jlink
Friday, May 24, 2019

Lawrence Margolin (left) and Gideon Fentin, standing, with Shoshana and Jordan Kaplan and their three sons at Giddy’s Pizza. (Credit: Harry Glazer)

Lawrence Margolin (left) and Gideon Fentin stand together in Giddy’s Pizza. (Credit: Harry Glazer)

Gideon Fentin prepares a pizza at Giddy’s. (Credit: Harry Glazer)

Part of the family-friendly environment at Giddy’s are the crayons at every table, with white color-on placemats available on request. (Credit: Harry Glazer)

A lot can happen on opening night of a new restaurant.

Gideon Fentin had worked in the JCC of Staten Island’s kosher café and decided to create his own place. Family friends encouraged him to locate it in East Brunswick. He found a business partner and set up a new kosher pizzeria in the “Amazing Savings” strip mall on Route 18.

Opening night of Giddy’s Pizza attracted a great deal of interest, but the operations behind the counter did not run as smoothly as Fentin knew they needed to. Fentin and his first business partner subsequently parted company.

As it happened, one customer that opening night was Lawrence Margolin, a local community member from Edison with 36 years of food-industry experience. He has previously served as the director of operations for food service at Stern College and Cardozo Law School. He noticed some of the rough edges of opening day, introduced himself to Gideon, and they started talking.

Their conversation led first to Margolin taking the role of mashgiach/manager one day a week, while he also worked as a chef for Greenwald Caterers in Lakewood. He drew on his skills and contributed new recipes, staff-training protocols, and a firm customer service approach to Giddy’s. He and Fentin continued talking, developed a strong game plan for the restaurant, and cemented a partnership in December 2014. Over the years that followed, the restaurant has grown to become a favored dining spot for many and a well-regarded fixture in the community.

Giddy’s is now celebrating its fifth anniversary and enjoying a growing client base in the Jewish and general communities.

Giddy’s started building its reputation by expanding its menu beyond regular pizza, adding almost-tastes-like-the-real-thing fake meats to pizza (like barbecue “chicken” and “pepperoni”), fish dishes, pasta options and fat sandwiches. They make their own mozzarella sticks and dressings in-house and cut their own french fries. There is no microwave in the premises and there is a mantra to “make it fresh” that pervades all their offerings.

They have also included additional creative options on the menu such as fake shrimp scampi, Philly cheesesteak pizza, “chicken” parmesan stromboli, cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, zeppoles, and their own Giddy-Os, fried Oreo cookies.

Margolin noted that pizza remains their most popular line of food, and Fentin added that “our pizza is just darn good pizza. It’s on par with any other pizza restaurant’s pizza, kosher or not.” As proof, he notes that Giddy’s participated in April in a blind taste test competition against three non-kosher restaurants held by the Kiwanis Club of Highland Park; they lost the #1 slot by one vote.

Giddy’s has grown to become a favored caterer for simchas in the central New Jersey area. One happy repeat customer, Michele Meiner of Highland Park, stated: “We’ve used Giddy’s for two simchas and both times they did a magnificent job! The food was fresh and delicious and beautifully presented! Lawrence is amazing to work with and got our menus to exactly what we were looking for within our budget… We are using Giddy’s again for a third simcha this summer. Really looking forward!”

Giddy’s has also built up an impressive roster of corporate accounts, including Verizon, the Hilton, Top Golf, Urban Air, Care One of East Brunswick, Jewish Family Services and others. Their newest corporate account is the East Brunswick public schools and they’ve provided pizzas and other dishes for homecoming, a teachers’ event, and a senior citizen prom.

Giddy’s has found many ways to serve customers’ different needs and interests. They offer delivery (with a minimum order) throughout the region and have served clients in Woodbridge, Teaneck, Brooklyn, Staten Island and other places. They offer gift cards so people can “treat” their friends and relatives to a meal there. And in honor of their fifth anniversary they are holding a raffle with prizes, including a $100 gift card, with the drawing on May 29.

The restaurant has also made a name for itself in community service. They give leftover slices of pizza to Tomchei Shabbos and will drop off food to the homes of those in need. During the recent government shutdown, Giddy’s delivered five pizzas to the TSA agents at the Philadelphia Airport. They also offered furloughed federal employees a free lunch during weekdays. And Giddy’s has given donations to Tomchei Shabbos, the Young Israel of East Brunswick, the Friends of IDF, Dine to Donate, Highland Park First Aid Squad, Hatzolah of Middlesex County and others.

Giddy’s has developed a large following of customers who are very passionate fans. “What I really like about Giddy’s is that the food is made fresh for me,” said Julie Kusnetz of Highland Park.

“They make the absolute best pizza, Italian food and other kosher dishes in the New York/New Jersey metro area,” said Chaim Allen of North Edison. “We drive a half hour to 45 minutes to get there and we go every week, without fail, because we love it so much.”

Rabbi Nathan Langer of East Brunswick, who is the director of pastoral care for the Jewish Home for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Freehold, commented: “I’ve been going to Giddy’s since it opened. I’m a regular customer and we sometimes go there two or three times a week. The food is outstanding, the staff is lovely, and the restaurant is a wonderful asset to the community.”

“Giddy’s offers a unique array of fresh specialty pizzas and dishes that can satisfy the craving of any customer,” said Jordan Kaplan of Edison. “Our family regularly enjoys their delicious pizza and the warm smiles from all the staff.”

“Giddy’s provides our neighborhood with assorted varieties of creative pizzas and other innovative delectable cheesy items, crunchy crispy fries, mouth-watering garlic rounds, delicious salads and dressings, hot healthy soups, and so much more,” said Rachel Kluger of Highland Park. “They listen to their customers and work tirelessly to serve us. We hope they continue to grow and serve us for many more years.”

Giddy’s is located at 233 Route 18 South in East Brunswick. To contact them, call 732/659-6898 or visit them online at
www.giddyspizzeria.com.

By Harry Glazer