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Staying Fresh and Local at Jack's Corner Market

Jack's Corner Market sets itself apart with a willingness to try new things.

Since it opened in 2007, has been more than just a place to get a quick sandwich and a gallon of milk.

“I try to keep a lot of unusual items,” said owner Eric Manuelli. “I can’t keep up with Shop Rite and the other grocery stores so I get a lot of unusual things.”

At Jack’s Corner Market, you are just as likely to find a jar of PB2 (dehydrated peanut butter) as you are a bottle of cola, making the market not only a place for the unusual, but the usual. Specialty mustards and spreads, and specially ordered eats, and local products are among the things that set the upscale deli apart from others.

“If I can do local, I do,” said Manuelli. “I also showcase that when I find stuff.”

But sometimes it is the “unusual” that escapes people, which is why it’s important to have a steady, experienced hand in charge. Fortunately, Manuelli is just that person. Manuelli is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has worked at some of New York City’s finest restaurants, including Alfred Portale’s Gotham Bar & Grill, Arizona 206 (where he worked with David Walzog on menu creation), and Michael Jordan’s: The Steakhouse, which received 2 stars from Zagat. In 2002, Manuelli decided to work closer to home, in Central Jersey, where he lives with his wife and two children, so he opened Red Restaurant in downtown Red Bank.

But locally, it’s a slightly different kind of fare—a thriving catering business that does Thanksgiving meals and meals for Jewish holidays, as well as chicken burgers, sandwiches, salads, a popular roasted red pepper and spinach salad, and of course, the famous vegetable lasagna, which substitutes eggplant for pasta, and all of it made right at Jack’s.

In addition, much of the business at Jack’s comes from the nearby neighborhood, or workers in nearby office buildings coming in for lunch, giving the deli a steady stream of regulars who are just as likely to grab a newspaper and sit to enjoy their lunch as they are to run in and out with little time to spare.

“East Brunswick is a nice town, we’re not right on Route 18, and we’re more of a lunch crowd. What’s nice is that we’re surrounded by residential, so I get very good customers coming in from work and from residents.”

Working with those regulars, and with any customer who comes through the doors, is another aspect of Jack’s. The restaurant is constantly changing, evolving, to meet the needs of shoppers. From the popular PB2 (which was originally a customer request and is now one of it’s best sellers) to the selection of spreads and mustards and pickles, Manuelli is not afraid to try new things. But that doesn’t mean his customers always like the changes.

“I like to change it up, I have such a repeat business though, as much as they want things to stay them say, I know those people also want different stuff,” sand Manuelli.

Jack’s Corner Market is located in the Lexington Down shopping center, 3 Lexington Ave. (off Cranbury Road). They can be reached at 732-651-5900 or by email at jack@jackscornermarket.com. Visit them on the web at www.jackscornermarket.com.

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Madzi July 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Thanks for this article; I try to support local businesses and I'll be stopping in soon. I think readers appreciate learning about our local small business owners and articles like this alert us to their presence in the community. More!
John Romano July 30, 2012 at 01:54 PM
....dehydrated peanut butter sounds intriguing...I'll have to check it out.
Ruth Cohan July 30, 2012 at 03:29 PM
PB2 is fantastic stuff! I've sent so many of my friends to Jack's to buy this stuff that sometimes when I go get MY supply, he's out of stock! But he always gets more really quickly. Jack's has consistently delicious food. Their artisan breads are delicious and the catering can't be beat! Give them a try, you won't be disappointed.

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