Tucked away in a small shopping center, just off busy Route 9 in Old Bridge, is kitchenware shop and culinary center, Heirloom Kitchen. Opened in November 2013, the one-of-a-kind store was dreamed up by mother and daughter team: Judy Rosenblum and Neilly Robinson.
The initial idea was conceived over a family dinner at ABC Kitchen in New York City. While raising her family, Rosenblum attended a host of cooking classes, constantly refreshing and reinventing the meals she served. She is also a trained interior decorator. Now with grown children, Rosenblum wanted to embark on her next adventure. At the same time Robinson, Rosenblum’s daughter, was working in fashion and feeling unfulfilled. Also culinarily inclined, Robinson sought out several food ventures in the past, but none had come to fruition. “Our idea was to have a beautiful demonstration space and put together the best of our experiences with cooking schools,” said Robinson.
What the two created is a hybrid: a store filled with unique and interesting cookware, tableware and serving wear blended with recreational culinary classes, teaching a modern-day approach to cooking and table setting. The vibe is laid back and they encourage communal dining. The design aesthetic is a mix of Rosenblum’s modern taste and Robinson’s preferences for comfortable and rustic. Beautiful highlights include a 1920s restored gas stove, vintage wallpaper and an expansive cooking area with cabinets by Arclinea and Sub Zero-Wolf appliances.
Upon entering the store for the first time, I immediately noticed the gorgeous wood dining table, with an exposed bulb lighting fixture. It was decorated with an eclectic display of dining and serving ware. The right side of the store is a carefully curated selection of kitchenware, offering shoppers many products and brands not available in typical retail chains. I had recently misplaced my favorite wine aerator – ok, I lost it, in my own home or maybe out. I don’t know, but I was in a desperate situation after drinking unaerated wines for weeks! To my delight and surprise they had the exact type I was seeking. I continued to browse, creating a mental check list called “I want ALL of this”. Someday, when I have a much bigger kitchen space, I know just where I’ll be going to stock it. Says Robinson, “We’re an alternative to department and kitchen stores. We’re bringing you stuff you can’t find other places and always introducing new products. We want to make shopping for kitchenware fun!”
If the incredible selection of products – both beautiful and functional – wasn’t enough, the breadth of their cooking classes was making me hungry. A mix of renowned chefs – like Nicholas Harary of Nicholas in Red Bank and James Beard Rising Star Chef semi-finalist (2011) Dan Richer (Arturo’s in Maplewood, Razza in Jersey City) – along with local experts, play host to classes held throughout the month. With topics like pizza making, knife skills, gluten-free cooking and Sunday brunch, there is something for everyone. Since Heirloom Kitchen is also a showroom for California vineyard Domenico, a few classes even include complimentary wine.
I talked with Robinson about the future plans of the shop and their classes; there is no shortage of big ideas. In the coming months they plan to host more vegan and vegetarian classes in response to community requests. Along with tea party desserts, pasta making and Passover and Easter themes, “Sold Out” is just one indication that these ladies really know the right recipe for success. They are also making this great space available for private event, photo shoots and philanthropic events – like a recent cooking class they held for the Girl Scouts.
Who should visit this shop? Those who love to cook, those who love to eat, those who are registering for weddings or searching for the perfect wedding gift, those who aren’t sure what they’re doing in the kitchen, those looking for a warm community and those looking to be welcomed to the table, just as they are. If the space doesn’t warm your heart and inspire you, the Rosenblum-Robinson family surely will.
3853 Route 516
Old Bridge, NJ
Karin Nastawa grew up in the great Garden State, leaving only briefly to attend college in Philadelphia, where she developed a love for all things cheese steaks. She has lived in Hoboken for over nine years, taking in the incredible dining scenes on both sides of the river and has a particular affinity for staking out interesting BYO establishments in Hudson County. She is the founder and owner of VinEatsi, a boutique wine & food digital marketing agency and has also studied wine and spirits extensively, receiving her advanced degree from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET). Along with running VinEatsi, she is an avid cook and food enthusiast and writes about her wine & food adventures in the VinEatsi blog. She dreams of having a chef’s kitchen and a state-of-the-art wine cellar filled with Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Left Bank Bordeaux… someday.