Ex-Di Bruno Bros. and Rastelli’s chefs James Liuzza and Joe Muldoon will reopen in the former McFarlan’s Market space the Saturday after Christmas.
By Matt Skoufalos | December 23, 2019
It’s been a long ride to the finish line, but chefs James Liuzza and Joe Muldoon are just about ready to open the doors of Haddon Culinary, their chef-driven market at 741 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood.
The storefront, which as recently as this summer, held the briefly tenured McFarlan’s Market Collingswood, will welcome its first customers at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 28.
In the process of outfitting the space, they met “a lot of great neighbors who quickly became friends,” Liuzza said.
“We have a lot of good support and guidance; otherwise we couldn’t have done this ourselves,” he said.
“There’s no way we could have done it without everybody’s help,” Muldoon agreed. “How thankful we are for the Collingswood community and all the help they gave us to get open.”
In the time since announcing their overhaul of the market space, Liuzza and Muldoon have also refined their concept for the business. The green-and-yellow color scheme in their squash-blossom logo ties into an appreciation for gardening and fine ingredients. To Liuzza, in whose garden it grew, the flower is perfectly emblematic of their concept.
“It’s an ingredient that should be prepared simply, and that really speaks to our cooking,” he said. “It’s about the simplicity of very good ingredients, and applying technique to it.”
There’s another significant, personal touch in the dining room, too: a trio of paintings paying homage to the partners’ mothers. In one, a young Muldoon climbs on a kitchen table while his mother, Roberta, prepares a fruit salad.
The other two show Liuzza’s mom, Cassandra, juggling tomatoes and hoisting a bushel on her head while picking the fruits from a South Jersey farm. Both men attribute their love of food to their mothers, and the recreations of old family photos place them prominently in the space.
The unofficial motto of the chef-driven kitchen seems to be “all the way to the center of the plate,” a phrase Muldoon often revisits when describing the fullness of selections on its menu, from appetizers to entrees.
“All the processes that we’re doing, we’re taking the extra time to do it and making sure we’re offering it in retail and our prepared foods,” Liuzza said.
“You’re going to notice a good energy revolving around the food.”
The menu at Haddon Culinary spans breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with freshly prepared, made-to-order meals. Liuzza promised combinations both “creative and simple,” with an emphasis on fresh ingredients prepared skillfully.
Breakfast sandwiches, for example, could be a typical bacon, egg, and cheese on a Philly muffin, or a more refined croque madame. Those looking for lighter fare may enjoy acai bowls, avocado toast, or overnight oats.
The take-and-go bakery case will feature savory pies suitable for a variety of diets. Homestyle chicken pot pies are made from an all-butter crust, with slow-cooked, shredded chicken bathed in a house-made stock. Vegan pies with non-dairy crusts will showcase root vegetables and mushrooms; there’s even a gluten-free, beef brisket shepherd’s pie topped with carrot mash.
The weekly rotation of soups will kick off with a classic beef chili and chicken noodle soup. Vegan options include lentil chili made with Impossible protein as well as a cauliflower bisque. The chefs will also offer Sicilian-style focaccia pizzas by the slice and mini quiches (French-onion-brisket and Swiss-vegetable).
Lunchtime offerings at the in-store deli counter will center on house-made, slow-roasted meats.
Haddon Culinary will feature three different flavors of roast turkey: dry rub, honey, and fresh herb.
These will complement roast sirloin and rotisserie top-round beef, Sakura heritage porchetta and pulled pork brisket, house-made sausages, and grilled chicken cutlets.
Sandwiches will be “a little smaller” than typical hoagies, “and with better ingredients,” Liuzza said.
Just like the breakfast menu, he promised both familiarity (a chicken cutlet with sharp provolone and roasted peppers) and some creativity (beef sirloin with cabernet roasted garlic butter and gruyere) in the sandwich selection.
There’s also a vegan Cuban, house-made hummus and grilled vegetables on homemade pita, and a Buffalo cauliflower sandwich. Breads are provided by Philly Bread Company, Sarcone’s Bakery, and North Side Bakery of North Bergen.
The deli counter also features a knowledgeable house butcher with years of experience, Muldoon said. Guests can take home a choice cut, or, for a small charge, pass their selection over to a staff member to prepare it onsite with any of a selection of house side dishes. A seasonal seafood counter also will feature familiar staples, like oysters, salmon, and tuna, as well as fish of the day.
“We’re definitely prepared to maximize the level of service for our guests in that department,” Muldoon said.
The chef-driven philosophy at Haddon Culinary also extends to the usability of ingredients. Byproducts of the meal preparation—leftover roasted pumpkin, chicken and rice, or salmon trim—also make for high-quality pet food, which will be sold onsite as well.
“Instead of throwing it away, we’re maximizing our inventory and our ingredients,” Liuzza said.
As the business finds its footing, Haddon Culinary will offer additional a la carte dine-in options in the weeks to come.
Out of the gate, however, Liuzza and Muldoon are accepting catering orders.
“We’re working on a menu to be able to itemize everything for these ease of our customers, but really, the whole store is a showcase for potential catering,” Liuzza said.
“We have enough product here that we can be creative and build things from our selection,” Muldoon said. “We are the tailors to put that together and craft everything you can see so you can bring our store to your home.”
The selection of shelved items includes specialty goods that aren’t always available from a big-box grocer, but Liuzza is quick to point out that theirs is not an inventory meant to replace a regular shopping order.
“We have it here for convenience; we don’t want to be labeled as a grocery store,” he said. “We don’t want people to be upset when they come in here and can’t get something they would normally get at ShopRite. It’s a culinary experience.”
Some choice products from local purveyors and producers—like Collingswood’s own Poppers Corn and Revolution Coffee Roasters—line the shelves, as do loose tea blends from The Tea Store of Haddonfield.
There’s Made Chocolates from Atlantic City, New Jersey’s first “bean to bar” chocolatier, and Gilda’s Biscotti from Salem. Lapp’s Farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania supplies free-range eggs. Of course, customers will also find plenty of Di Bruno Bros. cheese spreads.
“We’re cooking first, and then the grocery items to help you cook,” Muldoon said.
“When you walk in here, initially, you’re just going to see options.
“Immediately you can map out what you want to eat for your whole entire week,” he said.
In the future, the chefs plan to hold limited-seating tasting dinners in collaboration with the growers and cultivators of their ingredients.
Multi-course meals starring heirloom tomatoes or wild salmon could come during the warmer months; with additional seating in its dining area (produced by The Factory of Collingswood), Liuzza and Muldoon hope to be able to interact more closely with customers during these special events.
The chefs have hired a staff of 20 trained professionals who “all share the same passion” for food that they do,” Muldoon said. They know that the energy that’s going to be required to sustain the business “isn’t just going to come from us, but from our team members,” he said.
Liuzza echoed those sentiments.
“Our success is going to come from everybody that’s with us,” he said.
Haddon Culinary is located at 741 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood. For more information, call 856-559-0440 or visit haddonculinary.com.
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