Tag Archives: westfield

What Are “Ono Bowls”? They Are DELICIOUS!! And They Are In Westfield!

I don’t know about you, but I’m LOVING all the healthy choices you can find in Cranford and Westfield eateries nowadays. With my busy work schedule, I often grab meals on the run, and it’s a bonus if I can eat healthfully while still enjoying the convenience of quick meals. Ono Bowls recently opened in Downtown Westfield, and it has become a favorite spot for a fast but healthy and yummy meal! 

Tricia Caminos launched Ono Bowls this past November, but she’d been enjoying smoothie bowls for many years beforehand! A Cranford resident who’s been juicing since she was 19, Tricia is married to a native Hawaiian, who introduced her to the juicing trends of Hawaii. Tricia said, “I was eating smoothie bowls for 10 years. They became popular in Hawaii and California, and are only just becoming a thing on the East Coast. ‘Ono’ means ‘delicious’ in Hawaiian!” 

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Ono Bowls is located at 107 Quimby Street, next to the forthcoming Salad House. The menu has raw juices and smoothies typical of a juice bar, but the ono bowls are truly what set it apart. Each ono bowl consists of a thick smoothie base (often made with acai or pitaya for added heath benefits), topped with granola, fresh fruit, honey, and other delightful toppings. I sampled the PB&J ono bowl while I was there, and it was super tasty and filling. Tricia uses organic and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.

Something I loved about Ono Bowls besides the great menu is the atmosphere! There’s a large room in the back with plenty of comfy seats for lounging, a table where you can enjoy your ono bowl while getting some work done, and even cute coloring books and such strewn about for kids (and kids-at-heart)! It has a definite “chill” California vibe that is such a welcome addition to Westfield. 

I was thrilled to hear that Ono Bowls has been super busy since day one of opening! Tricia said, “All the kids come in after school throughout the week. We’ve even hosted parties here for Girl Scouts and other groups. We’re looking into offering catering services in the future.” 

You might spot some of Tricia’s family members working in Ono Bowls–two of her three kids work there part time! I love supporting local businesses that are a family affair. 

Ono Bowls is open Monday through Saturday from 9-6, Sunday from 10-5. Look for expanded hours in the spring. You can follow Ono Bowls on Instagram @ono_bowls and visit their website http://www.onobowls.net/index.html to view their full menu.  

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“Wood”n’t You Love A Handcrafted Gift?

One of my favorite words is HANDMADE. I admit I’m quick to fall in love with pretty much anything that’s been made by hand with tender loving care. I’m not crafty in the slightest, and maybe that’s why I’m all the more impressed by the talented local artisans we have in our midst, like Stephanie Mattielli of Westfield, whose woodworking business is taking off. 

westfield woodworkingStephanie’s business–eponymously named Stephanie Mattielli Woodworking–officially launched this past October, but her experience with woodworking goes way back. Stephanie said, “My dad taught me how to use tools at a young age, so I’ve always had an appreciation for building and tinkering in the workshop. My family actually built my parents’ house, and it took us five years. We worked on the weekends and after school. It took us six months alone to clear the land of the trees. My dad would cut the trees down, then into fifteen-inch sections, which would then be split into firewood. So part of my chores growing up would be to split and stack wood. I also worked with my dad in the summers in his business as his ‘apprentice’ working on everything from decks to roofing. I think because of this I’ve always enjoyed just putting on a tool belt and going to work.”

I have so much respect for anyone who works with their hands. And to be a woman excelling in a formerly male-dominated field like this . . . well, that just knocks my socks off! 

Using her woodworking expertise, Stephanie creates a variety of rustic-chic pieces that compliment any decor, including wooden slab trays, hostess trays, platforms, chargers, coasters, and stump tables. “My hairpin tables seem to be a fan favorite,” she said. 

All of the wood used in Stephanie’s pieces comes from her parents’ land in South Jersey; most of the wood is oak, but some pieces are made with cedar or birch. Stephanie cuts all the wood in her father’s workshop, but then she adds the finishing touches in her Westfield home. I was curious to know what tools she uses to create these beautiful works of art. “We use just about everything depending on the piece; chainsaw, planer, table saw, band saw, router, drill press, different sanders, etc. I probably spend the most time sanding as it feels like it’s a job never quite done.”

