Collingswood, New Jersey

Collingswood earns 4 Golden Forks (and more!) from South Jersey Magazine

South Jersey Magazine has picked four Collingswood restaurants as the top 25 in South Jersey. Sapori, Nunzio Ristorante Rustico, Zeppoli and Sagami all earned a Golden Fork which recognizes, “unique and talented chefs” as well as “inviting décor and topnotch service, not to mention mouthwatering food…” Blackbird also got a nod in the Adventurous Eating category for their snails. Read on for the full reviews.

Zeppoli
618 Collings Ave., Collingswood
(856) 854-2670 | ZeppoliRestaurant.com
Just two years after chef Joey Baldino left his post as chef de cuisine at Philadelphia’s acclaimed Vetri Ristorante to open up Collingswood’s first Sicilian fine dining establishment, Zeppoli has earned a reputation across the tri-state area as a can’t-miss dining destination. Following a James Beard nomination this fall, the newest talk of the town isn’t slowing down, with a constantly-evolving seasonal menu entirely devised by Baldino himself.
Cuisine: Sicilian
Vibe: Cozy Italian Kitchen
Don’t Miss: A meeting with head chef Baldino, who can be found greeting guests and dishing out orders on most nights.
Best Value: Save some room for the free struffoli served with your check, a mini-dessert of marble-sized dough bites coated in honey and topped with rainbow diavulillis.
Best Table: Any available table is the best choice, as space is limited in the 35-seater dining room.
Can’t-Miss Dish: An Italian rib-eye might throw some meat-lovers off, but the bistecca enna, crackling and coated in Sicilian herbs and spice then served with a fresh arugula and tomato salad, is one meal you won’t ever forget.
Chef Recommends: Chef Baldino goes for the squid ink pasta entrée, consisting of jet black pasta made by hand. For dessert, try the semifreddo, a frozen pistachio and almond dish drizzled with caramel.
Added Perks: Outdoor seating sets a romantic scene on a cool summer night, and the BYOB option challenges you to find the perfect pairing.
Regular’s Choice: Zeppoli’s specials are constantly changing with the seasons, but you can’t go wrong with the antipasto Siciliano, a starter of cured meats, cheeses and extras fit for sharing.
Sweet Ending: The obvious choice here is the restaurant’s namesake: the zeppoli Siciliano, deep-fried dough balls dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with a side of Nutella. But don’t neglect their seasonal gelattis and sorbettos, a refreshing finale to a big meal.
Dynamic Drink: Fresh-squeezed Sicilian orange-blossom lemonade is a sweet and unique alternative for those who chose to leave the wine at home. Pro Tip: Both weekday and weekend diners will want to make their reservation sooner rather than later, as seats in this tiny hotspot fill up fast.

Sagami
37 W. Crescent Blvd., Collingswood
(856) 858-2288 | Facebook.com/sagami.nj
Hidden in Collingswood, this BYOB sushi house isn’t your typical Americanized Japanese restaurant. Here you’ll get the real thing, made painstakingly by owner and head sushi chef Shigeru Fukuyoshi. Fish is chosen fresh, specifically for these straightforward, flavorful dishes.
Cuisine: Japanese and sushi.
Vibe: Think dark lighting and in-the-know diners.
Don’t Miss: Though sushi is the real specialty here, it’s worth it to try the zaru soba at least once: cold buckwheat noodles served with ginger, wasabi, green onion and nori, atop a bamboo plate.
Can’t-Miss Dish: You may not find it in many places, but the soft-shell crab maki roll is one you won’t soon forget. Here, soft-shell crab is tempura fried and rolled in sushi rice and nori.
Chef Recommends: The chirashi bowl, a colorful assortment of sashimi (like shrimp, octopus, salmon and tuna slices) arranged over vinegar-laden sushi rice. This overflowing bowl is also the restaurant’s most popular dish.
Regular’s Choice: Many chose the delicate starter of agedashi tofu; it’s lightly fried soft tofu served in a broth speckled with little mushrooms—a Japanese favorite.
Sweet Ending: The dessert menu is small here, but if you’ve got an insatiable sweet tooth, choose between fresh pineapple slices and ice creams in flavors like green tea or red bean.

