Bebe & The Big Brothers

Auditions

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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 12, 2000. All rights reserved.

Dining Destination: Delta’s

E-mail: ElaineStrauss@princetoninfo.com

Entering Delta’s, the new restaurant on Dennis Street

in New Brunswick, one first meets a Norman Rockwell reproduction that

shows a small African-American girl, so immaculately groomed she shines,

wearing a dazzlingly white dress. Earnest and hopeful, she is being

escorted to school by two pairs of Federal marshals. The poster declares

both the political and ethnic stance of the strikingly successful

eatery and jazz spot that opened its doors in late December.

The Delta’s name is intended to evoke the delta region in Mississippi,

Tennessee, and Louisiana "where the land is fruitful." And

restaurant owner Coretta King, 27, describes the cuisine as "upscale

soul food." (That’s right: her name matches that of the wife of

civil rights leader Martin Luther King.) A mixed crowd covering the

spectrum from black to white gathers at the restaurant to enjoy ample

portions of rural Southern food served up with American music. King’s

fiance, Joshua Suggs, 28, who was instrumental in bringing the enterprise

into existence, and who serves as bartender, says, "We’re calling

it Southern food because we don’t want to scare anybody away."

The adventursome young couple plan to marry in May.

Chef Henry T. Dominick, 33, was born in South Carolina, and trained

at the Hudson County Culinary Institute. He was formerly at the Hasbrouck

Heights Hilton.

Delta’s quarters, just down the street from the Frog and the Peach,

has been home to a succession of restaurants. The familiar 45-foot-long

oak bar from the 1920s is still there, along with a large mirror with

etched-glass decorations. Diners sit either at floor level or on a

balcony that overlooks the rest of the restaurant. The walls are decorated

with prints of paintings by African-American artist Alonzo Adams.

A particularly memorable large print in the perfectly-lit alcove area

on the ground floor shows a grandmotherly black woman working on an

eye-catching quilt that occupies most of the picture frame.

Under her hospitable gaze, diners can choose from a variety of food

with Southern roots. Appetizers, ranging in price from raw vegetables

with a spinach dip at $4 to shrimp cocktail with a Southwestern cocktail

sauce at $8.95, include Maryland crab cakes, fried okra, fried crawfish,

and a Creole crostini featuring a spicy topping of shrimp and andouille

sausage. A combination appetizer for two is available at $9.95. Salads

range from a house salad at $4 to a Caesar salad with shrimp at $7.95.

Soups include a daily special at $3.50, corn chowder for $4, and shrimp

and chicken gumbo for $4.50. Desserts range from $3 to $6, with sweet

potato cheesecake the house specialty.

Main dishes are available for both carnivores and vegetarians.

The vegetarian items, which include a three-bean southern chili, range

from $8.95 to $11.95. Other entrees, served with two side dishes,

range from $13.95 for chicken in gravy or meatloaf, to pecan-crusted

salmon with a Jack Daniel’s whiskey reduction at $22.95. Other items

include oxtails marinated in bourbon, catfish, whiting, marinated

ribs, and a 16-ounce sirloin steak. Among the more interesting side

dishes are black-eyed peas, fried okra, collard greens, and sweet

potato fries.

Brunch offers a choice of omelets, including a crawfish-shrimp-catfish

combination, or eggs accompanied by chicken, whiting, grits, or other

dishes for $16.95.

Delta’s serves lunch, beginning at 11:30 a.m., and dinner from 5 p.m.,

Tuesday through Sunday; Sunday brunch begins at 11 a.m.

The burgeoning weekend business is fired by live jazz, Fridays and

Saturdays at 9 p.m., with no additional charge. Dinner reservations

are imperative on weekends. Among jazz performers who have appeared

are Ralph Bowen and Ralph Peterson of Rutgers, as well as Pat Tandy.

No advance jazz performance schedule is currently available. Like

its performers, Delta’s is improvising its entertainment component

to suit its patrons’ tastes. In addition to the jazz, the restaurant

experimented with a Sunday gospel brunch, which attracted a large

and enthusiastic audience. Eventually, there will be an advance schedule

for weekend jazz and gospel brunches.

King and Suggs are new to the restaurant business. A California native,

King holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and human resource management

from Long Beach State College. She moved to central New Jersey in

1998. "When I came I realized that there was no soul food in New

Brunswick or the surrounding communities — you had to go to Newark

or New York — Delta’s just kind of fell together," she says.

When King arrived in New Jersey, Suggs was working as a disc jockey

at the restaurant that occupied Delta’s quarters just before. "I

knew that the owner wanted to sell," he says. "Then Coretta

came from California, and said `Hey, we should open a soul food restaurant.’

The idea was in the works for about a year before we opened."

Suggs graduated from Rutgers with an economics major in 1998.

"We’re serving 250 dinners Friday and Saturday night, and are

surprised to be this busy this early," says Suggs, acknowledging

that Delta’s is still inventing itself as it goes along. "We knew

that we would eventually be this busy, but we never thought it would

happen this soon."

— Elaine Strauss

Delta’s, 19 Dennis Street, New Brunswick, 732-249-1551.

Lunch from 11:30 a.m.; dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. Sunday

brunch 11 a.m. Bar menu. Closed Mondays.