Wood is a material that will never go out of style, and if you browse Pinterest, Houzz, or design magazines, you’ll see just how popular natural wood furniture and accents are right now in the world of interior design. Stephanie said, “I love the joy in natural wood, which is everything from the grain to knots to organic cracks, and my work shows that. With my stump and hairpin tables, no two pieces are alike as they come from different parts of the tree so they can’t be recreated.” Stephanie’s pieces are unique conversation-starters, but they are also practical, and that combination makes them such wonderful additions to any home. 

You can shop the Stephanie Mattielli Woodworking collection on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StephanieMattielli. Follow her on Facebook @stephaniemattielliwoodworking for updates on new products that might be coming down the pike, such as cutting boards and coffee tables. If you have something in mind that you don’t see on her Etsy site, contact Stephanie, because she gladly takes on custom orders! 

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INDIGO ART STUDIO IS ONE OF THE HOTTEST PARTY PLACES IN OUR AREA!

I’ve been asked this question by several friends and blog readers: Where are the BEST PLACES TO HOST A PARTY in the Cranford-Westfield Area? Well, there are quite a few, and I’m happy to report that there’s a beautiful new spot in Westfield where kids’ and adult events alike are becoming the talk of the town! It’s called Indigo Art Studio, and I know you will love it.

IndigoLocated on the second floor of the stunning Arcanum Hall building on the corner of East Broad and Elm Street, Indigo is family-owned and operated by siblings Sam Korkmaz and Bee McGee. According to Sam, “Our family has been living in Westfield for 18 years. We also own Roman Boutique and Roma Tailor in the same building. We love Westfield and it was the perfect location for us to open Indigo.”

Naturally I was curious about the name of the business–Indigo. Sam said, “The name Indigo was inspired from a restaurant and lounge in Hawaii. The place was whimsical, magical, and we felt the euphoria as soon as my sister and I walked in. Our studio space is so eclectic and beautiful that the name Indigo was the perfect choice.”

Sam went on to talk about the treasured past of Arcanum Hall. “Our building is a historical building. It was built in 1893 and has so much history. President Teddy Roosevelt gave his Whistle Stop speech on the third floor balcony in 1912. We had to share the history and this beauty with the community. And Indigo has the most enchanting view of downtown Westfield. Its whimsical and exquisite decor coupled with its history and the view make Indigo one of the most unique locations for special events.”

So what types of parties are being hosted at Indigo? Sam said, “We wanted to create a concept where EVERY age can enjoy. We decorated the place and made it very whimsical and different. We now host kids’ theme art birthday parties, sweet sixteens, bridal showers, corporate events, fundraisers, cocktail parties, and any special events. We’ve hosted pop-up art classes for kids and adults. We also rent out space to art vendors, cake decorators, and anyone who wants to showcase their talents and events. Our motto is, we don’t simply host events, we create amazing memories.”

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As you can see from the photos, Indigo has already hosted a bevy of beautiful parties and events. Sam told me that the most rewarding one so far was a fundraiser for the Lederman Strong foundation. “We helped a family in need and had a swabbing station for bone marrow donors. It was wonderful to see our community coming together for a great cause.”

Make sure you follow Indigo on Facebook (@indigoartstudiowestfield) and Instagram (@indigowestfield) to find out about upcoming events. To learn more about booking an event at Indigo, call (908) 917-9867. 

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Fine Dining at Westfield’s Acclaimed Chez Catherine

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I recently revisited one of the most highly regarded restaurants in New Jersey and enjoyed an absolutely incredible meal. Chez Catherine in Downtown Westfield is a classic in every sense of the word, and I’m already fantasizing about my next phenomenal meal there. 

For more than 30 years, owners Didier Jouvenet and his wife, Edith, have wowed every critic from the New York Times to the Star Ledger and everyone in between. Prior to opening Chez Catherine, Didier worked at the venerable La Grenouille and the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Edith is responsible for the timeless decor of Chez Catherine, right down to the stunning flower arrangements in the restaurant that were plucked from their very own garden. 

