A dish known as “Carl’s Hankerin’ Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Peas and Carrots” from My Sister’s Kitchen, where Michelle Paone, below, is co-owner and baker. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
When Michelle Paone rented the space next door to her New Outlook Salon in Shrewsbury some months back, the idea was that it would house a catering business, with her sister working as the chef.
Family obligations on her sister’s side led to the deal falling through at the last minute, however, leaving Paone partner-less. But then Rich Lopazanski, a “fabulous cook” and Paone’s husband’s best friend since elementary school, stepped into the role of chef, clearing the way for the opening of My Sister’s Kitchen about two months ago.
The sister may not have stuck, but the name did – just like the old-school, stick-to-your-ribs meals the kitchen now produces six days a week.
The idea for the business came about, Paone said, when she had “a dear friend who couldn’t cook for herself. I would bring meals to her.”
The fare from the kitchen is what you would have in your own kitchen if you wanted to go through the trouble of making a meal, with dishes named for their sources.
There’s “Grandma Rose’s Stuffed Chicken with Spinach and Sausage,” and “Annie’s Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes.” The daily special includes a baked-in-house piece of “Missy’s Irish Soda Bread.”
The recipe for the chicken cutlets comes from Paone’s friend Marion. A typical take-home meal to zap in the microwave is “Carl’s Hankerin’ Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Peas and Carrots.” Just like Mom, or Grandma, or maybe Uncle Carl used to make.
All meals are $8, with a choice of the day’s soup for $4 and desserts for $3
“You can substitute any dessert for Aunt Joan’s Rice Pudding or Grandma’s Tapioca,” Paone says.
Paone, of Long Branch is in charge of the baking and the desserts, which like everything else that goes out the door, are made in-house. Meantime, she’s handing off salon work to her daughter so she can spend more time in the kitchen, she says.
There’s no dining on premises, but Lopazanski, of Woodbridge, tells PieHole that he and Paone have been talking about putting tables and chairs outside on the grassy area near the North Jersey Coast Line tracks so customers can eat onsite in good weather.
My Sister’s Kitchen is open Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday from 11 to 7; and Saturday from 11 to 4. Local delivery is available.