Park & Sixth Comfort Food – DONE
Park & Sixth closes Hoboken, NJ location
A beautiful chapter comes to an end in Hoboken – as Park & Sixth Comfort Food closed permanently yesterday.
Owner Brian Dowling did this with great sadness “I was working 100 hours a week and running two stores by myself. I decided to concentrate on the Jersey City store because it has seating and a back yard court yard. It was just too difficult to juggle both. It is sad to let it go as it was very popular, but it was just one of those tough business decisions one must make. Thanks for all of your support!”
Too bad – because “P6″ was a fun place to go, with a great staff and excellent sandwiches, salads and other dishes. Hopefully it wasn’t the woefully difficult city that led to the decision. Good luck with your Jersey City location, Brian! We’ll be sure to visit you in business-friendly J.C. whenever we can!
Park & Sixth Update October 2010
We’re back again with this month’s “what’s hot” at Park & Sixth update! The hot list, plus some “Brian Change” and how P6 is evolving!
See their menu here – or click the image below.
Whats Hot At Park & Sixth (October)
- The “Make Your Own” Sandwich
- Rigatoni Bolognese
- Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls (We can not roll them fast enough)
- Eggplant Burger (Gaining Steam)
- Fresh Mozzarella Twists
I Was Surprised to Learn…
“A month or two back we abandoned our “POS“ system for an old school register system. The whole “point” of a POS, among other things such as inventory and reporting, is to expedite the ordering process—to get customers in and out of the store as quickly as possible.
For example, I walk into McDonalds, order a Big Mac, large fries and a Coke. The cashier punches a few buttons, I pay, then step aside until my food arrives some 30 seconds later. Fast Food.
While I knew Park & Sixth could never be “fast food,’” I believed installing a POS system could speed up production and mitigate wait time—not to mention the complaints I’d heard over and over; “You’re food is great…it just takes too &%*ing long.” Weekends, sure, our customers had a bit more time. But, during the week, people work. They just didn’t have the time on their lunch break to wait for our food, which is understandable, as I don’t have time to wait for a red light. We continually experienced logjams at the POS day in and day out for months. As we got more popular, the longer our customers waited. The Reason? It wasn’t the point of sale system itself. The system just wasn’t designed for the make your own sandwich.”
“If our customers were ordering straight from our menu, (ie, a “Buffalo Soldier,” or a “2 Points to Genius,”) as is, I wouldn’t be writing this article. If they were following my menu and just ordering the sandwiches with no add-ons or substitutions, the POS system would have done what it was designed to do. However, and what I hadn’t foreseen, our customers were combining our sandwiches. “Let me get a 2 Points to Genius, minus the gorgonzola and roasted garlic mayo, but add roasted red peppers and basil mayo.” Those savvy buggers caught us off guard and developed custom sandwiches based on the cool ingredients and condiments we offered. The creative and sometimes bizarre requests flat out slowed production because it took too long to enter the orders into the system. It handcuffed my guys to the point that one of them had to stand manually typing special requests. So, $6k later we went old school and changed back to a three register system.
At first I was pissed. It’s why so many deli menus stress in bold print “Absolutely No Substitutions.” Substitutions on delicatessen menus as diverse as ours are nothing short of the food equivalent of a pretty boy in prison. Our slogan is “everything from scratch,” and aside from the bread and salad dressings, we honor that. But, the POS just couldn’t cut it.
Anyway, The day before the casket blanket lay on our POS I ran a report detailing our most popular sandwiches month-over-month from the previous few months. I was flabbergasted and surprised to learn the make your own sandwich was the second most popular sandwich, sandwiched between the Park & Sixth brisket and the Eli Manning. What? The make your own?
That report humbled and taught me two huge lessons. Never be afraid to change, or in my case adapt, because in an effort to speed up production, I learned the second and infinitely more valuable lesson. Park & Sixth is only as good my ability to supply our customers with what they want. My Dad always says, “The market speaks.” His advice is always right. I’ve spent too long clinging to “my this” and “my that.” I’ve refused to bend or compromise my food. I get it now. The market has spoken. I am now flattered when I take orders from our customers combining our flavors or changing our sandwiches to make it their own.”