Sapori Trattoria Italiana
601 Haddon Ave., Collingswood
(856) 858-2288 | Sapori.info
Since being voted best Italian spot in the state for 2011/12 by the national eating guide Zagat, Italian-born chef Franco Lombardo has only continued to improve at his Collingswood eatery. Authentic cuisine that is skillfully prepared coupled with a warm setting help keep the dining room full.
Cuisine: Tuscan-inspired Italian
Vibe: Rich velvets and bold tapestries, stone walls and wrought iron accents take you out of the heart of Collingswood and into a medieval Italian villa.
Don’t Miss: The chef’s tasting course gives diners a one-on-one experience with chef Lombardo, as he creates a five-to-six course, meal catered entirely around your personal preferences.
Best Value: In a day and age when farm-to-table is more than a trend, Lombardo’s mix of grass fed and all-natural beef, chicken and veal is welcomed.
Can’t-Miss Dish: The fish and shellfish is always extraordinarily fresh, like the caciucco di pesce, a hearty filet of red snapper sauteed in a white wine-saffron fish stock with equally-impressive clams, calamari and mussels and served atop crostini.
Added Perks: The chef will work off the menu to create specialty dishes upon request, though it’s a challenge not to find something intriguing.
Regular’s Choice: From-scratch gnocchi al tris di carne features veal, beef and pork braised in a red wine tomato sauce along with a generous helping of light and airy pasta.
Sweet Ending: Creme brulee is given a creamy and Italian twist as a mascarpone cheesecake.

Nunzio Ristorante Rustico
706 Haddon Ave., Collingswood
(856) 858-9840 | http://www.nunzios.net
Chef Nunzio Patruno makes food above your average South Jersey Italian spot; from his homemade spaghetti and meatballs to more sophisticated entrées, he’s showcasing all he learned while growing up along the southern Italian coast and cooking through regions along the Mediterranean before making the move to open restaurants in Pennsylvania and South Jersey. In this spot along Collingswood’s “restaurant row,” you’ll feel transported to a sunny piazza by both the food and architecture.
Cuisine: Italian
Vibe: Rustic trattoria
Best Value: While sating your hunger with the gratis rustic bread and dipping sauce, order a starter of imported Buffalo mozzarella; only $12.50, this superior cheese is paired with salty proscuitto, tomato and peppery arugula, with enough to share.
Can’t-Miss Dish: Chef Patruno hand-rolls the potato gnocchi before delicately cooking the plump little dumplings to be served in a creamy gorgonzola sauce, dotted with mushrooms, salty prosciutto and peas.
Added Perks: For events or special occasions, the chef can book a private dining room—including one inside the kitchen—for six to 12 guests, with a unique menu that’s tailored to you.
Regular’s Choice: It’s a classic dish that keeps customers happy: Nunzio’s breaded chicken parmigiana is covered with linguine and just the right amount of marinara—call it “red gravy” if you must, but there’s more to it than that.
Sweet Ending: Among a dessert menu of cannoli and Italian tartufo affogato, you’ll find fluffy profiteroles, one of the chef’s specialties. Here the vanilla cream puffs are served with gelato and drizzled chocolate sauce.
Don’t Miss: Frequent themed dinners and prix-fixe menus liven things up, like a recent Wild Game Night (think braised pheasant and venison meatballs) and an upcoming Valentine’s Day menu to please your sweetheart.
Pro Tip: Be sure to ask about the restaurant’s cooking classes, where Patruno combines his expertise with remembrances of the regions and dishes that inspired him.

Adventerous eating: Blackbird, Collingswood
Vineyard Snails
Perfectly-sized bites of snail are sauteed lightly in fresh herbs and truffle butter, to truly bring out their flavors.

Collingswood sees $26K savings as part of NJSEM

Utility bids save municipalities $6.1 million combined in 2012

One hundred and eighty municipalities and utility authorities comprise the New Jersey Sustainable Energy Joint Meeting (NJSEM) and they realized a total savings of approximately $6.1 million on utility supply costs through the cooperative purchase of fixed price electricity in 2012," said the Chairman of the NJSEM, William Close of the Town of Dover, Morris County. As a member of NJSEM, Collingswood has saved $26,775.14 in energy costs over 2011 and 2012.The Borough will continue participation in the program in 2013 and the foreseeable future.

”We’re working to find every possible way to reduce our budget and the SEM is a no brainer,” said Collingswood Commissioner Mike Hall. “This provides lower costs and certainty. Moving forward, it fixes utility prices for a period. Collaborating like this to reduce costs is key to running local government.”

