WALDWICK, N.J. – At long last, Steve Rojas will open the doors of Cherry Reds at the corner of East Prospect Street and Franklin Turnpike in Waldwick this week.
“I planned five months to get everything up and running. It took eight,” said Rojas of North Haledon, owner of the shop, formerly in Wyckoff.
The décor at Cherry Reds evokes the ’50s with its bright colors and black-and-white checkered floor.
But its menu is modern, featuring homemade sandwiches and soups, nourishing make-your-own salads, all-natural smoothies, milkshakes, Italian ices, frozen yogurts and ice creams, and healthy green and red drinks.
The mix of today and yesterday is deliberate.
“Everything here makes you feel good,” said Rojas, as his three daughters, Stephanie, 13, Amanda, 6, and Shannon, 1, enjoyed homemade pulled pork sandwiches with a pickle, homemade chicken noodle soup, pineapple-mango smoothies, and pomegranate yogurt.
The menu features all the foods and drinks Rojas and his wife, Jessica, love.
Each dish has an inspiration, too. Rojas, for instance, loves the soups because they remind him of those his mother, Hilda Rojas of Prospect Park, made when he was growing up. Both she and his father, Luis Rojas, a Prospect Park accountant, hail from Peru.
“She is the best cook,” said Rojas, hugging his mother. His parents and his sister, Connie Franzen, came to offer support Saturday as Rojas, his wife, and Melissa Miller, shop manager, put the finishing touches on the place.
When Rojas talks about feeling good, he means body and soul. In choosing the name “Cherry Reds” and with his décor, he hopes to evoke the ’50s.
“Love the ’50s,” he said. “Love the muscle cars. Love the classics. My father and I have a classic car that we’re restoring together.”
But there’s more to the decade than that. It was a pre-tech time when people sat down and conversed.
“Talking to each other has become a dead art,” he said.
He hopes his place will revive it.
To promote community, Rojas is planning on hosting open mic nights. He’s also been known to host teen nights and poetry readings, he said.
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