Park & Sixth
See previous “What’s Hot at Park & Sixth” Archives below:
[slider Group=A title="September 2010 Update"]
What’s Hot At Park & Sixth (September)
- The summer
- The new dinner menu
- The responses from my last “What’s Hot”
Even My Father Said It Sounded Cocky
“Wow! The feedback I received from my last “What’s Hot” article ranged from the inaccurate to the extremely informative to the really funny. My two favorite comments were from commenter Yourbrainondrugs who said “I hope Brian doesn’t break his arm patting himself on the back,” and Clintondude who said something along the lines of comparing me to Moses parting the Red Sea. Now that’s funny stuff!
For those of you who haven’t read it, my intention was to bring the 411.com readers on a journey of sorts through how I conceptualize and execute a catering gig. Needless to say I was blasted for sounding arrogant, which was not my intention, but I’m glad the article evoked some feedback, good or bad aside, nonetheless. Now, with the benefit of hindsight and the earful of “advice” from my Dad who said it sounded cocky, I will tone down this month’s article.
So what’s hot at Park & Sixth? Well, the summer months are very slow in Hoboken. Many places including Park & Sixth close down for vacation—especially the stores “inland” from Washington Street. During our ten-day hiatus my staff and I worked night and day to prepare our sister store Park & Sixth Jersey City, which is geared to open within the next week or so, for final inspections. We also redesigned and developed a new express dinner menu for our Hoboken Store, which will be introduced on Tuesday, September 14th.
The new dinner selections are as follows:
- Farfalle Pesto Pasta: Bowtie Pasta with walnut ricotta pesto and lemon zest
- Whole Wheat Penne Primavera: Whole wheat pasta with grilled zucchini, asparagus, eggplant and broccoli rabe in a garlic chicken broth
- Rigatoni Bolognese: Rich, thick brisket Bolognese with shaved parmesan
- Spaghetti and Meatballs: House made meatballs with a basil and roasted garlic marinara sauce
- Marinated Skirt Steak with Dirty Smashed Potatoes and Grilled Veggies: Asian marinated skirt steak with chunky roasted garlic and scallion mashed potatoes with grilled veggie medley
- Grilled Chicken Breast with Veggies and Dirty Smashed Potatoes: House brined and herbed grilled chicken breast with chunky roasted garlic and scallion mashed potatoes and grilled veggie medley
- Meatloaf and Dirty Mashed Potatoes: house made meatloaf with chunky roasted garlic and scallion mashed potatoes
- Our new Eggplant Burger: Eggplant, breadcrumbs, egg whites, pecorino romano, basil, lemon zest, red wine, marinara, red pepper flakes served with lettuce and tomato on a whole wheat bun
So come on in to Park & Sixth next week and check out our new offerings and a free sample of our fresh mozzarella (please print out this article and bring it in for a free sample).
Oh! And to Yourbrainondrugs and Clintondude I will be parting the Hudson River early next month so give me buzz at the store maybe you guys can join me!
[slider Group=A title="August 2010 Update"]
What’s Hot at Park & Sixth – August 2010
- Hors D’Oeuvres Parties
- Buffalo Muzz Spring Rolls (NEW)
- Park & Sixth Salads
- Park & Sixth Brisket Sandwich (we made over 400 in June)
- The Havana (Our version of the Cuban sandwich has gained considerable momentum)
I Fly By The Seat of My Pants (Usually)
“Few people believed me when informed I wrote half the sandwiches down on our Blackboard Menu before I ever made them. That sounds pretty stupid or cocky or both, but it’s true. I’d made brisket before, but never the Park & Sixth brisket sandwich with fresh Muzz and Crazy Gravy (by far our #1 selling sandwich.) Hell, I hadn’t made fresh mozzarella before a few months prior to opening Park & Sixth. I hadn’t made the Havana, The All-Star or Eli Manning for that matter. I just knew the flavors would work. Like everything else I’ve done in my life from writing 10 page college papers the night before due date to prepping Hors D’oevres parties last minute…. I fly by the seat of my pants. My staff, my mom and just about anyone who has ever relied on me to produce something fabulous hate this about me. What I call “Impromptu Cooking,” or really impromptu living.
