Chris speaks with Tora Uttarapong, owner of Proud Thai Cookery in Berkeley Heights, NJ. While many people are familiar with Thai food, Tora wanted to bring authentic Thai street food to NJ. Their drunken noodle has been a huge success and their Bangkok boat noodle soup is another unique dish that will surely satisfy your hunger. Not only is the food great, but Tora and his staff are wonderful people and it is well known in local the community. During the terrible snow storm earlier this year when many people were stuck on the roads for many hours, Tora delivered food personally when no other business in town even had a driver. This family run restaurant is a standout in the community.
BuyLocalNJ is what happens when brothers Andy and Chris, native New Jerseyans and owners of financial advisory firm Runnymede Capital Management, wondered, “What if we create a website that promotes buying local by interviewing business owners for our community?”
Join us in finding, supporting, and celebrating local businesses that are helping to build our communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, connecting neighbors, and contributing to local causes. Thank you for buying local!
Chris speaks with Craig Bass, owner of Bagel Café of New Providence, NJ. Craig worked many years on Wall Street but after 2008, he decided to go back to his college roots of hotel and restaurant management. While Bagel Café seems to be just a neighborhood bagel store, Craig has dreams of transforming it far beyond just bagels. A foodie at heart, Craig has already elevated the coffee with a signature blend that is arguably the best in town. His next step is bringing customers incredible burgers, including the Jersey burger with Taylor ham, egg and cheese. The future is bright for Bagel Café with a foodie pushing the menu far beyond just bagels.
Chris speaks with Chitra Rochlani, aka the Fit Warrior Chitra. She is a fitness coach who has learned from personal experience of losing 80 pounds in one year and is now teaching others to do the same. She is transforming minds, habits and then bodies. It was her own struggles with weight that ignited a passion within her to help others break the physical and mental barriers that have held them back in the past. She works with clients to change their eating habits and gives them a database of easy to follow recipes. To burn the calories, she offers 1-on-1 personal training at Florham Park Fitness. But it doesn't stop there as she holds clients accountable even outside of training sessions to ensure that they reach their goals.
Chris speaks with Marisa Collazo, owner of My Little Party Place in Berkeley Heights. Marisa worked for years as an event manager at a private club on NYC's Park Avenue and as catering manager at Fordham University. However, the hours were grueling and Marisa wanted to be able to spend more time with her son. She found the perfect spot to open her own business in Berkeley Heights and now plans parties for the most important people, kids. She throws fabulous themed birthday parties for local children and no theme is off limits. If you visit their Instagram page, you will see that the attention to detail is unmatched. Parties have featured Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, Frozen, Spider-man, Wonder Woman, and Jojo Siwa. In addition to parties, they offer half-day summer workshops with fun activities like cooking and STEAM.
Chris speaks with Aubrey Reichard-Eline, co-owner of Unwind Yoga & Wellness of New Providence, NJ. Unwind Yoga was founded in July 2018 by Shirley Fee and Aubrey. They seek to make yoga and wellness easy and approachable for all. It is one of the few studios in the area that was designed specifically for yoga and the practice of the various wellness modalities. The teachers on staff combine for more than 100 years of yoga teaching experience. They have classes for all ages and levels; and have special classes for kids and families. The also keep things innovative and new with workshops featuring drummers and singing bowls.
Chris speaks with Heather Backer of Backer Farm in Mendham, NJ. Backer Farm was founded in 1927 by Richard and Jessie Backer. Over time, it evolved from a dairy farm to a horse boarding facility. Today, the farm is under the guiding hands of the third generation in Derick and Heather Backer and they are adapting to today's culture. Backer Farm features a farm stand that is open 365 days a year, CSA (community supported agriculture), naturally grown produce, pork, eggs, bottled sauces and compost. They also offer a variety of after school and summer programs for kids. Since the fall, they offer a true farm-to-table experience in partnership with the local Mendham team of Chef and the Baker.
Chris speaks with Jimmy Vardas, owner of Prestige Diner of New Providence, NJ. Prestige Diner was founded in 1967 and has been in the Vardas family since 1982. Despite its many years in business, they aren't stuck in the past. They have a full liquor license so they serve many NJ micro brews as well as wines and mixed drinks. Their food also keeps up with the evolving tastes of its customers with gluten-free offerings, locally sourced ingredients and their newest menu addition, the Impossible Burger which is 100% plant based. The service is friendly and warm. It is no wonder that there is often a line out the door at this historic diner.
Chris visits with Tony Franco, the youngest business owner in Morristown. He started Beenie's Ice Cream at the age of 26. Always a creative person, Tony went from a professional drummer to passionate maker of inventive ice cream flavors. All of the ice cream is made daily with fresh cream, milk, and the highest quality ingredients. The end result is luscious, silky ice cream that will leave you wanting more and more. There's no doubt, if you visit in person, you will leave with a big smile on your face. If you live locally and don't want to get off the couch, Beenie's will even deliver to your door as you can now order with a few taps of a smartphone app.
Chris interviews Ehren Ryan, chef and owner of Common Lot in Millburn, NJ. Since 2016, chef Ryan and his team have been wowing customers with their seasonal, globally inspired menu. It is consistently found on NJ Monthly's top 25 restaurants list and it is easy to see why. Nothing is left to chance from service to the incredible food.
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