From the outside, Henry’s looks like an old-school luncheonette, which went out of fashion in the early 1960’s. However, peer through the window, and you see something’s up with the large, modern cooking area, and nicely stocked shelves. Then you realize all the packages have Polish labels, and you remember that you’re at the very epicenter of the Polish section of Trenton: European Bakery is next door, Cosmo Food Market is across the street, and Rozmaryn Restaurant is around the corner.
Brunswick Sports is an old-fashioned bait and tackle shop that offers a good selection of products combined with expert advice. Re-opened by 4 partners in April of 2006, it’s the perfect place to find out what’s happening on the local streams.
The European Bakery (“EB”) is the expanded successor to the Eagle Bakery (now closed), which used to operate two blocks down Olden Street. It offers a wonderful variety of authentic Polish-style baked goods – pastries, cakes, and breads – plus a well-stocked deli with cold cuts, sausages, and an assortment of grocery items.
Franca’s is clearly the best of the old-line Italian bakeries remaining in Trenton. It does some lovely, crusty peasant breads, a mean sfoliatella (a ridged, chewy, triangular pastry filled with a lemony ricotta filling), and a decent cheese cake. There may be other good items as well; I’ll confess to have sampled only a few.
P&G Trading Company is one of central NJ’s premiere purveyors of fine seafoods to the wholesale trade. The heart of their business is delivering seafood to restaurants and groceries. While they used to have a retail store, they recently ran out of room in the warehouse and had to close it. However, I am assured by the owner that they will still sell retail, though only now in case quantities or whole sides of fish.
Some of the most beautiful candles on the planet are made in Trenton. Ana Candles, the original striped taper, are sold in premiere home decor, gift shops, and musuems across the country. You’ve probably seen them: they have a unique horizontal striped design in a variety of exotic colors. The design can’t be made with conventional candle-making equipment – Frank Weeden, the late founder of Ana Design Corporation, invented special machinery to make it possible.
Whatever your thoughts about the Museum itself (state treasure, or politically correct snooze-fest), the Museum Shop is one of the best places in the county to purchase an exotic gift for that special someone.
Supreme is a decent sized market (10,000 SF, not a 60,000 SF superstore). The prices are reasonable, the meat, fish, and produce sections (targeting Hispanic buyers) are actually quite good, and the produce is fresh. Very cool.
The Farmer’s Market is located just over the border from Trenton in Lawrence (though with a Trenton postal address), and is located near Trenton’s Polish enclave. It’s truly a first-rate farmer’s market, with nine produce venders, three butchers, several bakeries, an Amish market, several restaurants and a plethora of antique, craft, and gift stores. It is also a terrific value, particularly if you purchase 2nd quality produce (sometimes slightly bruised or just misshapen) which is offered by many of the vendors at an enormous discount.
Put another way…all those suburban Italian restaurants which are driving the Chambersburg eateries out of business? Many of them are serving Porfirio’s products. Ain’t capitalism wonderful? If you live or work in Trenton, the place to go is the Anderson Street store. There you’ll find at least 11 different varieties of fresh-made ravioli in stock
Halo has survived by offering good quality dairy products (including all different varieties of milk, including lactose free, plus orange juice, iced team, lemonade, eggs, and importantly ICE CREAM) at warehouse prices.
One of the secrets to cooking with spices is to always make sure they’re fresh. The difference between fresh cumin or ground coriander, and stuff that’s been sitting around for a while, is astonishing. That’s why Broad Imports Distributors is so cool. You can buy spices in the precise quantities you need, at reasonable prices.
The Cosmo is at the epicenter of Trenton’s Polish neighborhood, right on the NW corner of Olden and Brunswick. It’s a mini holiday just to enter and browse the shelves. They’re packed with European grocery items: cookies, candies, dozens of varieties of pickles and jarred preserves.
Women! Have you ever dreamed of having a personal shopper with exquisite taste who would travel to Paris on shopping excursions, to bring back affordable fashions that satisfied your deepest inner cravings? Betty Young, proprietor of The Comfort Zone, is just that shopper, and will push you towards an even bolder level of self-expression.
After being flooded out of New Hope, Eric Maywar reopened his used and rare book shop in the heart of the revitalizing South Warren district. It’s become a great place to find a book cheap, as well as to meet some of the most interesting people in Trenton.