Established in 2009, the goal of the NJSEM is to pool the resources of its governmental entities to purchase natural gas and electricity competitively. The ultimate objectives are price stability and budgetary certainty for all members, secured through a competitive bid process with the opportunity to realize savings which might not be available to customers who solicit on their own. The NJSEM works on behalf of all public entities to save money on energy costs, while adhering to the Local Public Contracts Law and all applicable Department of Community Affairs (DCA) regulations.

Combining 2011 & 2012, the NJSEM saved its members approximately $9.1M compared to Board of Public Utility (BPU) electricity rates by territory. The table below provides a summary of each member's electricity savings over the past two years. Recently, the SEM's Executive Committee, composed of municipal business administrators and public officials, also elected to accept a twenty-four month natural gas proposal at $5.2013 per dekatherm, effectively locking in a historically favorable fixed rate for participating members over the next two years. The resulting award of the contracts saves NJSEM members millions of dollars in energy costs.

“Municipal governments and authorities throughout New Jersey are always looking for ways to reduce costs,” said Chairman Close. “The members of NJSEM have done so by joining together to secure more competitive prices for their energy and at the same time, locked in a noticeable savings of taxpayer dollars for their respective townships and utility authorities.”

The SEM is also currently scheduled to receive bids in April for electricity to coincide with the NJ Energyyear which runs from June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2014.

Visit the NJSEM website at www.NJSEM.org for more information about the New Jersey Sustainable Energy Meeting.

Dustless Hardwood Floors hosts Toy Drive

Toy donations will be accepted again at Dustless Hardwood Floors to benefit the Collingswood Head Start program and to encourage recycling.

Like the Holiday Magic toy drive in December, gently used toys and books can be brought to Dustless Hardwood Floors at 487 Haddon Ave, Ste A, Collingswood, NJ. They can be dropped off inside during normal business hours, 10-2, Monday - Thursday, or left on the covered porch to be taken in after hours, each night, for the whole month of April. Donations will be taken by staff and initiative creator, Susan Tucker, to Collingswood Head Start, to benefit the school and its families.

Dustless Hardwood Floors is a green company that thanks you for recycling in honor of Earth Day and every day! For questions or other inside drop off times, please contact Donna at (856) 833-0024.

Symphony in C moves to Collingswood

Music Director Rossen Milanov and Board Chairman Robert Kugler are pleased to announce the move of Symphony in C’s administrative and box offices to Collingswood. Symphony in C will officially occupy the offices beginning March 25, 2013.

Symphony in C will lease an 800 square foot office at 576 Haddon Avenue, right in the heart of bustling Collingswood. The move will provide greater access to Symphony in C’s regional audience with full box office services available at the new location. Symphony in C will perform its annual Concerts for Young People at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, but will continue to perform all of its subscription concerts at Gordon Theater, Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts. Symphony in C will continue its commitment to the City of Camden, providing daily instrumental instruction in many of Camden’s schools, while exploring new opportunities in Collingswood.

“While Symphony in C remains committed to the City of Camden in so many ways, including performances and classroom education programs, moving the offices to Collingswood creates new opportunities for our organization,” remarked Symphony in C Board Chair, Robert Kugler.

“We’re thrilled to have Symphony in C in Collingswood,” said Mayor Jim Maley. “This adds so much to our reputation as a town that supports the arts. The possibilities for partnership between the Borough and Symphony in C are endless. There’s going to be a lot to look forward to.”

Symphony in C is positioned and poised for its continued organizational and artistic growth in southern New Jersey, the Mid-Atlantic region and nationally. Nationally recognized as a training ground for up-and-coming musicians, Symphony in C is the only professional training orchestra in the Mid-Atlantic to provide musical performance training and career development services for musicians pursuing a career as orchestral musicians. Symphony in C reaches more than 27,000 students and adults of all ages and abilities through its nationally recognized Music Matters! educational outreach programs.

Symphony in C’s mission is to provide training for tomorrow’s orchestra musicians, music directors, soloists, composers, and audiences, by presenting artistically excellent performances and educational programs enriching the cultural life of the Mid-Atlantic region with a special focus on the City of Camden. The success of our musicians is recognized by alumni performing in major orchestras throughout the world including The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

Symphony in C programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, New Jersey Cultural Trust, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, Subaru of America and the William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation. Symphony in C is a member of the South Jersey Cultural Alliance (SJCA).

