Saturday, July 31, 2010

Long Valley restaurant is like a trip to the Iberian peninsula

Long Valley has a wealth of great foods, from fresh veggies at farm stands to pizza
parlors, to Chinese restaurants and even fresh seafood. Now you can add something else: Portuguese barbecue.

The restaurant is owned by Maria Graca who gets help from her daughter, Vania Guerrerio.

"Around here, there was nothing Portuguese,'' Guerrerio says, "so we figured it would be a good spot for the business to bring out the new culture into the town.''

The spot is Tina's Portuguese BBQ on East Mill Road, and it's named Tina's because of the owner's middle name.

"Everyone just calls her Tina,'' Guerrerio says of her mother, Maria Graca, "Her second name is Valentina. So it's just a short abbreviation for it.''

The meals at Tina's are aimed at meat lovers.

"The chicken and the pork ribs are pretty popular,'' Guerrerio says. "The combo,
half-chicken, half-ribs, is the most popular.''

Also topping the bill and sure to get customers salivating are the BBQ T-bone steak, a pork-cutlet sandwich and grilled pork chops, all of which are from recipes Tina brought here from Portugal.

There's also Portuguese sausage, and appetizers such as codfish pastries and shrimp cakes.

Great desserts also are featured at Tina's, made with recipes from Portugal and sitting in a display case ready for customers to choose.

"We have the pistachio pudding, a chocolate pudding with whipped cream, flan, rice pudding and custard cakes'' Guerrerio says. All of them are made from scratch.

Tina's is mostly a takeout place, with only a few tables and chairs on the patio. You can call ahead and expect your food to be ready when you get there.

"It wasn't big enough to have a sit-down place,'' Guerrerio say. "We figured we would do takeout, just put a couple of chairs out there for the summertime if people wanted to eat there.''

And the customers have certainly approved. The pickup process is fast here, and some customers can even be seen leaving their motors running as they rush into the store and rush back out, eager to bring their delicious food home.

"We've been getting a lot of positive comments,'' Guerrerio says, adding that people keep saying that they "needed something like this in the area.''

Tina's also prepares dishes for parties, bringing the food right to customers if the order is large enough to warrant the delivery service.

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