ENGLEWOOD, N.J. -- It took Tomer Zilkha 22 months to find the right location but judging from the crowds on a busy weekday at his two restaurants, Patisserie Florentine and Poached in Englewood, as well as the celebration of the Patisserie's two year anniversary, the long wait was worth it.
The Israeli-born Chef/Proprietor admits he originally wanted to open in Manhattan but now that he's started a family, he figured being closer to home was best. Plus, he said, "There was just so much of a need around here."
With his eatery so busy with take-out, in fact, he took another leap of fate and opened gourmet sandwich shop, Poached, six months ago. Already, he said, that store, which offers an array of salads and breads, is practically outgrowing its space.
Both establishments were put together with a lot of love. Luckily his family, in-laws and extended family are handy. "We were there laying the floors, doing the carpentry and designing," he said.
Along with the cozy decor, he credits his success to hard work and passion along with affordable fresh food. And, to baking every couple of hours. "It makes a big difference," he said.
"It's not farm to table, but its close," he said, as he goes to the market every two days and picks his own produce. "We see and feel what we are buying and don't compromise."
The Patisserie's forte is brunch – almond croissants are among the most popular items as is the benedict a la Florentine (brioche, sautéed spinach, smoked salmon and poached eggs with Hollandaise) while at Poached, it's sandwiches, salads, and coffees.
Zilkha is also big on supporting the community. At the Patisserie's anniversary June 17, the restaurant donated a dollar for every item sold and raised more than $500 for
. "We always have something going on with community, schools and various non-profits,” he said. “It’s an important part of who we are.”
That means staying hyper local, meaning close to 100 percent of the restaurants’ charitable work is within Englewood.
That could change as Zilkha expands into another part of Bergen. There’s no news yet but stay tuned. The Englewood resident admits he’s in the midst of looking at other locations.