Does the specter of Valentine's Day put you in a romantic mood? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Cupid's day across Belleville – and we are here to offer you a guide to carry you through the weekend into one of Hallmark's favorite holidays.
We could also suggest the CVS on Washington Avenue, the Pathmark on Belmont Avenue, or either of the Walgreen's stores on Franklin or Washington Avenues. Instead, we suggest these longtime local establishments who carry a wide assortment of cards and boxes of candy.
Brix Tapas Bar & Grill (371 Franklin Ave.)
One of our township's most popular and diverse eateries is offering a prix fixe Valentine's dinner for $65.50 (plus tax and tip) that includes a choice of shrimp arragiata or eggplant rollatine for an appetizer, a mixed green salad, and four choices for an entree: roast prime rib, pork chop giamoatta, basa livornese, or lobster ravioli.
Along with the meal, diners will receive a complimentary bottle of wine and cheese platter. Reservations are required. Dining from the regular menu will also be available in the bar and regular dining areas.
Flowerama (180 Washington Ave.)
Owner Jaye Tarantino began decorating her storefront weeks ago with hearts as an homage to St. Valentine. Inside, she is selling beautiful, long-stem roses (Police Chief Joseph Rotonda is among her faithful customers) starting at $45 a dozen accompanied by decorative vases through Teleflora. In addition, there are balloons and stuffed animals commemorating the day.
Flowerama, which will be open Sunday, also carries plump, chocolate-covered strawberries that are coated with mini-M&Ms and Reese's Pieces, as well as Oreo and Heath Bar bits.
“They're really beautiful,” Tarantino said. “It's something new we started last year. People can get a half-pound or a pound.”
Gino's Pizza & Restaurant (545 Washington Ave.)
This popular eatery has been making heart-shaped pizzas for Valentine's Day for years, which are good either for carry-out or dining in. If you are not feeling the holiday theme, there are plenty of other options ranging from boneless Buffalo wings to the chicken parmagiana that have been raved about on yelp.com.
Pepe Sisters Italian American Deli (82 Overlook Ave.)
This family-owned deli offers more for those who want to stay at home. Try their new heart-shaped ravioli ($7.99 for a dozen) or any of their freshly made pastas including cavatelli, gnocchi, and spaghetti. Their cookies are also popular (they made 500 pounds for Christmas); the most popular varieties include their butterballs, knots, and pinole. For something a bit more complex when it comes to dessert, try their Italian cheesecake (made with ricotta) or Tiramisu.
Porto (396 Washington Ave.)
If you are celebrating early, check out the sumptuous weekend brunch (read our review today at noon) offered for $25 per person ($15 for children) that includes melt-in-your-mouth, top-round sirloin at the carving station, a table overflowing with fine meats and cheeses, a few others overflowing with fine cakes and pastries, and seven different trays filled with bacon, eggs, pancakes, and a rotating cast of entrees and side dishes. Brunch comes with a complimentary bellini or mimosa.
However, if you want to wait until Valentine's Day, the restaurant will serve its regular menu while giving each woman a complimentary rose.
Signature Fitness (471 Cortlandt St.)
Through Valentine's Day, the facility is offering over 35 percent off or a $0 enrollment fee for two memberships.