I catered a party on Garden Street a few months back and my customer Kelley said something along the lines of “Brian, I’m sick of the standard sandwich platters and chicken satay….I want something different for my party.” I love customers like Kelley. She had sampled my store food and was willing to give me a shot to cater her event. I told her, “allow me a few days,” to develop a different menu, one she hadn’t seen before. Kelley agreed but supplied some guidelines to follow. Among her guests were friends and family from Philly, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, and Maine. She was adamant that each hors d’oeuvres must be “one bite meals” encompassing the flavors from each respective region. Oh, and she requested one vegetarian dish of my choosing.
Philly was simple. I rolled our famous Philly Cheesesteak spring rolls–shaved rib eye meat, caramelized onions, and American cheese in spring roll wrappers. Everyone loves them and what better than a mini version of what Philadelphians take such pride.
Sweden was equally as simple–House cured citrus gravlax served on potato pancakes with scallion cream cheese. The Swedes invented gravalax, or at least some Scandinavian country did, so that hors d’oeuvres was easy. I salt and sugar cured a side of salmon with fresh dill, lemon and lime zest for a few days, blended cream cheese and scallions, not unlike the scallion creams cheese one orders on a bagel, and made some potato pancakes from shredded potato, flour, eggs, garlic powder and hot sauce. Awesome hors d’oeuvres–crispy potato pancake with fresh scallion cream cheese and gravlax “roses” placed atop with a garnish of wasabi shoots.
Ireland was a little tougher task. Irish cuisine, and for the Irish people reading this please forgive me, doesn’t exactly scream out fancy “one bite” hors d’oeuvres to me. All I could think was haggis, which is probably Scottish and I know it involves intestines or kidney or something really gross, and shepherds pie. So, I deconstructed shepherds pie, swapped lamb for braised brisket, added peas and carrots, some cool herbs and red wine, then served it in mini fried potato cups topped with garlic truffle whipped potato. I know, I know truffle is French but it just worked–”a culinary orgasm,” as Kelley said.
Italy was even tougher because Kelley requested “Something with pesto.” Silly Me, I suggested mini custard pesto quiches. Now, I have made custard quiches many times, and the dough crust, but never mini and never multiple mini quiches. Of course I waited til the day of the party to figure out how to make the shell (crust) in which the egg custard would sit. And, of course, I hadn’t the time to make the dough from scratch. I grappled with leaving the mini quiches off the menu altogether. However, last minute a light bulb flashed above my head….”Puff pastry!” If I could retard the “puff” in puff pastry, stop it from doing in the oven exactly what is was designed to do, it would make the perfect light flaky vessel to hold the mini quiche. I flew by the seat of my pants, it worked. Those quiche morsels were fabulous.
Maine seems easy–LOBSTER! But it really wasn’t. How does one serve an ingredient so indigenous to a region they scramble into omelets as if it were cheese or onions. I just had to do lobster, though, but spin it Uncle B style. I prepared olive oil poached mini lobster rolls. Poaching lobster in olive oil is an outrageous technique, which involves par-boiling whole lobsters for two minutes, harvesting the meat while it’s essentially still raw, and then poaching in 140 degree olive oil. Then I mixed the lobster meat with mayo, Dijon mustard, chives, chipotle Tabasco, lemon zest and celery and jammed it into mini potato buns. Kelley’s mother, from Maine, cornered me in the kitchen for the recipe. OUT OF THIS WORLD!
And Last the vegetarian dish–fresh shelled pea salad. I drove to the Farmers Market in Union Square the morning of the party and found beautiful fresh peas. I had no idea what I would do with them but they were gorgeous and an ingredient which needs little attention to be awesome. So, I shelled and tossed them into a soy ginger vinaigrette, added pickled red onions, scallion shoots and a drizzle of wasabi oil. They were served on wonton spoons. Simple, fresh and a perfect ending to a great party.
I flew by the seat of my pants, I just work better that way. Maybe because the pressure insures excellence, or maybe I procrastinate, or maybe I’m kinda lazy; kinda crazy. Call it what you will.
Chef and Owner
Park & Sixth Comfort Food
Other Park & Sixth Catering Creations
In the image gallery below – see some other catering choices you have at Park & Sixth!
[slider Group=A title="Happy First Anniversary Park & Sixth!"]
Happy Birthday, Park & Sixth!
Hoboken411 has been updating Mile Square residents about Park & Sixth Comfort Food since (before) the very beginning, and would like to wish them a Happy First Anniversary!