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When I dined at Chez Catherine for a recent lunch, I was delighted to discover that they offer a prix fixe lunch menu. Authentic, impeccably prepared French cuisine can make a considerable dent in one’s wallet, but Chez Catherine’s prix fixe lunch and dinner menus offer the same delicious food (and several courses of it!) for a very reasonable price. A two-course lunch is just $25, and three courses is $35. 

I was immediately charmed by Maitre d’ Stéphane Bocket, who has been with Chez Catherine for 11 years, and who will soon be taking over the helm as owner of the restaurant. Stéphane’s thick French accent did not prove hindersome, and he had both me and my lunch date cracking up with laughter at his wry sense of humor. 

I asked Stéphane why Chez Catherine continues to be one of the most lauded restaurants in New Jersey–or anywhere!–year after year. Stephane said, “We have always kept the same high standards here. We make sure the customer is happy, and there is a nice balance between delicious food and personalized service.” 

You can see from my photos that the food is plated as beautifully as it tastes. And the portions are anything but small, (some restaurants skimp on the portions of prix fixe menus–not Chez Catherine!). We enjoyed salad appetizers, crispy duck and perfectly cooked steak, fluffy profiteroles with warm chocolate sauce, and one of the most interesting desserts I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating: “Ile Flottante de ‘Catherine'” (a whisper-light, marshmallow-like meringue topped with vanilla sauce, caramel, toasted hazelnuts, and almonds … truly to-die-for. 

We gorged ourselves on the scrumptious food, and at the meal’s end, Stéphane jokingly warned us never to say “Je suis finis” at the end of a French meal. “It does not mean ‘I am finished,” he said. “It translates to ‘I am dead.'” Duly noted, Stéphane!

Chez Catherine is located at 431 North Avenue West, next to the Westfield Inn. FREE PARKING is located behind the Inn. Reservations are recommended: 908-654-4011.

LUNCH HOURS:

Tuesday – Friday

Noon to 2:30 PM .

DINNER HOURS:

Tuesday – Thursday

5 PM to 9 PM

Friday and Saturday

5 PM to 9:30 PM

Closed on Sunday and Monday (except major holidays)

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Grilled Cheese Shoppe Opening Celebration TODAY in Westfield NJ 5/3/16

IMG_5763People often use the phrase “It’s as American an apple pie.” But I think we should start saying “It’s as American as GRILLED CHEESE!” Because who the heck doesn’t love grilled cheese?! The folks at the soon-to-be-open Grilled Cheese Shoppe in Downtown Westfield know just how much we all looooove grilled cheese, and they have one for every taste under the sun!

Owner Nick Louros hails from North Jersey, where he grew up amid the restaurant business. “I was a typical Greek diner kid, spending countless hours in my uncles’ diners, and working at one through college.” Nick got his degree in accounting, and he worked in that field five years, but eventually he wanted a change.

Nick began scouting locations for a restaurant, and had considered Ridgewood, but Westfield just “checked off everything on our list,” and with the closing of Robert Treat Restaurant, Nick found the perfect location.

When I asked Nick why he chose to start a business around grilled cheese, he said, “What I really wanted was to serve family comfort food, something that was a staple in most people’s childhoods. Something simple but still gourmet at the same time, with different flavor profiles. And something that would bring families together.”

Grilled cheese is the perfect meal to embrace what Nick was searching for–at its core it’s one of the most simple sandwiches, but it can also be embellished and changed into something extraordinary.

IMG_5762Nick himself created most of the recipes for the Grilled Cheese Shoppe. What’s on the menu, you ask? Well, you can always order a basic grilled cheese (aka the “Cheesy Kid”–good for those pick eaters out there), which is American cheese served on thick sourdough bread. But also on the menu are fried chicken and waffles, 6 different bread selections, several different varieties of cheese, and even grilled dessert waffles. Some of the sandwich names include “Buffalo Blue,” “Green Envy,” and “French Onion.” In addition to the savory and sweet grilled cheese sandwiches, there will be soups, salads, gourmet coffee drinks, and of course hand-spun MILK SHAKES, including one called the “Peanut Butter Dream.”

Are you salivating yet??

