S.O. restaurant blends heritage and cuisine

A South Orange restaurant is now adding some Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavor to the community.

Merinda Gruszecki/ Digital/Social Media Editor

Located on the corner of South Orange Avenue and Prospect Street, Jackie and Son is an American-Mediterranean eatery and bakery with an espresso, coffee and juice bar. The restaurant, which opened on April 10, serves a variety of sandwiches and breakfast dishes.

Several Seton Hall students said that the new eatery serves delicious meals and has a comfortable atmosphere for college students.

Maiti Rooth, a senior diplomacy major, said she tried the restaurant’s avocado toast and really enjoyed it. “They upped the avocado toast game,” Rooth said. “I took one bite and was super happy that there was cheese in there.”

Jackie Podhurst, the owner of the restaurant, said that the avocado toast, which includes two fried eggs, grilled halloumi cheese and roasted tomatoes, was a recipe that naturally came to her and is the most popular item on the menu. “The first time that I made avocado toast is the first time that I opened the doors,” Podhurst said.

Similarly, the restaurant business was something that became second nature to Podhurst.

“It [the restaurant] has been in the works since I have been a 10-year-old girl,” Podhurt said. “From a very early age, my brothers and I have always worked hand-in-hand with my father. He came to the United States to become a chemist at Montclair State University, and ended up working in restaurants his whole life.”

Podhurst said her family takes inspiration from their Israeli-Arab roots. They also own and operate two Jackie’s Grillette restaurants in Montclair and Little Falls, N.J.

Podhurst said that she traced her roots back to Nazareth and Rama Village in Israel, where most of her family resides. These roots, she said, inspired her to bring this Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flare to South Orange residents.

Some of these dishes include the shakshuka, which consists of two fried eggs with spiced tomato sauce; feta and parsley served with sourdough toast; and the “Taste of Home,” which consists of two fried eggs, za’atar labneh (a spiced, strained yogurt), and vegetable meze.

Some students also visit the restaurant for its fresh smoothies, like Emily High, a sophomore public relations major. “All of the items there are made with fresh ingredients, and that includes the mango smoothie,” she said.

Podhurst said that a student can come and enjoy themselves and splurge as well. She explained some of the restaurant’s low prices.

“The Classic Egg Sammie is $5, which is a great deal with some good coffee,” Podhurst said. “There is something here for everyone.”

Sabrina Saroza, a sophomore visual and sound media major, said she enjoys the restaurant’s atmosphere and decor.

“When I go there, it makes me feel like I am a journalist writing my story on a New York rooftop,” she said, “mostly because of the atmosphere and the way it is decorated.”

Dalton Allison can be reached at dalton.allison@student.shu.edu.

Author: Dalton Allison

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