Edible Jersey Spring 2014 : Page 32

edible J ERSEY ’ S 2014 LOCAL HEROES FOOD SHOP Lucy’s Kitchen & Market Princeton C aron Wendell and Joe McLaughlin first made ravioli together in 1990 while sharing a beach house on Long Beach Island with friends and family. A year later they partnered to begin making hand-crafted, all-natural ravioli under the name Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen. Fast-forward to 1996, when their wildly successful wholesale business, which had been operating out of a borrowed space in Trenton, relocated and morphed into a retail food shop in a strip mall on Route 206 in Princeton. In no time flat, it became a local favorite, not only for the many varieties of ravioli and fresh pastas—which are still made behind an open wall of glass in the rear of the shop—but also for pasta sauces, prepared foods to go, excellent baked goods and shelves stocked with premium groceries that round out customers’ meals. Through it all Wendell and McLaughlin have maintained their commitment to using all-natural, premium ingredients from local sources. “I learned early on to use fresh produce from South Jersey farms,” Wendell says. “It was more expensive, yes, but it made a difference.” Among the many Jersey products used and stocked at Lucy’s: Small World coffees, First Field ketchup, Terhune Orchards apples and cider, Muirhead fruit butters, and Gilda’s Biscotti. Greens and other produce come from Blue Moon Acres. In 2006, after Lucy regulars begged them to open a restaurant, Wendell and McLaughlin debuted ONE 53 in nearby Rocky Hill. Under executive chef Juan Mercado, it’s been a critical and popular success ever since. If you ask Wendell and McLaughlin what accounts for their continued success they will tell you that one key is the people who work for them. “Caron and I work well together, yes,” says McLaughlin, to which Wendell adds, “And I’ve been in the food business forever.” (She was a caterer before Lucy’s.) “But,” McLaughlin says, “we also surround ourselves with good and talented people who stick around.” 32 spring 2014 Caron Wendell & Joe McLaughlin Adds Wendell, “We also try to make it a fun experience. The people here are excited about food and have good palates.” Part of the reason they “stick around” is that the duo continually looks for ways to grow. (Stay tuned in 2014 for a possible second restaurant.) In 2013, the pair renovated the store, keeping the same footprint and the glass-walled pasta-making operation but adding more dine-in space and new offerings. They’ve kept their signature prepared foods—lasagna, cedar-plank salmon, soups, gourmet sandwiches— but added three kinds of fresh vegetable juices and new sandwiches, such as McLaughlin’s mini ham panini on pretzel bread. They also changed the store’s name to Lucy’s Kitchen and Market. There’s even a new logo—which still includes a raviolo in the center. —Pat Tanner L UCY ’ S K ITCHEN AND M ARKET 830 State Rd. (Rte. 206), Princeton 609.924.6881 lucystogo.com Pat Tanner is a food writer, restaurant reviewer and blogger (dinewithpat.com) based in Princeton. edible JERSEY Photographs: Joanna Tully

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