Starting October 10, local shoppers have been enjoying some tasty Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian and Mediterranean dishes at affordable prices in a charming setting on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood.
Husband and wife Aziz Ismailov and Nargiz Kazimova opened the Nargiz Deli & Cafe earlier this month, and hungry residents are already finding their way to the new mainstay located across the way from the Hilton Branch of the Maplewood Library and down the street from Walgreens.
On Monday afternoon, locals lined the counter and a few teachers from nearby Seth Boyden School wandered in — saying that this was not their first visit.
What’s bringing them back?
The delicious food and the chance to sit at a quiet table in attractive surroundings.
The food ranges from satisfying and filling dishes like creamy Mushrooms Julienne, to lighter fair like a chicken and herb dish that was as tasty as it was healthy. Ismailov says the menu can change daily as Nargiz — the chef — tries out different dishes.
“She’s a very good chef,” said Ismailov with pride. “She picked up everything from her grandmother and mother.”
Visitors can also rely on a steady core of standard menu items:
For breakfast, Nargiz Deli & Cafe serves up sandwiches (including egg & cheese and salmon, cream cheese, tomato & onion), omelettes, wraps and paninis. The lunch/day menu runs from pitas to salads & soups, kebabs, hot appetizers (fried potato with shiitake mushrooms, Georgian brick oven chicken, dolma-grape leaves stuffed with lamb meat and hoyagush — chicken meat, prepared with herbs and eggs), fish dishes and piroshkies. Prices range from $3.99 for an egg & cheese sandwich (choice of bread, bagels, sliced bread or rounded rolls) to $7.95 for the salads (Azeri kebab salad, vegan cabbage salad, Greek eggplant salad, etc.).
In addition, other packaged items are for sale, such as some delicious knockwurst that was purchased by this reporter and fried up for dinner.
While some food establishments have come and gone on Springfield Avenue, the Nargiz Deli & Cafe is in for the long haul. Ismailov and Kazimova have a healthy catering business serving day care centers and senior living homes. For years, the couple’s business was located on Morris Avenue in Union, but the two were looking for a retail space — and Springfield Avenue with its attractive sidewalks and easy access to many communities beckoned.
The deli itself is charmingly decorated and spotlessly clean with three small tables inside; Ismailov says that he and Nargiz plan to add outdoor dining in the future.
Nargiz, who has kept her maiden name to honor her family, will be trying out and updating more dishes from the couple’s native Azerbaijan as well as Mediterranean recipes, and cuisine from Russia, Ukraine and other European communities and former Soviet republics.
We can’t wait to taste them all!
Click on any photo below to see a slideshow of images from the Nargiz Deli & Cafe.
Nargiz Deli & Cafe Modern European & Mediterranean Cuisine, 1651 Springfield Avenue, Maplewood, NJ, 973-761-0123.
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.