Yesterday, June 10th marked their official 1st birthday, and they’re celebrating by offering all customers a 20% discount on Sunday, June 13th!
Park & Sixth gets a mention in the NY Post
“Meeting Eli Manning was a pipe dream for Park and Sixth Comfort Food owner Brian Dowling, who coined the Eli Manning sandwich in honor of the quarterback, days after winning the Super Bowl in 2008. “I’ve been a Giants fan my whole life,” he says, “and I knew Eli Manning lived in Hoboken.”
The sandwich, which is now the most popular item on the menu, consists of roast beef, caramelized onions, roasted garlic mayo and horseradish ($7.99 for 7-inch; $14.99 for 14-inch). “It’s the only celebrity dish we have,” says Dowling. “I was hoping maybe he would stop by.”
[slider Group=A title="March 2010 Update"]
What’s Hot at Park & Sixth – March 2010
- The Meatloaf Fresh Muzz and Gravy
- Grilled Chicken Fresh Muzz and Roasted Red Peppers
- The Skirt Steak Salad
- Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls
- The Spicy Crab Cake Sandwich (Friday Special)
When in Doubt add fried shallots
“The NEW Meatloaf, Muzz and Gravy Sandwich has quickly risen to fame at Park & Sixth. What began as a special I developed when my manager bought too much ground beef one day has become one of our top five sellers. The recipe is as interesting as it is diverse. In fact, there are 19 ingredients, which are as follows: Ground Beef, Bacon, red onion, celery, carrot, garlic, fresh thyme, dried oregano, bread crumbs, the innards of Dom’s bread, Parmigiana Reggiano, eggs, half and half, lemon zest, salt and pepper, chipotle Tabasco and fried shallots.
The fried shallots were an afterthought. I had mixed the ingredients together and made a meatball to test the flavor profile and it was missing something. So, I employed my golden rule When in Doubt add fried shallots. Something magical happens to a shallot when it caramelizes. It becomes sweet and nutty and adds a complexity to an otherwise ordinary dish—not to say the meatloaf wasn’t good before, but the shallot sent it over the top.
So come on in to Park & Sixth and try the new addition to our menu—The Meatloaf, Muzz and Gravy Sandwich
- Brian Dowling
[slider Group=A title="February 2010 Update"]
What’s Hot at Park & Sixth – February 2010
- The Fresh mozzarella
- The Havana
- The Roasted Tomato Chipotle Soup
- The Park & Sixth Brisket Sandwich
- The NEW Meatloaf Muzz and Gravy Sandwich (Special)
A Fresh Mutz newbie? No way!
“I had never made fresh Mozzarella before I opened Park & Sixth Comfort Food. Yes, its true. I didn’t know a curd from a cotton ball but I knew If I were to open a store in Hoboken I’d better learn, learn quickly and rightly. Because Hoboken is the land of Fresh Muzz. So, my brother and I spent three months working out the details—how finely the curds should be broken down, water temperature, salt content and so on. And aside from burning our hands and laughing a lot we developed, what we consider, great fresh mozzarella.
Here’s how we do it:
First a block of Mozzarella curd is broken down into fine pieces about the size of raisins. We fluff the little pieces of curd up with our hands something akin to fluffing cooked rice with a fork to allow for open pockets of air. This step is crucial when the hot salty water is poured over the curd. It allows the salty water to penetrate the curds and makes for a perfect marriage of cheese to salt.
Once the hot water melts the curds into an amorphous congealed mass sitting in salty walter we use a paddle to stretch the curd much like a candy maker stretches saltwater taffy. What was once a block of curd broken down into little pieces is now a silky ribbon of awesomeness. We form the balls about the size of baseballs and lay them into very cold, but not ice cold, water so they set properly. In a sense shocking them into place.
So, come on in to Park & Sixth we’d be happy to give you a taste!
[slider Group=A title="January 2010 Update"]
What’s Hot at Park & Sixth – January 2010
I always want to know what everyone else is ordering, so I asked them for a list of their hottest selling items, plus a little background on #1!
- The Park & Sixth Braised Brisket Sandwich
- The Philly Cheese Steak Spring Roll
- The Buffalo Soldier
- The Eli Manning
- Fresh Mozzarella
The Park and Sixth Braised Brisket Sandwich
Here’s what the owner has to say about the most popular item on the menu (man am I hungry now!)
