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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

2 new Main Street restaurants set to open amid a lull in Hackensack construction

A new soul food cafe offering a nice selection of fish and shrimp is awaiting official approval to open at 331 Main St. in Hackensack, near Berry Street, replacing Lavash City, a fast-casual Armenian restaurant that was one of my favorites.
A sign on the window of a former coffee shop next to the Johnson Public Library on Main Street in Hackensack, near Camden Street, announces that El Tango Argentina Grill is "coming soon."



The promise of an ambitious downtown redevelopment plan is far from being realized, but there are signs of new commercial life on Main Street in Hackensack.

Even though most apartment projects still are only big holes in the ground, at least two new restaurants -- a soul food cafe and an Argentinean grill -- are poised to open amid the many vacant storefronts on Main Street.

And work on sidewalks, curbs, and street and traffic lights is underway to return Main and State streets to two-way traffic by 2018.

Drivers have been cursing the rough pavement, which has been torn up numerous times and likely won't be repaved until each street is finished.

Glimpse of future

Main Street has been going downhill for many years.

But it really took a big hit when the Borg family closed the 150 River St. headquarters of North Jersey Media Group and The Record in 2009, completing the move of more than 1,000 employees to Passaic and Morris counties.

On a Main Street stroll from Euclid Avenue to Atlantic Street on Tuesday, me and my wife saw the promise of redevelopment inside Noches de Colombia (382 Main St.), where dozens of people were enjoying lunch in the restaurant's large dining room.

Once a BYO, Casual Habana Cafe, the popular Cuban restaurant at 125 Main St. in Hackensack, near Atlantic Street, now has a liquor license, "because no great story started with someone eating a salad," according to a sign we saw on Tuesday.
If you're hooked on hookah and vaporizing, check out Pharao Vape Cafe at 260D Main St. in Hackensack, above and below.

There were no signs that Wondee's Fine Thai Food & Noodles at 296 Main St. in Hackensack, near Camden Street, is still open for business.
The Record's one and only review of the restaurant -- from 1998 -- was in the window.
So far, these apartments overlooking the Atlantic Street Park in Hackensack are the only ones that have been completed.
A gutted Main Street bank building, which is being turned into luxury apartments and penthouses, as seen from State Street, where work continues to return the street to two-way traffic.

Hackensack officials stopped construction of a 14-story apartment and retail building at Main and Mercer streets in July 2016 after a pile-driving rig damaged and forced the evacuation of the Rainbow Castle Preschool building next door. Demolition of that building is expected to start this month, according to a notice sent to an adjacent property owner.