CEDAR GROVE, NJ - What do you do when your son wants hibachi for his tenth birthday and all the restaurants are closed?  Well if you’re Cedar Grove Mayor Robbie Vargo, you put on your “homemade” chef’s hat, Google some recipes and YouTube videos, and make the hibachi dinner yourself.

Months ago, Vargo had promised his son Aidan a hibachi dinner for his tenth birthday which was April 8.  Of course, no one could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic and the closures that would ensue.  Not wanting to disappoint his son, Vargo took to the internet for inspiration and help, so he could deliver the hibachi promise he made.

“We had a griddle, so I figured I’d give it a shot,” Vargo said.  “I googled some recipes, watched some YouTube videos for the onion volcano and just went for it!”

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So on Aidan's birthday last week the family gathered in the garage to watch Hibachi Chef Vargo’s debut.  Vargo’s tricks included the drink squirt, the heart-shaped fried rice, the onion volcano, and even a special A-shaped fried rice in honor of the birthday boy who proclaimed the meal a success.

“The food was really good and I loved the fried rice,” Aidan stated.

Vargo’s wife Chelsea agreed saying she was surprisingly impressed by both the entertainment and the food.  For Chef Vargo, it was all about family.

“We went for the whole hibachi experience!  We sang songs, made two onion volcanoes, had lo mein, fried rice, chicken, steak, and shrimp,” Vargo explained.  “We played music all night and really enjoyed spending the night as a family. There were smiling faces all night long.”

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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