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Hagler's in Oradell...now Felice

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Hagler's in Oradell...now Felice

big ern | Aug 11, 2004 04:38 PM

I meant to post this review months ago, but am just getting around to it now...the threads about Arthur's Steaks in Emerson made me think of it.

If anyone grew up in Oradell, NJ or the surrounding towns, you've probaby eaten at Hagler's on Kinderkamack Rd before. It was one of the last great bastions of classic luncheon-counter dining in northern New Jersey. Going there on a hungover Saturday morning with a crew of guys, getting some stools, watching the start of a college football game and breaking balls with John Hagler and Billy Elbows was often times a religious experience enjoyed by folks from all walks of life and all ages.

Well, Hagler's shut down about 2 years ago (due to a combo of financial problems and health of the owners) and recently re-opened as Felice, an Italian joint downstairs, with a diner upstairs(?!?!?). I took my mother to the downstairs Italian restaurant this past mother's day, as I always used to take my mother to the "fancy" downstairs restaurant part of Hagler's when it was still there. Legendary Coach Bill Parcells even had his own special seat down there. Anyways, I wanted to HATE this new place Felice so badly, because I was so pissed they shuttered Haglers. But turned out to be decent. Place is pretty cavernous and the acoustics were horrible, service was a little annoying...you can tell the waiters were out to please.

I started out with a salad of warm lentils and goat cheese. Came out PIPING hot. after 10 minutes, I was able to eat and it was tasty. Had the veal saltimboca as a main course. Veal was a little tough and prosciutto was a little scarce, but overall taste was fine. My mother had the egglant rolatini, which i must say was pretty damn good. Really, really thin sliced eggplant, not too much cheese, perfect amount of sauce...and the portion size was perfect for my mom (meaning she was able to take a few bites home in a doggie bag). They've also got pastas, pizzas and some other requisite Italian dishes on the menu (chicken parm, etc). Looked pretty good on paper.

Would I go again? Probably not. But i look forward to hearing other people's experiences at Felice. It will be interesting to see if they can make it work there.

In closing I'd just like to say: "Gimme one on rye, side of homes, bucket of iced tea." Done. Rest in peace Hagler's, you'll never be forgotten...partially because I always run into Billy Elbows at Schreiber's Deli, where he now helps out behind the counter!

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