodolfo’s Pizzeria, Little Nicky’s Italian Hot Dogs, Marie’s Sweet Designs, In and Out Bagels, Kenny’s Empanadas and Nanking Restaurant.

Sign Up for E-News

There were also craft beer and wine tastings provided courtesy of Wine Country and numerous vendors on hand, including DoTerra Oils, Scentsy, IDLife, Touchstone Crystal, and Thirty-One along with AristaCare and the South Plainfield Field of Honor. Support was also provided by Investors Bank and the Knights of Columbus Squires.

Additionally, this year’s Taste also served as an opportunity for the borough to pay tribute to the nearly two-dozen businesses whose roots in the community date back 30-, 40-, 50- and even 100-plus years.

“As many of you know, we just recently celebrated 90 years as a borough and thought this was a nice way to give back to the business community and celebrate some of those who have been here from the very beginning along with those who have called the borough home for 30 or more years,” said Mayor Matt Anesh who, along with Council President Derryck White presented proclamations and pins to the following 23 businesses:

100-plus years in operation: Nitschwitz Feed & Fuel and Harris Structural Steel

90-years in the borough: Coppola’s Garden Center

60 or more years in the borough: South Plainfield Sheet Metal, Inc. and the Frank P Licato Agency

50 or more years in the borough: Giakas Cleaners, JT Penyak Roofing, Peter Pan Pharmacy, R&C Auto Body, Hall’s Warehouse Corp., Tony’s Pizza & Restaurant

40 or more years in the borough: Twin City Pharmacy & Surgical, Mohn’s Flowers and Fancy Foods, McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals, Liftec Forklifts, and Sportworld

30 or more years in the borough: Cindy Michaels Jewelers, HK Truck Center, Presto Printing, Salerno Pizza Ristorante, and (based on current ownership) Paul’s Stationary.

“It’s nice to be recognized and we appreciate the town honoring those businesses who have been here a long time,” said Kevin Brown, who along with fellow South Plainfield native Tom Kiczula, will celebrate 40 years this August as owners of Sportworld. Initially established in 1977 and located in a storefront at the Golden Acres shopping center, the business moved to its current location on South Plainfield Avenue in 2002.

Tom Cassio, a lifelong resident who opened Twin City Pharmacy & Surgical back in 1972, was on hand with his family to celebrate being honored for 48 years in the community. Initially located on Park Avenue across from its current location, the pharmacy is currently second generation run by Cassio’s son Tom, niece Sandy Cassio, and nephew Bill Ashnault.

“We care about people and know them by their first name,” said Cassio of the company’s longevity. “We are generally concerned about them and involved with people’s every day lives.”

Established in 1895 in North Plainfield, Nitschwitz Feed & Fuel relocated to Front Street in South Plainfield in 1921 in an effort to be in an area rich in farmland and close to the railroad tracks. When Harry Popik purchased the business from the original owner, he kept the Nitschwitz name. Today, the company remains family owned and run by Harry’s son, Jeff.

“I think it is great the borough is recognizing us. We have been serving the community for 100-plus years,” said Jeff Popik.

Location was also a key reason Hank Knabe chose to open his truck dealership in the borough. Established in 1982, HK Trucking moved from Piscataway to Hollywood Boulevard in South Plainfield in 1988 and, a decade later, settled in its current site on Hamilton Boulevard.

“I stayed in South Plainfield because there was a lot of trucking and commercial business and the proximity to 287 and Route 1 was ideal,” said Knabe, whose business was recognized for 35 years. “I feel honored to be honored. I think it is really nice. South Plainfield is a nice hometown and really supports its businesses.”

One of the oldest businesses in the borough, Harris Structural Steel Company has been run out of South Plainfield for just over 100 years. Founded in 1887 by English immigrant George Harris and known as Harris, Silver & Baker Company, the business originally operated out of a facility in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. In 1915, Harris purchased the old Blackford farm on New Market Road and relocated the business to South Plainfield.

According to Mary Ellen Wilson, who has worked at the steel fabricating plant for 56 years, Harris Steel played a role in the construction of such landmarks as the Brooklyn Towers, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Meadowlands Race Track in Newark, the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. and, most recently, the new Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, the Barclay Center, and a handful of buildings at the World Trade Center.

“It’s an honor and exciting to be recognized and to call the borough home for so long,” said Wilson, who resides in the community and began her tenure at Harris in the payroll department. “At one point, you didn't talk to someone who didn't have someone who worked at Harris at some point.”

“We employ a lot of people from South Plainfield,” added Dale Jayne, who along with his brother Bill, are the second generation of Jayne family members to run Hall’s Warehouse Corp. First established by Henry Hall, the Kentile Road business was purchased by Jayne’s father William Jayne, Jr. in 1965.