Collingswood is a historic NJ town 10 minutes outside Philadelphia. Known for its eclectic downtown and BYO restaurant scene it has taken home national recognition including being named a Top 10 Transformed Neighborhood by Forbes, the Best Place to Go Car Free by Men’s Journal magazine, a Classic Town of Greater Philadelphia by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, a Great Place in America (Haddon Avenue) by the American Planning Association and is home to the Collingswood Farmers’ Market, voted best in America by the American Farmland Trust.

Spring library programs for kids!

Spring Storytime for 3, 4 & 5 year olds (Tiny Tot info below!)
Thursdays at 10am
Collingswood Public Library, 771 Haddon Avenue
Peter P. Childs Meeting Room

Dates & Themes
April 11 - Poem in Your Pocket
April 18 - You Belong @ Your Library
April 25 - Tell Me, Tree
May 2 - The Three Little Pigs
May 9  - Tale Mysteries
May 16 - See You Later, Alligator
May 23 - Everywhere Babies
May 30 - It’s a Zoo Out There
June 6 - G is for Goat

Three, four, and five-year-old children meet on Thursdays at 10am in the Peter P. Childs Meeting Room at the Library for stories, songs, finger plays, snack, and a play period.  A theme-related craft is given to each child to take home.  Coffee is provided for adults. New attendees can register for this session by calling Carol or Dot at 858-0649.

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Tiny Tot Storytime (18-35 months old)
Wednesday or Friday programs available, 10am
Peter P. Childs Meeting Room, Collingswood Public Library771 Haddon Avenue

This program is limited to 12 children and includes simple stories, finger plays, songs, and playtime. Caregivers must register their child each month beginning on the specified date below to participate. There will be no reservations taken before that time. Please call Carol or Dot at 856-858-0649 to register. Walk-ins not be permitted.

Registration begins Fri., April 5 for Wed., April 10, 17, 24 OR Fri., April 12, 19, 26

Registration begins Fri., May 3 for Wed., May 8, 15, 22 OR Fri., May 10, 17, 24

Registration begins Fri., May 31 for Wed., June 5, 12, 19 OR Fri., June 7, 14, 21

 

Dispose of unused medicines on April 27

MEDICINE COLLECTION DAY For Collingswood Residents ONLY
APRIL 27, 2013 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m WHERE: Collingswood Police Department, 735 N. Atlantic Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08108

A prescription for safe kids & community
-Keep pills out of the hands of drug abusers
-Help protect local rivers & ponds
-Prevent childhood poisonings

WHY SHOULD WE CARE? Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are taken from medicine cabinets at home or from family and friends. Each day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America.

NEVER flush or pour unused medicine down the drain. Water reclamation facilities are not designed to remove all medicines from the waste stream. Drugs can end up going through the plants and directly to our lakes and rivers. Various levels of antibiotics, anti-depressants, veterinary drugs, birth control hormones and other drugs have been detected in waterways across the United States. Antibiotics in the environment may also contribute to the development of drug resistant germs.

YOU CAN BRING: Prescription Medication & Over the Counter Medication. Ointments, sprays, inhalers, creams, vials and pet medications are acceptable.

DO NOT BRING Illegal Drugs, Biohazardous Material (Collingswood hazardous waste day is April 20 - details here), Needles/Sharps, Personal Care Products (shampoo, soaps, lotions, sunscreens, etc), Household Hazardous Waste  (paint, pesticides, oil, gas). Research suggests that hormones found in pharmaceuticals may cause abnormalities in the reproductive cycles of fish.

Deadline for pet licenses - March 31

Reminder! Dog and cat licenses are due by March 31! Get your pet licensed by the end of the month to avoid a late fee. Forms are on the Borough Clerk’s page, at the bottom, here.

With questions call 856-854-0720 x127.

Alice in Wonderland - ballet for families - at the Scottish Rite

BalletFleming presents Alice in Wonderland at the Scottish Rite Theatre - a classical, family-friendly interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved Alice in Wonderland, just in time for spring!

BalletFleming, together with dancers from the Tricia Sloan Dance School, presents an original ballet adventure choreographed by former New York City Ballet dancer and world-acclaimed choreographer Christopher Fleming. Follow Alice down the rabbit hole as she meets the weird and wonderful characters of Wonderland – have tea with the Mad Hatter, play treacherous croquet with the Queen of Hearts and meet a White Rabbit who leads her all the way!

