A posh wine shop, a trilevel “candy department store,” and a restaurant specializing in artisanal French Mediterranean cuisine make their New Jersey debuts

by Jessica Jones Gorman

Sickles Market, which has been selling fruits and vegetables to Jersey Shore residents for more than 100 years, recently expanded its boutique market concept to Red Bank in the process adding a wine shop and gourmet food shop to a retail space on the corner of Bridge and Monmouth Streets.

Launched in Little Silver by Harold and Elsie Sickles in 1908, the family company has continued to sell fresh local produce for four generations. In recent years, it has become known for a wide selection of gourmet grocery items, including international cheeses and baked goods. Its butcher shop and deli have also become Monmouth County staples, as has a roster of fresh chef prepared foods.

Bottles by Sickles, which opened in November, features more than 5,000 wine varietals as well as a number of hard to find craft beers and spirits. The wine shop is working on establishing relationships with many of the neighborhood’s BYO restaurants, too, allowing diners to order bottles for delivery. 200 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, 732.852.5353, sicklesmarket.com

East Rutherford’s “immersive flagship and specialty shopping and dining” experience, American Dream, marked the debut of experiential retailer, IT’SUGAR, in December, one of the first stores to open at the property. Dubbed the “world’s first candy department store,” IT’SUGAR spans 22,000 square feet and encompasses three levels. Jeff Rubin, founder and CEO of the company, calls his concept “the world’s largest non manufacturer candy store, created to satisfy a universal sweet tooth and provide a variety of bold merchandise with tongue in cheek attitude.”

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Within the entertainment atrium at American Dream, adjacent to the DreamWorks Water Park entrance and near Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and the property’s NHL size ice rink, IT’SUGAR features an entrance marked by a 60 foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty, made entirely from candy. The location features over 10,000 sweet choices, with separate “shops” including displays of Sour Patch Kids, Oreo, Nerds, Reese’s products, Peeps, Pez, Starbursts, and other magic treats. 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, 551.213.3744, itsugar.com

Bistro D’Azur opened its doors in South Orange in September, reacquainting area residents with classic French cuisine. Chef Richard Krug, who has been a participant in the local and sustainable food movement for over a decade, serves as executive chef and partner. His dishes are created with French Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences, yet are inspired further by “global spice.” He pays homage, for example, to the culture and cuisine of Southern France using the diverse flavors of the Cote d’Azur and the broader Mediterranean region. Menu highlights include Lobster Crepes and Pan Seared Diver Scallops with foie gras and carrot saffron sauce. Reservations are encouraged. 14 Academy Street, South Orange, 973.327.9725, bistrodazur.com