The interior of the Shoppe is sleek and fresh and totally hip. It was designed by well-known Vanessa De Leon Associates to appeal to the young and young-at-heart, and Nick hopes the place will quickly become “the town hangout.”

Here’s another great thing about the Shoppe–it will be open 7 days a week! There aren’t too many eateries you can say that about. I, for one, am looking forward to their “Cheesy Brunch” on Sundays.

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Follow the Grilled Cheese Shoppe on facebook for updates about their grand opening celebration happening TODAY! The Shoppe is located at 113 Quimby Street.

Hours:

Monday-Thursday 11-8

Friday 11-9

Saturday 9-9

Sunday 9-4:30

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Jay’s Cycle Center in Downtown Westfield, NJ

 Jay's Cycle Center

There’s one thing all businesses that have stood the test of time seem to have in common, and that’s INTEGRITY. Jay’s Cycle Center in Downtown Westfield is a shining example of a business that radiates integrity, which is one of the reasons it has been a thriving local business for more than 50 years!

Owner Jay Tintle is the second generation of Jay’s. Did you know that the business first started as a pet and hobby shop run by Jay’s mother in Scotch Plains? At the time Jay’s father “Big Jay” was driving a cab, but he was extremely mechanically inclined and noticed that a few bike accessories that they carried in the shop were selling quite well. Eventually Jay’s parents saved money and bought some bicycles, put a work bench in the shop, and according to Jay “slowly started pushing pets out and bringing bikes in.” The rest is history! At one point the Tintles had several bikes shops in the area, but by the 1960s they decided to focus on just one store in Westfield.

Jay’s moved to its current location in 1984, and last year they did some renovations to spruce up the place. Boy, does it look sharp inside and out! When you walk in you’ll see rows and rows of every type of bicycle, from children’s bikes to beach cruisers to mountain bikes and electric bikes. Jay said, “We have the largest inventory of bicycles in the area–besides what you see in the store, we have 300 built bikes off-site as well.” There is also a great selection of gear for bikers, from shoes to clothes to helmets . . . heck, even energy snacks!

Toward the back of the shop is Jay’s service center, where bikes that need it get TLC from the expert staff. Jay said, “We really pride ourselves on the team that we have here. I couldn’t even tally up the years of experience among our staff. Whether it’s working on an electronic-shifting bike, rebuilding shock for a mountain bike, or simply changing a flat tire, we can take care of anything. And we’re always happy to educate our consumers on how do to things like check air pressure, change their own tires, etc.”

Jay's Cycle Center

When I asked Jay what makes his business a standout in our community, he used that very word integrity. Jay said, “You can send your ten-year old son here alone and be confident that he won’t be taken advantage of, he’ll be treated with respect.” That is music to any parent’s ears, as I can attest!

Jay continued, “We try to cater to anyone who walks through our door and give them a positive, fun experience. You’ll always be greeted with a hello, maybe with some friendly sarcasm, and then we’ll get down to business without being intimidating. Whether you’re a seasoned racer or a family looking for a baby bike seat, we treat every customer with a great deal of respect.”

With the weather having turned beautiful, it’s the perfect time to get a tune-up for your bike, or maybe even treat yourself to a new one (I noticed some great sale prices on beautiful bikes while I was in there!). Whatever your reason for going to into Jay’s, you won’t be disappointed by the selection, the service, and that ever-present integrity.

Jay’s is located at 227 North Ave East in Westfield with FREE PARKING and is conveniently open seven days a week. Visit their website at http://jayscyclecenter.com/ for hours and information, as well as online shopping!

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GHOS Training in Westfield NJ

If you resolved to get fit this year, but haven’t been quite lived up to that plan (or even started!), it’s not too late! According to Nasir Pharoah Guest–owner of the new GHOS Training Facility in Westfield–today is the perfect day to start working toward a healthier you.

GHOS

GHOS opened just this December, but the facility already has many members who swear they are now lifers! GHOS stands for Go Hard or Starve, which may sound a little too hardcore for some of us newbies, but there are many facets to the GHOS mission.