Top Of Page
Bebe & The Big Brothers

The annual "free" ice cream cone day at Ben & Jerry’s is Tuesday,

April 18, noon to 8 p.m., at the Forrestal Village food court, and

Bebe Neuwirth, star of stage and screen, is scheduled to scoop

beginning at 12:30 p.m. The event will benefit Big Brothers Big

Sisters of Mercer County.

That Neuwirth is a celebrity scooper is just part of the story. It

seems that the actress’s father contributed to founding a new program

that has multiplied across the nation. In 1991 Lee Neuwirth of

Institute for Defense Analyses and Gary Turndorf of The Landis Group

had assembled a small group of mentors and needed help with screening,

training, and case management. The mentors had been recruited by

Project ’55, established by the Princeton University Class of 1955.

Big Brothers Big Sisters agreed to provide the orientation for this

group, and the group "adopted" Cadwalader elementary school that year.

At first, the staff of the social service organization worried that

this program would be a watered down version of the traditional one,

where an adult is paired with a young person for home-based weekly

activity. "That opinion soon changed when Big Brothers Big Sisters of

Mercer County received an exemplary award at the national conference

in Indianapolis in June 1992," says Kim Cody a BB/BS

spokesperson. This idea grew so that 168 local agencies around the

world have a school-based mentor program with this one used as the

model.

Now seven departments in state government allow release time for their

employees to participate as mentors. Three years ago the organization

was chosen as one of 52 recipients from 479 applicants for a federal

grant for juvenile mentoring programs. The grant amounted to $158,000

over three years and has just ended. This year 92 mentors are meeting

with 60 girls and 32 boys between the ages of six and 14 each week in

19 schools. Over a 10 year period, more than 400 children have been

mentored, but now 48 children are on the waiting lists for mentors.

For information call 609-656-1000 (www.bbbsnj.org).

Top Of Page
Auditions

Yardley Players Theater has auditions for its August production

of "The Sound of Music" at Kelsey Theater, Mercer County College,

Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30. Roles for 7 children ages 7

to 20; adults; and a large adult chorus are open. For audition appointment,

call Marge Swider 215-968-1904.

Plays in the Park, Middlesex County’s summer theater in

Edison, has auditions for four summer musicals Friday, April 28, through

Sunday, April 30. "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,"

"Evita," "The King and I," and "You’re a Good

Man Charlie Brown" are all being cast. Auditions are at the theater’s

home, Capestro Theater, Roosevelt Park, Edison. Open call for children

ages 6 through 12 is Saturday, April 29, at 10 a.m. only. No appointments.

Call 732-548-2884; website: www.playsinthepark.com.

Call for Entries

Mercer County Senior Citizen Art Contest seeks entries

to its Mercer County Show. Deadline for entry applications is Monday,

May 1, for the exhibit that will take place June 2 to 15. Any artist

age 60 or older living in Mercer County may submit one entry of original

work completed within the last three years. For application and guidelines

call 609-989-6661.

The Professional Writers Alliance of Mercer County is

accepting entries to its high school journalism contest in three categories:

news, features, and editorials. Articles must be published in school

or community newspapers or newsletters between May 1, 1999, and the

contest deadline, April 30. Entry forms are available at most libraries

or call Amy Rubens, 609-585-5085.

The Kelsey Review, Mercer College’s literary journal,

is accepting submissions for its next issue through Monday, May 1.

Any writer or artist who lives in the county may submit short fiction,

poetry, essays, drawings, or cartoons. Call 609-586-4800, ext. 3326,

or e-mail kelsey.review@mccc.edu.

The Mrs. New Jersey United Nation Pageant is seeking contestants

for its first annual pageant. The competition will take place Sunday,

June 4, at the Princeton Holiday Inn. Competition will feature an

interview, evening gown, and tennis wear competition. "We are

looking for women who want to make a difference in their communities.

Ten percent of the pageant score is for community involvement,"

says director Lisa A. LaFisca. Call 609-584-0472; website: www.mrsnewjerseyun.homestead.com.

Deadline for entries is April 15.

The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA)

offers an award package of $800,000, access to $3 million in scholarship

opportunities, and the chance to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar

in the Arts for young emerging artists through its ARTS (Arts Recognition

and Talent Search) program. Applications are in Dance, Music/Jazz,

Music/Instrumental, Music/Voice, Photography, Theater, Film and Video,

Visual Arts and Writing; eligible artists must be high school seniors,

or 17 or 18 years of age.

Call 1-800-970-ARTS, or apply on-line at: www.ARTSawards.org. The

first deadline is June 1; $25 processing fee.

Participate Please

The Coalition for Peace Action is taking reservations

for its chartered buses that will carry people to the Million Mom

March, on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May

14. The march is intended to carry the demand of mothers for laws

to protect children from gun violence. Cost is $30 per person, with

some scholarships available. Call the Coalition at 609-924-5022. The

website is at: www.millionmommarch.com or call 888-989-MOMS.

Community Options Inc. has announced its partnership with

iGive.com, an online shopping vehicle for charitable giving. In order

to contribute funds to the nonprofit agency, shoppers log on to www.iGive.com/comop.

Community Options provides employment services and housing for over

1,000 people with disabilities in 11 locations. Phone 973-644-4750;

website: www.comop.org.


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