Peruvian culture reigns at new S.R. restaurant

By jennifer dome
Staff Writer

Peruvian culture reigns at new S.R. restaurant

FARRAH MAFFAI Luz and Elzio Ciuffardi stand proudly in the new Peruvian restaurant their family opened on Main Street, South River, in April.FARRAH MAFFAI Luz and Elzio Ciuffardi stand proudly in the new Peruvian restaurant their family opened on Main Street, South River, in April.

By jennifer dome

Staff Writer

SOUTH RIVER — The Ciuffardi family has a message for the community: La comida de Peru venía al South River.

That is, the food of Peru has come to the borough in the form of a new Main Street restaurant called Cuzco. Inside the heavy wooden door, customers are met with earthy colors of orange and yellow, white tablecloths and candleholders made of bamboo, combined with the smell of the comida, or food.

The large town of Cuzco, for which the restaurant is named, is located in the hills of Peru quite a distance from Lima, the country’s capital and the place where the Ciuffardi family was raised. But the blend of the family’s hometown on the coast and the mountainous terrain of Cuzco accounts for the tastes of Peru in the dishes the family serves at the new restaurant, which opened in April.

Elzio Ciuffardi works during the day in the restaurant, while his sister, Anabelle Teixeira, handles the nights and weekends. Both run Cuzco with the help of sus padres — their parents, Luz and Nicanor Ciuffardi, who have lived in South River for 19 years.

Elzio and his mother Luz — which means "light" in their native Spanish language — spoke to a reporter Tuesday morning about the history of their country’s cuisine.

When the Incan people occupied the country of Peru long ago, people ate food made mainly from potatoes and rice, Elzio said. When the Europeans came to the country, they brought spices that flavored the foods eaten by the natives.

According to Elzio, the influx of the Chinese has also played a large role in the flavor of the cuisine in Peru.

Peruvian food is not as spicy as Mexican food, Elzio said. Many dishes are made with potatoes and rice, an influence from the mountains of the country where heartier foods are consumed. But seafood is also found in many dishes in their home country. This combination of the starches and fish is an obvious occurrence, Elzio said, since the high mountains of Peru abut the long coast of the country along the borders of Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.

Looking at the black-and-white fotos that hang on the walls of Cuzco, patrons can almost imagine looking out windows at the South American scenery. The Ciuffardi family said many customers have commented on how comfortable they feel when dining in the restaurant.

The building, which formerly housed a rib restaurant, has undergone a major renovation to evoke a homey feeling. The Ciuffardis, as well as Anabelle’s husband and brother-in-law, pitched in to repaint the walls, recarpet the floors and build new counters.

"The family did it. Everyone pitched in," Elzio said of the restaurant’s transformation.

Thus far, the restaurant has drawn customers only by word of mouth, but Elzio said they are all making return visits.

"It’s been doing well since we opened," Elzio said, smiling.

"A lot of people are coming in, from all nationalities," Luz said.

Luz and Elzio agreed that many Pe­ruvian people who once had to travel as far as Elizabeth in Union County to find their native ethnic food are going to Cuzco. Other Spanish-speaking people seem to enjoy the fact that the family is bilingual.

Elzio, who runs the restaurant with his mother and other family members during the day while Anabelle works in New York, said the family plans to run the restaurant in the borough for a long time.

"We felt comfortable opening here because we knew the community," Elzio said.

Luz said customers can expect to see occasional live Peruvian entertainment in the future. She is particularly excited about celebrating Peru’s Independence Day at the restaurant on July 28.

Company touts making telephone calls online

North Brunswick firm
says cost-saving service

By jennifer kohlhepp
Staff Writer

North Brunswick firm
says cost-saving service
is ‘wave of the future’
By jennifer kohlhepp
Staff Writer

JENNIFER KOHLHEPP VoicePulse Inc., a North Brunswick-based telecommunications company, recently developed a device, pictured next to the telephone, to lower telephone bills by routing phone calls over the Internet.JENNIFER KOHLHEPP VoicePulse Inc., a North Brunswick-based telecommunications company, recently developed a device, pictured next to the telephone, to lower telephone bills by routing phone calls over the Internet.

NORTH BRUNSWICK — A local telecommunications company hopes its new product will have you dialing for less.

VoicePulse Inc., 2227 Route 1 in North Brunswick, is a communications company that uses its voice over an Internet provider network to deliver low-cost telephone services with advanced features not ordinarily available to residential customers, according to VoicePulse President Ravi Sakaria.

"Our product is the catalyst for a revolution in the telephone industry," Sakaria said. "We’re the first communications company to offer this technology that bundles enhanced calling features in a low-cost, easy-to -use package."

VoicePulse uses technology known as Voice Over IP to route calls over the Internet and to deliver phone services to consumers. The device hooks up directly to any touch-tone telephone, Sakaria said.

"The device is so easy to use," Sakaria said. "It just ties into the telephone system. You plug it in and you immediately get a dial tone. There’s no configuration and there’s no waiting for the telephone company to install a line."

