Eatery targeted for East Cherry Street space

A vacant East Cherry Street storefront is on tap to be transformed into a new eatery in the coming weeks.

Ralph Bahram, the owner of Rahway Fried Chicken (RFC), plans to open some type of restaurant in the space at 78 E. Cherry St., briefly occupied by Village Bistro last year. He had contemplated a cafe but is aiming to finalize a different concept/theme in the next few weeks.

Two years ago, Rahway Fried Chicken took over the corner space at East Cherry and Main streets once occupied by a shoe repair shop, and has since expanded into the space once occupied by Thomas’ Surf and Turf and before it, Just a Little Healthier.

In other retail tenant turnover news:

* Next door, at 84 E. Cherry St., Max Hair Care II Salon will be replaced by Ebony and Ivory Salon.

* KPP Graphic Designs opened in November at the corner of  West Grand Avenue and Oliver Street,  taking over a space formerly occupied by an antiques shop.

Java Shop sign
Photo Courtesy Tom Bayone

* The Java Shop opened just before Labor Day on Irving Street but just after the new year, the chalkboard sign in the window displayed the following message:  “With a heavy heart, we announce that we have closed The Java Shop due to owner’s illness. We thank all of our customers. It was our pleasure serving you.”

* El Quincho, an Argentinian BBQ joint,  opened in May on Monroe Street, but closed sometime after Thanksgiving.

* After almost five years, Power and Fitness on St. Georges Avenue closed. Owner Raymond Giacobbe, Jr., who also serves as 6th Ward councilman, opened facility spring 2009 but due to competition in the area and new gyms “popping up all over the place,” he said it was hard to stay competitive with corporate gyms.

17 thoughts on “Eatery targeted for East Cherry Street space”

  1. I really hope these new places can survive. I am a young professional who just recently moved to Rahway. The biggest issue I have seen is that many of the places around town aren’t open when I am actually able to go to them. I wish we could get a nice breakfast place that was open on a Sunday morning…or a place with more of a diner feel that’s open in the evenings. That place by the Dairy Queen, Dino’s, is awesome but it’s always empty and not open past 5 or 6pm so I worry that it will close soon. Maybe places should consider catering more to the young professionals occupying all of the new buildings who are looking for places to eat in the evenings and on the weekends and places that will deliver food to the buildings. Healthier options would be welcome, too!

    1. Jen M. I agree 100%. With the vibe and feel that Rahway is TRYING to accomplish, its important they attract businesses that will cater to young professionals. I also have tried going to a few retaurants but they have weird hours. Whats going on with Patria, is that place even opened anymore? I would love a good bagel place or deli.

    2. Great point, Jen. I’m in a similar situation as a young professional who moved to town 2 years ago.

      A few places I found that stand out:
      * The Waiting Room – casual bar with a wide selection of good American food and daily menu specials. The staff is always friendly and accommodating and they also have late night take-out.
      * La Malinche – small BYOB Mexican restaurant with great authentic food, generous servings, and low prices. Probably the best enchiladas verde I’ve had and the guacamole alone is worth checking this place out.
      * The Rail House Bar – 10 craft beers on tap that rotate every week, variety of whiskey choices and an eclectic menu that carries over elements from it’s fancier neighbor The Rail House to it’s menu of apps, burgers, and sandwiches.

      I’d love to see a great fresh bagel/hot breakfast spot in the E. Cherry location. Size seems about right for a take-out only and it’s close enough to the train station to get commuter traffic.

  2. I agree! The weird hours are baffling. I would LOVE a bagel/deli/coffee place! I have wanted to check out The Java Shop, but it’s oddly closed on Sundays. (Though now apparently it’s closed for good.)

    I’m not sure about Patria. I’ve never been, but their website makes it sound like they’re under new management? (

    It’d be cool if the local places did some sort of special to entice the new building residents to try their stuff – like dinner specials or even 10% off to local residents. Even just dropping off menus would be beneficial.

    1. I agree Jen. There is not even a place to get hot bagels on the wknd. More places should be open late on weeknights. A Starbucks or panera bread would do great downtown. Kim’s in the mix is good food and desserts if you haven’t tried it yet. Although currently opened only thurs-friday. The Mexican and Peruvian place across from theater also good cheap food. And of course waiting room is a favorite too.

  3. The biggest problem downtown are the parking machines and meters, they never work and you’re sure to get a parking ticket. Not worth the hassle. Take a lesson from Kenilworth where all of the stores do well.

  4. We all have really good ideas on ways to revitalize the down town. Not only do our ideas make sense but we are passionate about them. Who do we talk to in order to get the voices of RahwayRising heard? How can we make a difference? If anyone has suggestions let me know. Thanks

    1. I agree! We could attend a council meeting, reach out to whatever committee makes redevelopment decisions for the city, or the zoning board? Not sure which would be best.

      1. I don’t live downtown (we’re on Pierpont St), but it seems to me that the people who do live there and are looking for bagel shops, weekend breakfast places, etc. need to organize!. Pick an evening, reserve a room in the library, discuss what you want and attend a council meeting. but first talk to the business owners and have them attend the same council meeting. Don’t settle for an “I’ll take it under advisement” kind of response. Attend the redevelopment meetings with the same list. Offer to make phone calls and contact possible business owners. Hold events like the annual “Taste of Rahway” to let newcomers to Rahway know what’s available – but the “Taste” will be bagels and burgers instead of the usual upscale fare. Right now, you don’t know what’s available and the business owners don’t know what you want – its hit or miss and whoever is in charge of redevelopment is probably some elected official’s brother=in-law and he’s got no stake in the game. You do.

  5. Jen,
    I’d suggest starting with the Arts District board, they might have some committees that work on items/events, or contact your ward’s City Council member (rather than go to a meeting, though it’s public and I’m sure you’d be welcome). The Chamber of Commerce also offers memberships, has committee, more business focus.

    Zoning Board only takes up applications on specific properties seeking zoning variances. Redevelopment decisions are primarily driven by the Redevelopment Agency but it’s very policy driven, no committees per se, but meetings are open to the public as are the others.

    How about start a committee with these folks?

    1. I would definitely start a committee, but how? Do you have a number of someone from the Arts District or Redevelopment Agency? Where can we make our voices be heard? Is anyone else interested?

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