Spotlight on local eateries

First restaurant night will offer sampling of Secaucus’ signature dishes

People can sample special signature dishes in Secaucus on Oct. 11 at the town’s first Restaurant Night, an evening that will feature a number of local restaurants. The outdoor affair, which is organized by the mayor and Town Council, begins at 6 p.m. and includes a complimentary glass of wine and entertainment.
The event will take place on Front Street between Minnie Place and Golden Avenue, under tents. Tickets are $5 per dish, including entrees and desserts.

Generating exposure

Restaurant Night has been in the works for over two months and was modeled after Taste of Times Square, an outdoor food and music festival in Manhattan that features international cuisine from New York City’s top restaurants, according to Lee Penna, who is organizing the Secaucus event.
“We have so many fabulous restaurants and we wanted to be able to highlight those,” said Penna. Penna works for the library as the community outreach coordinator and was approached by the mayor to help put the event together.

“There are such a wide variety of restaurants.” – Lee Penna
She noted that the goal of the event was to generate exposure for local establishments.
“In doing so we wanted to make a really nice event for the town and our neighboring towns – Lyndhurst and Rutherford – to help bring in business.”

Wine and dine under the stars

Penna described the event as a fine dining experience that people can enjoy casually.
“It is casual dining in a formal atmosphere,” noted Penna. She said the town aims to establish a certain ambiance for the evening including the lighting, music, decorations, and menu of signature dishes.
Front Street, which has several businesses along both sides – some of which are participating restaurants – will have 270 feet tented to provide cover for Restaurant Night attendees. People can dine by candlelight at standing linen-covered tables or while seated.
Admission to the event is free, but in order to sample a dish, attendees must purchase a ticket for $5. The more tickets purchased, the more someone can experience what local restaurants have to offer. Proceeds from ticket sales go to the participating restaurants.
The event also includes easy listening entertainment provided by singers Vito, Joe, and LC, who will perform rhythm and blues, Motown, and Frank Sinatra.

From bang bang shrimp to pumpkin ravioli

“We are exposing [guests] to restaurants that they may not have gone to before,” said Penna.
The list of restaurants includes chain establishments like Bonefish Grill, Houlihan’s, and Outback Steakhouse alongside independently-owned places like Molly McEvoy’s and Filomena’s. Penna said that the items offered up will appeal to all and includes vegetarian options from Indian restaurants like Mausam and Tadka. Asian cuisine will also be served up by places like China Chef and Aji, which will offer guests sushi. Desserts include tiramisu, canolis, cheesecake, and cappuccino cake among others. Some of the other participating restaurants include Carrabbas, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Cosi, Giannas, La Reggia, Trillo’s Italian restaurant, and Urban Plum.
“We’d like as many residents to come out as possible and those from neighboring areas,” said Penna. “We have fantastic restaurants that we’d like other communities to experience.”
As far as success for the evening, Penna said that she hopes all who attend have a “really good time” and enjoy it enough that they will return to Secaucus to patronize local restaurants.
“That it was an equally beneficial for the person who attended as well as the restaurant that participated,” said Penna about her expectations for the night.
Penna said that Restaurant Night may lead to a “restaurant week” like the ones hosted in other Hudson County towns such as Hoboken and Jersey City.
Secaucus Restaurant Night will be held on Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. on Front Street rain or shine. Tickets can be purchased at town hall or at the recreation center on the day of the event. For more information, please call: (201) 330-2083.

Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at

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