Nasir explained, “GHOS is an exclusive Life Balance and Weight Management program. We understand that in order for people to make weight management simple and lasting, a person must first find balance in their life.” GHOS is not simply a gym, and the extensive list of services at GHOS will clue you in to how well-rounded it is:

Nutrition Assessments

Nutrition Guidance Counseling

Meal plans

Meal Prep Service

Detox Cleansing

Fitness Assessment

Personal Training

Small Group Training (2-4 ppl)

Private Group Training

Indoor Cycling / Spinning

Functional Training

Boot Camps

Tactical Athletic Conditioning

And that list is just the beginning! Down the road, GHOS will offer TRX Suspension (Total Body Resistance Training), Monthly Nutrition Work Shops, Quarterly Open Houses, Food Shopping 101 (learning how to grocery shop) and GHOS KIDS ACADEMY. Also in the works is a TCY (Take Care of You) program for stay-at-home moms. Nasir said, “Mothers are so very important to their families, but it’s important that they take time for themselves to nurture their mind, body, and soul. Getting out and being physical is crucial.”

Nasir has an extensive background as a multi-certified fitness trainer and nutrition expert, and he employs four other instructors at the GHOS facility. Of his trainers, Nasir commented: “All our staff members were once GHOS members. They know exactly what it’s like to be a member or client starting from the very beginning working their way through the ranks to become elite. Who better to guide you other then a person who was once in that same spot/position?”

If you’re a novice when it comes to fitness training, or simply haven’t worked out in a very long time, Nasir says not to fret. “GHOS is designed for all fitness levels and body types. We specializes in building up the beginner, a person with no fitness experience or physically challenged.” The community feeling at GHOS helps to bolster everyone, as every class is filled with high-fives and endless encouragement from your classmates and instructors.

GHOS Training Facility is located at 361 South Ave E. in Westfield and can be reached at (732) 762-1954. Follow GHOS on Facebook and Instagram, and visit the website at http://www.nasirguest.com/ to view class schedules and learn how to obtain a free guest pass. 

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Utopia Salon and Day Spa in Westfield Exceeds Expectations!

Utopia Salon and Spa

I can hardly type this blog right now. Why? Because my limbs are like Jell-O, thanks to the blissfully relaxing MASSAGE I just got at Utopia Salon and Day Spa in Westfield! My Executive Assistant, Marketing Director, and I had decided upon a girls’ spa day to get rejuvenated before the end of the busy year, and it turned out to be the best … idea … ever!

Located at 349 South Ave, Utopia wears two hats: upscale salon on one side, and full-service spa on the other. I’d known about the hair services in the bustling salon, but I had no idea that the spa area of Utopia is truly a retreat all its own. Nubia Suarez has owned the salon and spa for 10 years now, and she says: “The name ‘Utopia’ means the ‘most perfect place on Earth,’ and that’s exactly what we strive for here at our own Utopia.”

When you enter the spa, you forget all about being in a hair salon in Westfield! You’re greeted by soft music, calm lighting, and offered ice water or a mimosa. The pedicure area is luxurious, with silk pillows at your back and tropical-esque baths at your feet. I was delighted to see fresh rose petals sprinkled on the beds in the massage rooms–not something you see at every massage!

We all got massages from Tina Silva, whose deft hands worked out all the knots–heck, I almost fell asleep! Tina utilized hot stones as well, something new to me, and it was incredibly relaxing. I also had a facial with Sueli Cifarelli (a licensed skin-care specialist who knows her stuff!), and my skin was positively glowing afterward! My assistant Angela had a soothing spa pedicure, followed by a beautiful yet subtle makeup application in the salon area. I have to confess that once I took a look at Angela’s gorgeous makeup, I immediately scheduled an appointment to have my own makeup done for a holiday party! That Olivia is an absolute GENIUS!!!

After our treatments we all wondered: 1) Why hadn’t we tried this place before, and 2) When could we come back?!! 

Utopia is currently offering some fabulous spa packages as winter specials–check them out on facebook or visit http://www.utopiasalonnj.com/. You can reach the salon and spa at: 908-928-0008. Tell them we sent ya!

