(This article written by Linda Condrillo)
“Mommy, they have our brand of granola here!” came an ecstatic voice from a nine year old child, skipping around the bustling aisles of Gillespie’s market on a Sunday afternoon.
In fact, there is a wide variety of almost everything edible (and even things that are not) at Gillespie’s, Mountainside’s new grocery store located at 856 Mountain Avenue.
Neat and tidy rows of dry goods are surrounded by smiling faces ready to help customers select the freshest in organic produce, artisan cheeses, quality meats and fish, gourmet sauces, spices, vinegars, oils, preserves, homemade caramel, marinades, crackers, as well as a small frozen section. There’s also fresh loaves of bread from Balthazar, and so much more.
The Borough’s new “village type mini market” is the brainchild of Christopher Barrasso of Westfield.
After graduating from Westfield High School, Mr. Barrasso pursued a cooking career in New York City. He originally wanted to open his restaurant in the space, but was also intent on “doing things right.” He decided instead to open a retail store which would allow him to continue “to be in touch with food” and still be able to “get to go home at night.”
The staff is as amicable as the store is beautiful, inside and out. No surprise there, as many of Mr. Barrasso’s employees are locals from Mountainside. Some are hard working teens like Pat Tedesco, Liam Christoffer, Peter Goggi and Gabriella Ferragamo -- all juniors attending Governor Livingston H.S.
Pat said he really liked the flexible hours, and added, “they treat you really nice here.”
A grand opening is planned for late October, and according to Mr. Barrasso, Mountainside’s much anticipated expanded premier wine shop, Vine Republic, will be presenting some wine pairing suggestions for the foodstuffs at the market.
In the meantime, be sure to visit the farm table in the back of the store and pick up a recipe courtesy of Mr. Barrasso’s mom. Here's a recipe for Salade Nicoise.
Two heads of Boston lettuce, torn. Half a large seedless cucumber, sliced, 1 & 1/3 cup small, pitted olives, 8 small, ripe tomatoes, quartered, 2 thinly sliced shallots, 1 cup roasted red peppers, sliced, 2 tablespoons non pareil capers, vinaigrette, 4 shelled hard boiled eggs, quartered, 8 ounces of premium canned tuna, 8 anchovy filets. Vinaigrette, - whisk ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup red wine vinegar, ½ half teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil, 1 tablespoon fretless chopped oregano, black pepper to taste.
Mix lettuce, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, shallots, peppers and capers in large bowl. Toss with vinaigrette. Distribute mixture evenly on plates, top each with two anchovy filets, two ounces of tuna and one egg each.
Bon Appétit, and Bonne Chance Gillespie’s!
Gillespie’s, located at 856 Mountain Ave is open every day until 8 p.m. Delivery service is also available. The phone number is 908-264-8636.