“When I sat down to write the sandwich menu for Park & Sixth Comfort Food I knew I had to incorporate braised brisket somewhere. Little did I know it would be our signature sandwich.
I am a man consumed by braising. Braising is sexy. Perhaps because the process involves taking a less desirable “peasant” cut of meat with the consistency of an old shoe and morphing it into tender deliciousness, the proverbial frog into a prince as it were.
Braising is a cooking technique that requires a fattier cut of meat to be cooked over a long period of time over low heat. It is actually quite simple, but requires considerable time to gather and prepare the ingredients.
Our briskets braise in the oven for five hours at 300 degrees in a red wine based sauce, which later becomes the “Crazy Gravy” on the Park & Sixth Brisket Sandwich.
If you don’t have the time to braise…. we’ll do it for you. At Park & Sixth we braise five briskets a day and it is by far the most popular item on the menu.”
See you next month!
For the last several months – I’ve been having Park & Sixth Cravings on Monday’s for some reason – only to be bummed that I forgot they weren’t open.
Good news – now open Mondays!
Last week, in conjunction with the start of the school year, Park & Sixth is now open on Mondays too! I think I’ll have swing by later today and test out a new sandwich I haven’t tried yet.
Quick little update here. I’ve been back to Park & Sixth a few times since they opened. I have a new favorite item – the Buffalo Chicken Salad. Fantastic to eat straight.. pulled chicken breast, a relatively mild buffalo spice, and tons of miniature celery bits. It’d be nice to have a “hot-n-spicy” option, but I’m perfectly satisfied as-is.
Oh, and SEE MENU HERE.
Positive first day
The eatery was buzzing with customers when I stopped in at around 2pm – fully loaded with prepared dishes, salads, meats and a bunch of hard-to-find condiments and spices.
Quick first impressions: I ordered the chef’s favorite of the day – Meat Lasagna, plus some roasted corn salad (with red onion, tomato, scallion and cilantro) – and a “Two-Tier” Chicken Parm (with prosciutto in-between). Without getting into full detail, the dishes were all very good, and the attention to detail in their preparation was plainly evident. Good value as well, the portions were generous for the price (I have enough left for TWO more meals).
I also tasted the Fresh Mozzarella (made in house) – which was fantastic!
Interesting to note, was the various spices and sauces they had for sale. Including David’s Kosher Salt (which is apparently very hard to find) – and an array of hot sauces and salsas.
Check it out tonight on your way home!
(Menu to be posted later this week.)
Coming June 2009!
I had a chance to stop by Park & Sixth Comfort Food (539 Park Ave.) this weekend. Spoke with Jimmy, who along with his brother Brian – have done quite a good job transforming the old Piccininni Salumaria location into a new destination for hungry Hoboken residents!
(Hoping) to open somewhere around June 10th – Park & Sixth hopes to wow customers with a varying array of “comfort” foods every day. From sandwiches, prepared dishes, a salad-station, a large selection of fine cheeses – and much more. Walking around the interior made you feel like they did something right. I happen to get a big kick out of the interesting variety of random photos hanging on the wall. I immediately noticed that they’re big NY Yankees fans – and found out that the only “dress code” that employees will have to adhere by is – that they’ll have to don Yankees caps – regardless of who their favorite team is. I like these guys already!
Jimmy also seemed to be very in touch with his neighbors, fielding tons of questions about the new eatery from curious passerby every day. He expect the initial operating hours to be 7am-8pm, six days a week (closed Mondays) – and will fine tune the offerings based on popular demand.
I for one, can’t wait to try their version of a hot roast beef and mozz sandwich! Stay tuned to Hoboken411 for further updates!
Hoboken411 reader McSpacebar spotted this new business opening up at 539 Park Avenue called: Park & Sixth Comfort Food.
Piccininni Salumaria spot no longer vacant
“Here is a pic my girlfriend took of the exterior of the former Piccininni Salumaria on 6th & Park Ave. It is finally rented, and a sign went up in the window a few days ago.
I have high hopes for this place although it can in no way replace Pincinini’s.”
Description: Comfort food, prepared foods, sandwiches, fresh mozzarella, cheeses, hamburgers, salads.
Address: 539 Park Ave # 2, Hoboken, NJ 07030