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“The Gardens” is One of Westfield’s Most Picturesque Neighborhoods

Every once in a while I like to highlight one of the charming neighborhoods in our area. This week’s spotlight is on The Gardens section of Westfield, a truly picturesque neighborhood that is one of the most sought after places to live in town.

The Gardens comprise a little less than a quarter mile of the streets on the North side of town between Lawrence Ave. to the West and Mountain Ave. to the East. I love driving through the wide, winding streets of The Gardens, flanked on either side by sidewalks and towering birch trees.

The houses are something to behold in this neighborhood–classic colonials and elegant tudors all look as if they were plucked from the pages of a picture book. The lots are wider here than in many other areas of Westfield, and homeowners take great care to manicure their landscapes meticulously. The proximity of The Gardens to downtown Westfield, to the shops of Mountainside, and to Route 22 make it a convenient place to live.

Kristen Pfister had been resident of The Gardens for seven years, and she has summed up its appeal so eloquently. She says: “My husband grew up in Westfield, and when we decided to start a family, we wanted to raise our children here. We looked at homes all over town. The first thing that attracted us to The Gardens were the tree-lined streets and beautiful colonial homes–it reminded us of the movie ‘Father of the Bride.'”

She continues: “In the time we have lived here, many young families have chosen to make The Gardens their home. The sound of children’s laughter now greets you when you step out your front door. Families take turns walking the kids to school. There is always a friend at the ready to lend you a cup of sugar or to share a glass of wine. In summer, it is the block party, and on Christmas Eve the luminaries that line the streets. It is all of these things and the feeling of being a part of something that makes The Gardens the perfect place for us to call home.”

Talk about a ringing endorsement for a neighborhood! Take a stroll through The Gardens and you’ll see why residents such as the Pfister family have fallen in love with where they live. And you all know you can call me anytime to view houses for sale on the beautiful streets of The Gardens, and elsewhere in the Cranford/Westfield area: 908-447-3579.

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Westfield’s New Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming’s Grand Opening!

It’s a good time to be a dog. And nowhere is that more obvious than at WOOF GANG BAKERY & GROOMING, a new business in downtown Westfield that’s all about pampering your four-legged friend!

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming

Located at 218 East Broad Street, Woof Gang’s grand opening celebration is slated for November 21st at 9 am. And get this: The first 20 dogs at the grand opening will receive a free bag of treats every month for a year! (Dog must be present to win, hehehe.)

Owners Michelle and Sherry Butrico are mother and daughter, and they have put a ton of TLC into the shop. It’s quite possibly the most cheerful boutique I’ve ever entered. From the bright paint scheme to the colorful array of toys to the selection of high-end leashes to the vast array of adorable baked doggy treats, this place is a feast for the eyes–and nose! No exaggeration, I overheard a child in the shop say, “It smells SO good in here!”

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming

So why did they choose Westfield as the outpost for their Woof Gang franchise? Michelle said, “I grew up in South Plainfield, and my mom and I used to come to downtown Westfield for coffee and shopping all the time. I always loved this town, so I moved here two years ago. I knew this would be the perfect place for Woof Gang.”

Lead Groomer Crystal Borsellino is also local–she comes from In ‘N Out dog grooming in Garwood, where she expertly groomed my very own dog! Of joining Woof Gang, Crystal said, “These owners are truly passionate about dogs, which is my passion as well, so we just clicked. It’s such a positive vibe here.” Even their dogs get along–on most days in the store you’ll find Crystal’s dog Zeke and Michelle’s dog Sadie greeting customers with some good ol’ fashioned tail-wagging.

Woof Gang will provide top-of-the-line, cage-free pet grooming in addition to the extensive variety of goods in the shop. Most of the food sold at Woof Gang is grain-free, and the Butricos take pride in offering only healthy, all-natural supplements, and will soon be baking their own pet treats from scratch.

I know what you’re thinking: Where do I park?? Remember that Westfield offers 15 minutes of FREE PARKING at every metered space (a fact that was lost on me for many of the years I worked in town!), so take advantage of that. If you can’t score a space right on East Broad, try the parking lot behind the Farmhouse Store, which seems to be one of the least crowded lots in town and is only a block away.

You can reach Woof Gang at 908-264-7452 or follow them on Facebook:

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Westfield  

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