“The town has been a great partner. They are always here for us and we try to be involved as much as possible,” said Dale, noting that this past February marked his family’s 52nd year as owners. “The success of any business is to surround yourself with good people.”“It’s nice to live and work and own a business in the community I grew up in,” added Georgeann Cochrane, whose business Mohn’s Flowers and Fancy Foods has been operating in the borough since 1977. Cochrane, who purchased the Plainfield Avenue shop in 1990, said she 'honored to be included among the business the borough has chosen to recognize.'  

"It's been an honor for me all these years to be involved in people's lives," said Cochrane. "I’ve seen kids grow up - provided flowers for their prom, then their wedding and next, a baby shower and christening. Now, their kids are coming in."

In 2016, the Borough of South Plainfield celebrated the 90th anniversary of its incorporation while Coppolas Garden Center marked its ninth decade in the community. Located at 1600 New Durham Road, Coppola’s began as small, working roadside farm where fresh fruits and vegetables were grown and sold at local markets and, in 1965, a retail store was opened. Throughout the year, flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruits are available along with holiday items such as pumpkins, Christmas trees, centerpieces, grave blankets, poinsettias, and more. Today, Coppola’s is a three-season business operated by third and fourth generation family members.

In 2015, Giakas Cleaners celebrated its 50th year in South Plainfield. Currently run by three generations of Giakas family members, the business was established back in 1964 by brothers George and William Giakas and initially located on Oak Tree Road in Edison. George moved his business to its current location on Plainfield Avenue the following year and, in 1997, Giakas’ son Brett took over. On any given day, George, Brett and several of George’s grandchildren can be found behind the counter.

“We are so fortunate to have been in South Plainfield and to be here so long,” said Giakas. “The honor is possible thanks to all our past, present and future customers. Without them, we wouldn't be here this long. They are all very loyal and we are very thankful.”

Several other businesses also recognized at the Taste included Penyak Roofing and R&C Auto Body, two companies who have been family-owned and run for 50 years. “We are honored to have received this recognition and are proud to be a part of the business community in South Plainfield,” said Joe Penyak, Jr. who currently runs the Kennedy Road business his father Joe established in 1960.

Carl Adlassnig of the Park Avenue-based R&C Auto Body business established by his father Carl and uncle Rich back in 1960 added, “Our biggest thing here is to help people and do a good job for a fair price. I think it is great of the business association for them to recognize the businesses here who want to help and give back.”

James Gustafson, who along with Richard W. McCriskin, II, run the McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals, added, “We are grateful the borough has chosen to honor us.”

Established in 1976 by South Plainfield brothers Richard and William McCriskin, the funeral home will mark its 41st anniversary in the borough this year. “We are honored to be a part of the community and pride ourselves on giving back as much as we can,” said Gustafson. “This is a beautiful town with lots of great people and it is wonderful to be recognized.”

“This was our sixth Taste of South Plainfield and the turnout was tremendous. I want to thank everyone who came out,” added Debbie Boyle, financial secretary for the South Plainfield Business Association and chair of the organization’s Taste Committee. “It was a wonderful way to honor the businesses of South Plainfield and for our food establishments to provide residents an opportunity to sample some of their wares.” 

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

The Athlete of the Week Christopher Shine Baseball

The South Plainfield High School baseball team is continuing to have a successful 2018 season with a record of 15-9. This past week, the Tigers went 4-0 beating out of conference foes North Hunterdon, Montgomery, and Bernards.  They finished the week with a win in the first round of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, over Carteret.   A major contributor to South ...

The Athlete of the Week: Jillian Holoboski Softball Pitcher

The South Plainfield Softball Team had an exciting week of action where the team saw Coach Panzarella break the all-time win total in NJ. The Lady Tigers got things rolling by defeating John F. Kennedy 3-2 on Monday.  South Plainfield then traveled to Perth Amboy for a night double header and crushed the Panthers 14-0.  On Wednesday they beat Colonia 5-1. The competition for the week ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...


Mario Guido Abbruzzese, 70, died on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at St. Peter’s University ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Recreation Commission President Responds to Council Candidate Keefe

May 18, 2018

My name is Bill Cochrane and I am President of the South Plainfield Recreation Commission. A press release from Borough Council Candidate Kristine Keefe has recently come to our attention. In her press release Ms. Keefe states and I quote “Over the last eight years virtually nothing has been done to improve our parks and recreation program.” When this was brought to our attention at ...

Colin Berry and Cody Decker Earn Bachelor Degrees from Rowan University

May 18, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Colin Berry and Cody Decker, both of South Plainfield, received Bachelor degrees from Rowan University last week during commencement exercises.  Both young men are 2014 graduates of South Plainfield High School.  


