Thursday, January 20, 2011

A New Twist to Pasta Sauce, Front Street Style

Company: 11 Front Bar & Grill
Address: 11 W. Front Street, Trenton, NJ
Owners: Vince and Carolyn Ippolito
Specialty:  Italian Cuisine/ Pasta Sauce in a bag
In business since: 2011
Phone Number: 609-392-6900

For those that don’t already know, there’s a new business in town and they take pride in offering culinary delight, Italian style. They specialize in Italian cuisine. In particular, they have a unique pasta sauce. For all those individuals out there (like me) that don't enjoy cleaning up after cooking their favorite pasta sauce, the folks at 11 Front Bar & Grill have the answer for you. They have a new product. They offer a pasta sauce that they freeze in a cryovak bag. This new product makes the cleaning process much easier for all of us. They offer everything from steaks to pasta at affordable prices. The next time you’re in town, please be sure to check out 11 Front Bar & Grill located in the heart of downtown Trenton (11 Front Street, Trenton, NJ). Please see Anwar's Reflection's exclusive interview with the owners of 11 Front Bar & Grill below:

AGS: Can you please tell the audience a little more about your business?

Well, we started off with just a pasta sauce. The pasta sauce comes from a family recipe that is over 100 years old. My wife and I decided to start marketing the sauce at the Pennington Market. The interesting thing about the sauce is that it is not offered in a jar. What we do is freeze the sauce in a cryovak bag. As a user, all you have to do is just toss it into boiling water along with the spaghetti. It simplifies the process of cooking to one easy step. Its what we call 'one-pot preparation'. So after all your hard work in the kitchen making dinner, you’re not getting that typical dirty pasta sauce pot because our sauce never actually comes out of the bag until you’re ready to serve it. Once you’re ready to serve it, all you have to do is just cut open the pouch and pour the sauce over your pasta and voila there you have it. There is no sauce pot to wash. in a nutshell, it simplifies the cleaning process for you. Other than that, we have an Italian inspired menu, we offer everything from burgers to steaks, and pasta to fish, by the way, the tilapia is fabulous. We also offer Chicago style hot dogs. We take pride in servicing the state workers (among many others)  in the area. We’ve also got people coming in from Pennington. We offer quality food at affordable prices.

AGS: What is your background? Is this your first time owning and operating your own business?

This is our first business, I have a business degree from Rider University and my wife has a law degree from Seton Hall.

AGS: What motivated you to start your own business?

Vince has always had this family recipe. He always believed in it. Since we are small business; we wanted to create something unique. So we were thinking, let’s try to fix a problem, and we went back to the cleaning process when cooking pasta sauce. We understand how many people feel they are cooking pasta sauce and how time consuming the clean up process can be so through various gyrations, we came up with this unique idea to create a pasta sauce that can simplify the cooking process.In addition, we were also motivated by the positive feedback we were receiving kids at the Pennington Market. They liked our samples so much that they brought their parents with them the next time they came in the store. 

AGS: What Makes 11 Front Bar & Grill unique?

We want to be a place that services our local community. Of course we mean Trenton, but we also want folks coming in from outskirts like Pennington and surrounding areas to see what Trenton has to offer. Since we’re a small business we’re not trying to sit 100 people. We want to provide that friendly, neighborhood atmosphere for each and every customer.

I know it sounds clichéd but we have an almost ‘Cheers’ atmosphere where everyone knows your name. We want to establish that sort of neighborly climate for our establishment where we really get to know our customers. We like to chat and get to know what our clientele really likes to eat and drink. We want to be a place where people feel like they’re at home. We strive to provide quality food at affordable prices.

AGS: Did you face any challenges when launching your business? If so how did you overcome those challenges?

Nothing was easy, everything was a challenge. It was one challenge after another. As an entrepreneur, the big idea is not to get caught up in the challenges or quagmires you encounter but rather to fix your problem, persevere and move on.

AGS: How do you advertise or promote your business?

We don’t yet. We wanted a soft opening. We were asked by the TDA (Trenton Downtown Association) to be a part of the pub crawl that took place on December 30th. We participated in this pub crawl and the reception was great. Our place of business was shoulder to shoulder, our place was packed solid. It was a great success. And then January 5th we had our official grand opening. It was supposed to be with the mayor but he got tied up in Washington, DC, but luckily we did have Councilman Holly Ward and Councilman Caldwell Wilson in attendance. Even though the soft opening never happened, we still did well due in large part to the TV spot we received and the articles published on our behalf. We also received a great deal of word of mouth advertising. All of this has helped us a great deal. We have been packed. With regard to advertising, we plan to eventually advertise and offer happy hour and things of that sort. However, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, we want to make sure we provide quality service to customers. That's priority number one.

AGS: Have you taken advantage of internet marketing at all?

We have not as of yet, however we are interested in setting up a Facebook page in the near future. However, we heard there is some great feedback about our business online through social networks like Facebook. Right now, we have literally done no advertising yet because we haven’t needed to. But we will soon, we plan on starting with a Facebook page, radio spots, advertise in the paper, we’re doing advertising with the Fraternal Order of Police and the CWA, places like that.

AGS: Being that you’re an entrepreneur yourself, what advice, if any, would you give an up and coming entrepreneur that wants to be successful as well?

Patience is huge; don’t let anyone force you into a deadline. Don’t rush things. No matter what it takes, get the vision right. When its done, you want people to say 'wow, this took a lot of care in developing your vision and putting your business together'. Use the resources at your disposal, especially community resources.

I want to say in particular that we have received a great deal of help from the TDA (Trenton Downtown Association). They were very helpful. We received a great deal of support from the Pennington Fire Department. The community was instrumental in getting our business off the ground.

AGS: Will you give us another interview one year from now so we can follow up on your progress?

Certainly we would be interested in meeting with you in the future. In fact, you can come in next week for dinner, we would love that.

AGS: That sounds like a plan. Thank you very much for your time.

*AGS is an acronym for the author and founder of Anwar's Reflections, Anwar G. Salandy*

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