scrapples, Bringhurst never tosses pork
skin, offal or whole heads into the pot. “We
stick to hearts, tongues and jowls,” he says.
“I think it gives a cleaner flavor.” He sells
between 200 and 400 pounds a week.
Working in a Pennsylvania diner, Peggy and Theodore Zervos learned to make
scrapple. Now their Edison Family Restaurant in Edison is the rare restaurant that
makes its own.
By 1908, when the Bringhursts hit the
Garden State, the Haines family of Mick-leton, Gloucester County, already had four
decades of scrapple savvy under their belts.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, enterprising Rachel Haines hitched up her wagon in the autumn and made the rounds of
farmers slaughtering their pigs. She turned
their piles of carcasses into money in the
form of compact loaves of tasty food.
Rachel’s great-great-greatgranddaugh-ter Margaret and her husband, Harry Sheldon, still follow the original recipe. At the
Haines Pork Shop in Mickelton, Sheldon
took a few minutes from helping customers to explain the process.
“We add hearts, tongues and livers in
net bags and hand-pick all the meat off
the bones after boiling for four hours,” he
said. “Then we grind the meat, put it back
in, add our own seasoning and stir in corn-
meal and wheat flour.”
Wheat makes Haines the rare scrapple
that is not gluten free. (Another is made by
Niblock’s Pork Store in Quinton, following
a generations-old family recipe.) Wheat,
more neutral in flavor than buckwheat,
may account for the distinctive taste of
Haines, in which cornmeal shares the
spotlight with the vivid pork notes that are
a hallmark of artisanal scrapples.
“My wife doesn’t like it too much,”
Sheldon remarked. “I love it, though. I
know what we put in our scrapple, and I
would eat it every day of the week.”
Sheldon made about 400 pounds a
week on site, until last summer, when the
old boiler gave out. Now he commissions
Leidy’s, a leading pork purveyor in Penn-
sylvania, to make scrapple following the
“It’s hard to tell the difference,” Sheldon
said. “Customers don’t ask for one or the
other. Sometimes our Pennsylvania batch-
es are a little more dense or drier. Making
scrapple is a feel thing; there’s no science
to it.”—Additional reporting by Brian Yarvin
orders a frittata
with bacon and rye toast. “Make sure there’s
tomato and jalapeño in there,” he tells her.
“And no onion!” She flaps her pad at him
and rolls her eyes, turning to Fordham.
“They’ll make you anything you want,”
Youngblood says as she walks away. He casts
a fond eye around the pink-and-chrome
interior. If the walls could talk, they’d tell
you that the diner originally stood at 50th
Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan,
across from what was then Madison Square
Garden. Known as the Arena, it was moved
to its current location in 1948. Kolokithas
bought the business in 1989 and renamed it
the Truck Stop. Six years ago, the landlord
had a new brick exterior built.
“I’ve been coming here since I was four
or five,” Youngblood says. He and Fordham,
44, grew up together in Jersey City. Their
fathers, truck drivers themselves, used to
bring them. Youngblood lives in Florence,
South Carolina, now and hauls produce
from New Jersey to Texas once a week, CB
and satellite radios his only company.
He and Fordham set up breakfasts
over the CB whenever Youngblood is in
the area. Fordham still lives in Jersey City.
Five days a week he climbs into the cab of
his Freightliner, picks up 35,000 to 40,000
pounds of orange juice from Tropicana in
Jersey City and delivers it to the White
Rose grocery distribution center in Avenel.
The Truck Stop wouldn’t have sur-
vived all these years just on nostalgia. “Sam
makes the best rice pudding in the world
and the best corned beef hash,” says David
Goodman, a regular who owns a local dis-
tribution company and employs a dozen
drivers. “Actually, everything he makes is
good. He gives truckers what they want:
good food, good prices and big portions.”
Kolokithas, 53, hand-chops and sautés
his hash with potatoes, onion “and a lot of
different spices. I’ve been doing it a long
time,” he says.
Rich Maroldi, a trucker from Colonia
who has breakfasted at the diner for 30
years, swears by the hash. “It’s excellent,”
he says. “And they’ll give it to me burnt,
which is how I like it. They also have grits.”
Indeed, in response to requests from
Southern drivers some years ago, Kolokithas added fish and grits, lightly breading
and frying fresh whiting filets. “It’s caught
on with guys here,” he says.
Bleary-eyed drivers frequently order
soup at breakfast. “I’ll give them soup any
time,” Kolokithas says. “A lot of them have
been up all night; they don’t know they’re
supposed to be eating breakfast food.” He
makes all soups from scratch. Chicken is
the most popular, followed by Yankee bean.
The essential liquid, of course, is coffee.
Kolokithas buys his from Coffee Associates
in Edgewater. “Truckers like caffeine,” he
says. “We don’t go through a lot of decaf.”
Free refills are unlimited at all hours,
but with any order from 6 to 8: 30 AM every
day, even the first cup is free. With their hot
beverage, many drivers will knock down a
few well-buttered blueberry, bran or corn
muffins, baked on site each morning.
“Truckers like anything that’s home-
made,” Kolokithas says. “They don’t get a
lot of it on the road.”
Much of the homey ambience is sup-
plied by Stella, the waitress. “I’ve known
Stella for 25 years,” says Goodman. “She’s
sweet and kind, never gets mad at anybody
and mostly gets every order right. And
she’ll kibitz with you. She’s always show-
ing you pictures of her grandchildren. I
give her a hug every time I come in.”
Stella, curly haired and vivacious at
59, lives in Jersey City. Asked if she loves
her job, she replies with a smirk, “It pays
the bills.” But you hear the affection in her
voice when she chats with her customers.
“My little friend, I didn’t forget you,” she
reassures a driver as she sets down a stack
of pancakes after a longer-than-usual wait.
The atmosphere stems from the own-
er’s family. Kolokithas, a farmer’s son, emi-
grated from Greece in 1978. He and Areti
have three children. Mike, 24, the middle
child, works at the Truck Stop, cooking,
taking orders, doing whatever needs doing.
The family lives in Fairview.
While patrons are mostly male, Kolok-
ithas is mindful of the minority. “I keep the
ladies’ room locked,” he says. “I don’t want
truckers going in there, changing and using
the sink to shave. I keep it nice.”
He works 5 AM to 6 PM, six days a week,
closing on Sunday, when few truckers
work. “I’ve had two vacations in 17 years,”
he says, sounding not at all cranky.
“Some people are rich and famous,” he
observes. “I’m poor and famous. People
come here from Louisiana, Texas, all over
the place in their trucks. They ask, ‘Are
you Sam?’ They’ve never seen me, but they
know my name.”
1 South Hackensack Ave, Kearny, 973-344-
BIG RIG SCRAPPLE
(Continued from page 41) (Continued from page 42)