Chef Lisa Mc Laughlin always wanted to be a chef, but she also always wanted to be a young mom. At 59, she has raised her children and is a grandmother of six.
Some time ago, while helping a friend run his deli, she heard an advertisement that would be the catalyst for change to her life and career – an advertisement for a career school in Manhattan would set McLaughlin in the direction she was passionate about, as a chef in the culinary world.
Commuting into the city three days a week, while running her first deli, served as this creative entrepreneur and restauranter’s educational landscape and roadmap to accomplish her goals and vision of entering the culinary world. After completing her externship, she opened Chefs in 2006.
Many suggested calling her new restaurant ‘Lisa’s’, however McLaughlin chose to call her new business Chefs, as she states, “It’s not all about me its about the food, it sounds good coming off the tongue, chefs cook food, so why not?”.
Her first restaurant was started in Lake Tranquility, in a leased space she retained for 6 1/2 years. After leaving that space she continued in rented kitchen spaces for a few years. In 2018, a customer suggested her present location at 411 Rt. 94, Columbia, that is now affectionately admired as Chefs Catering.
After looking over the property and finalizing all the details over those two years with the help of this customer, an advocate of chefs, McLaughlin would finally purchase and open the current Chefs location in 2020.
Opening a restaurant under normal circumstances can be fraught with challenge, but she suddenly was challenged with the Global Pandemic we were all faced with. McLaughlin got the okay to open, March 16, 2020, and was ordered to close March 17th.
This creative chef immediately pivoted to meals-to-go after just being open for one day. Her meal-to-go menu consisted of meals for two at an economical price.
Chefs Restaurant is now open Wednesday to Saturday, but the focus of Chefs is catering. This is showcased with the unique Food Cart that is open Monday to Friday from 11 to 3 PM.
This is the next step of the ladder that McLaughlin is building with her culinary vision. She will be using the other house on the property to create a deli on site. The food offered at Chefs Food Cart is all made from scratch, and she prides herself on this.
Chefs has their own pastry chef on site, offering up decadent homemade desserts to some lucky diners. The Food Cart offers specials of the week.
The food includes sandwiches, soups, and more that delight all its customers. From delicious soups, salads, chili and pastas to ingenious small desserts, there’s something for everyone on a changing menu. The Food Cart is available for offsite catering events. McLaughlin hopes to use the cart to introduce a deli nextdoor and its delicious offerings.
Apparently. McLaughlin has had a passion for this business her whole life, having started a vegetable stand at home at the young age of eight. It appears that this chef has a love of food and fun.
All the smoked foods are smoked on site and Lisa takes pride in all she does. Social events include cornhole and trivia weekly, Date Night is Wednesday with half off bottles of wine.
Chefs is a place for food, fun and family serving North Jersey with affordable, scrumptious selections from formal to informal. It’s truly a unique place, also serving the community from the first food cart in the area for a quick bite. There’s ample seating outside and a growing group of regulars frequent the establishment both inside and out.
For more information about the Food Cart and Chefs, please visit chefscateringnj.com or call 908-496-4111.