Berry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing and was awarded to the Deans List for the fifth time.  He served as ...

Community Happenings


May 12, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - On Saturday, June 2, 2018 from 11AM to 5PM, the John E. Riley PTSO (JER PTSO) will be hosting its first ever Food Truck Festival!


Come out for a good time while supporting a good cause! Proceeds from this event will go to replacing the 2 broken playground structures at John E. Riley Elementary School costing approximately $80,000. 11+ food trucks including ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

May 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Holy Savior Academy to Hold 7th Annual 5K Run & Family Walk in June

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Calling all runners and walkers! Holy Savior Academy will hold its 7th Annual 5K Run and 1 Mile Family Walk on Saturday, June 2. Proceeds from this year’s family-friendly event will benefit the school’s academic, athletic, and extracurricular programs.

“Holy Savior Academy’s annual 5K offers the school an opportunity to provide other ...

The South Plainfield "Autism Awareness" Event

May 8, 2018

The South Plainfield Mayor’s Wellness Committee and the South Plainfield Public Library in conjunction with community volunteers hosted the Borough’s first Autism Awareness event at the South Plainfield Public Library on Sunday April 29, 2018 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. This “Afternoon of Awareness” was designed to help connect parents with important resources in order to help ...

Plainfield Animal Hospital

On Friday, April 20th, 2018, a South Plainfield resident responded to South Plainfield Police Department to report a fraudulent incident which occurred at Plainfield Animal Hospital, located at 2201 Park Ave, South Plainfield, NJ.  According to the victim, on April 4th, 2018, she and her husband brought their   family pet rabbit to the animal hospital to be euthanized due to the ...

Staying Fit at the Senior Center

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Staying fit and getting plenty of good exercise is a high priority at the South Plainfield Senior Center, located at 90 Maple Avenue in South Plainfield. Classes on health issues and a wide range of physical exercise are available almost daily.

The Walking Group meets every Friday, weather permitting, starting on May 18 and going through October. Participants meet at the ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, May 22, 6:00 PM

South Plainfield

South Plainfield Soccer Association Travel Team ...


Tue, May 22, 6:30 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Sugar Land Skeeters ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Sports


Wed, May 23, 6:00 PM

South Plainfield

South Plainfield Soccer Association Travel Team ...


Wed, May 23, 6:30 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Sugar Land Skeeters ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Sports


Thu, May 24, 11:00 AM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Sugar Land Skeeters ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Sports

Wed, May 30, 6:00 PM

South Plainfield Public Library, South Plainfield

Town-Wide Girl Scout Registration


Diegnan & Ruiz Bill to Establish Grant Program to Develop Dual Language Immersion Programs Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. and Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz to establish a grant program for school districts and charter schools to develop dual language immersion programs was released from the Senate Education Committee today.


“The best way for a student to excel in a foreign language is an immersion program,” said ...

South Plainfield Motor Vehicle Office Tentatively Scheduled to Open May 21st

Dear Mayor:

I would like to provide you with an update regarding the Motor Vehicle Commission’s (MVC) new, modernized South Plainfield Agency.  At this juncture, if we receive the Certificate of Occupancy on Friday, May 11, as expected, the anticipated “soft opening” to the public will be Monday, May 21, 2018. 

We will schedule a ceremonial ribbon cutting shortly ...

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...


And here is (ACHOO!!) some more (ACHOO!!) news from (COUGH!!) South Plainfield Library:

            First, our previously-postponed Holi program, celebrating the Indian festival of colors, has been postponed again.  Due to predicted inclement weather, it has been rescheduled to Saturday, July 21st, from 11AM to 1PM.  Let’s ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

Suburban Woman’s Club Welcomes You

The Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield is welcoming new members. Enjoy creative fund raisers, interesting activities while participating on standing committees, informative monthly programs, and the camaraderie of women whose efforts enhance the community. The club meets at 1:00 PM on the first Thursday of each month, September through June, at the American ...

Suburban Woman’s Club Has A Successful Fundraising Year!

After what can easily be described as a successful fund-raising year, The Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield met on May 3rd at the American Legion Hall in South Plainfield to decide how to allocate the funds that were raised.  President Diana Cotone called the meeting to order and thanked April Bengivenga and Joyce Dieterle for the delicious refreshments provided.

The ...

Press Releases

Middle School Music Department wins 17 Trophies at the Showcase Music Festival

May 21, 2018

On Friday, May 11, members of the South Plainfield Middle School Music Department participated in the 2018 Music Showcase Festival.  The students performed exceptionally well and brought home 17 awards.  At this festival, the musical ensembles played for adjudication at the First Presbyterian Church and Bethlehem Catholic High School in Bethlehem, PA and then spent the rest of the day ...