Corrections or additions?

These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the October 18,

2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Restaurant News

Ray and Elsie Pang are opening two new restaurants

in their new building at 235 Nassau Street in the spaces formerly

occupied by Zanzibar and Fork by the Side of the Road. Meanwhile,

the liquor license that Steve Willis had used for Zanzibar is being

sold to the owners of Les Copains of 18 Witherspoon Street for a



In the big Zanzibar space the Pangs will have an eatery called Alma

Mater, decorated with plenty of orange and black and with the


of a less-than-usually-boisterous sports bar — though the place

is replete with television sets tuned to sports venues and business

news, it has no liquor license. The Pangs hope this will be a BYOB

establishment for both families and the college crowd.

The Pangs have enlarged the kitchen for the Alma Mater space (which

was first occupied by the Emerald Coffee House) and will have seating

for 72, with outdoor tables available on the balcony in good weather.

The menu will be Continental, with dinner entrees from $8 to $13.

In the smallest space at 235 Nassau, what was formerly just a takeout

spot, the Pangs will have a 10-seat eatery called Waikiki, focusing

on fish dishes. The Pangs also own and run the Thai Village restaurant

at 235 Nassau plus the Orchid Pavilion across the street.

Zanzibar was upscale, expensive, struggling, and lasted less than

two years. At the opening, Zanzibar’s chef had warned that investing

in a restaurant is "the perfect way to turn four million dollars

into one," but owner Steve Willis had been ultra optimistic about

his potential for success (U.S. 1, October 21, 1998). Willis


the perception that restaurants are risky to the fact that "the

people who ran them didn’t have a financial background, but had a

food background." Both Zanzibar’s and Willis’ other restaurant,

Harriet’s, closed earlier this year. Harriet’s is now called Les


and one of its owners, Michael Lauren, is the authorized agent on

the transfer application for the liquor license.

The grand opening of both Waikiki and Alma Mater will be Friday,



Also see these stories

The Momo brothers, Carlos and Raoul, open yet another



Terra, a Latin-tinged Mediterranean restaurant at 78 Albany Street in

New Brunswick on Saturday, October 21. By tethering good business

judgment to their love of good food the brothers now command 16 eating

places (732-296-1600).

John Procaccini — the 25-year-old manager of


business at the Sarnoff Corporation — will expand the successful

restaurant that he owns with his 22-year-old brother Tino. La Borgata

( opened at a strip mall in Kingston and


acquired the liquor license and the property of Studio 27


Craig Shelton, New Jersey’s most acclaimed chef, of the


Inn in

Whitehouse, says he was "never looking to open a stand-alone

restaurant outside of New York City. It makes no sense; it is failure

by design." But he stationed himself at the epicenter of three

industries — financial services, telecommunications, and

pharmaceuticals — and he is succeeding.

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