Featuring two performances at the Scottish Rite Theatre in Collingswood, NJ, Alice in Wonderland is the first event in a new partnership between this venue and BalletFleming. Christopher Fleming is “thrilled to partner with the Scottish Rite to introduce the BalletFleming to a whole new audience in and around Camden County. While we have worked with the Tricia Sloan Dance School for some time, most recently in December’s performances of The Nutcracker at the Scottish Rite, this new partnership will allow us to continue to bring new, exciting works to one of the area’s best and most beloved theatres.”

Performances are Saturday, May 11 at 1 and 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $22 each, available through the Company’s website: www.balletfleming.org or by calling 215-454-2858. The Scottish Rite Theatre is located at 315 White Horse Pike in Collingswood, NJ.

The goal of BalletFleming is to inspire, engage, entertain and educate the public through the works of its Artistic Director, Christopher Fleming. Established in 2010, the company is guided by this purpose in its performances, teaching, outreach activities and commitment to the community.

Shared services agreement for FD inspections signed

Collingswood and Pennsauken sign shared services agreement for fire services, inspections

In another step to reduce costs and share services between municipalities, Collingswood and Pennsauken officials formalized an agreement in March to share fire prevention and housing inspection services for three years.

The arrangement merges inspection services of the two fire departments to create a Fire Prevention Bureau which will share Pennsauken’s current fire official, one administrative secretary from Collingswood, and four licensed part time inspectors to be hired by both Collingswood and Pennsauken to handle the fire and property maintenance inspections for both towns. The Bureau will be headquartered in Pennsauken, but property owners can still contact their local fire departments to make payments, drop off paperwork and handle other business. The process also means streamlining forms and fees for each town and making more information available online.

“This is a much more cost effective way of doing business and creates numerous efficiencies within both of our organizations. This will allow us to provide a better service to the residents, owners and businesses in our municipalities,” said Collingswood Fire Chief Keith Davis.

This shared service will save Collingswood $50,000, Pennsauken $70,000 and frees up fire fighters for emergencies and fire prevention efforts including education programs like smoke detectors programs, school outreach and other community services. The new inspection bureau framework is designed to allow other interested municipalities to partner for inspections as well.

”This is set up so that other towns in the region can easily get on board as well and we can all see a savings in our inspection costs,” said Davis.

“By merging, everyone wins,” said Pennsauken Fire Chief Joseph Palumbo. “Each town is leveraging their strengths to build upon the current inspection process with more comprehensive resources. We’ll get to do more inspections more thoroughly in a timely basis and at a better cost. That also means safer properties for both towns.”


”This is another great example of local officials looking closely at ways to save money, opening the lines of communication and taking steps that have a serious impact on how we run our towns,” said Collingswood Mayor Jim Maley. “It’s more important now than ever that we investigate ways to work together to run things as efficiently as possible.”

“What really stands out about this shared services agreement is that it keeps firefighters on the trucks; so in addition to saving taxpayer money, we’re also improving the coverage of both of our fire departments,” said Pennsauken Mayor Rick Taylor. “This innovative plan is a testament to the hard work of Chief Palumbo, our department of Public Safety, as well as Chief Davis, Mayor Maley and the good people of Collingswood.”

Collingswood announces Pedestrian Safety Initiative

In an effort to increase safety for pedestrians in Collingswood, well known as a walkable community, officials are kicking off a Pedestrian Safety Initiative in spring 2013. The program, titled “Stop at the sign or pay the fine,” aims to remind drivers that it is imperative to follow pedestrian safety regulations and will crack down on those that put pedestrians and other drivers at risk.

The program will focus on stricter enforcement of traffic laws including curbing speeding and illegal u-turns, enforcing full stops at signs and enforcing crosswalk laws and other increased ticketing of violations that put pedestrians in danger. The Borough will also improve signage and hire part time help this summer to repaint crosswalks throughout town.

“The idea is to really stress that driving that puts pedestrians at risk will be ticketed,” said Collingswood Mayor Jim Maley. “We’re known as a walkable town and a destination so we want to keep residents and visitors as safe as possible. We get a lot of feedback on this issue. It’s a major concern for us especially in the spring when people flock to town for warm weather events, shopping and dining.”

The Borough already staffs crossing guards and has bump outs and other traffic calming devices in the downtown along Haddon Avenue in an effort to maintain a safe walking atmosphere. The “Stop at the sign or pay the fine” program will increase the current budget for traffic calming measures.

”This initiative keeps people safer and will give Collingswood a reputation as a place where careless driving isn’t tolerated,” said Collingswood Police Chief Richard Sarlo. “It’s remarkable how many people ignore traffic laws that protect pedestrians.

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