The company launched the new service on April 3.

Consumers need high-speed broad band Internet connections such as cable or DSL to sign up for the service, according to the company.

"Our telephone service is unique because we provide it over the Internet," Sakaria said. "However, people can make and receive calls from others who do not have our service."

With VoicePulse, consumers can choose an area code, enhance voice mail, block telemarketers and activate a "do not disturb" service.

"With VoicePulse broad band phone service, you have the freedom to pick any of the area codes we offer," Sakaria said. "This feature is not available from traditional phone companies. You can live on the West Coast and have an East Coast telephone number."

Sakaria said college students who live in New Jersey but who go to school in California or anywhere else in the United States can choose a New Jersey area code so parents can avoid long-distance charges.

"Business people who travel from one place to another can take the device with them so their clients only need to know one telephone number," Sakaria said.

The enhanced voice mail feature allows customers to retrieve their messages remotely from any telephone. This feature also allows customers to retrieve voice mail messages as e-mail attachments using an Internet-connected computer with sound, Sakaria said.

"You can receive e-mails with sound file attachments every time someone leaves you a voice message," Sakaria said. "Now, you can hear your telephone messages right through your laptop."

The "do not disturb" feature intercepts telephone calls before the telephone rings.

"Parents who want to make sure sleeping children do not awaken when the phone rings and business people in important meetings can use the do-not-disturb feature," Sakaria said.

VoicePulse also includes a telemar­keter block, free, in every calling plan.

"When activated, incoming calls without caller ID will receive a special tone that causes telemarketers’ auto-di­alers to disconnect and remove your telephone number from their call list," Sakaria said.

Currently, VoicePulse offers three calling plans.

The regional plan costs $25.99 per month and offers unlimited local and re­gional calls, 600 U.S. long distance min­utes and free user-to-user calls, Sakaria said.

The America Unlimited Plan, for $34.99 per month, offers everything in the regional plan plus unlimited U.S. long distance.

"Since our America Unlimited Call­ing Plan is priced at $34.99, which is $20 cheaper than comparable plans from tra­ditional phone companies, consumers will initially switch to Voice Over IP based on the price," Sakaria said. "What they will find is that the features we de­liver over an IP-based communications network are far more advanced than what they previously experienced."

The Small Business plan costs $45.99, monthly, and includes everything in the America Unlimited Plan plus free user-to-user call transferring.

Businesses can buy additional phone lines for $9.99 a month.

Each plan includes free voice mail, call waiting, and caller ID.

"We’ve just begun our international marketing campaign," Sakaria said. "We’re focusing specifically on New Jer­sey because, historically, this state has been the hotbed for developments in technology. People in New Jersey are just that much more technologically savvy."

For more information call (732) 339-5100 or send an e-mail to con­

Franchising workshop scheduled for April 17

Franchising workshop
scheduled for April 17

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) Chapter 14 and Raritan Valley Community College, North Branch section of Branch, will co-spon­sor a franchising and business-buying workshop from 7-9 p.m. on April 17 at the Fleet Bank Building, Franklin Boulevard, Somerset section of Franklin.

Instructor will be Jack Armstrong, president of Franchising Network of New Jersey.

Fee is $25 and includes materials and tuition. Each participant will re­ceive a copy of the book Starting and Managing Your Own Business in New Jersey.

For more information and to register, call (908) 218-8871.

SCORE Chapter 14, a part of the U.S. Small Business Administration, of­fers free counseling to small businesses in Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon counties.

Prudential associates

earn national honors

Two Middlesex County sales associ­ates from Prudential New Jersey Properties have been named to the company’s Chairman’s Circle and President’s Circle for 2002. The awards were presented during special cere­monies at the company’s annual sales convention held in Las Vegas in March.

The Chairman’s Circle Gold Award, which is given to the top 3 percent of sales associates, was awarded to Duke Chung of the East Brunswick office.

Prudential Real Estate Affiliates pre­sents the President’s Circle Award to the top 5 percent of its residential sales professionals. This year’s recipient is Joan DeAngelis of the Metuchen office.

Realty closes deal

on new CVS site

Mid-State Realty of Monroe has closed a transaction with CVS pharmacy to build a new store at Forsgate Drive and Perrineville Road in Jamesburg. The pharmacy will include a drive-through window, one-hour processing of photos and general store and grocery merchandise.

CVS has a target opening date of July 1. Its hours will be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bonsante joins staff at

Century 21-Sylvia Geist

Lucia Bonsante has joined the Century 21-Sylvia Geist Agency, East Brunswick, as a sales associate.

Bonsante, the owner of Big River Landscaping, South River, has served as chairperson of the South River Mayor’s Municipal Alliance Against Drugs and Alcohol for the past six years.

She resides in South River with her husband, Roger, and their two sons.

‘Pipe Dreams’ artwork

on display at E.B. mall

on display at E.B. mall

"Pipe Dreams," an international art exhibit featuring works done with recy­cled materials, is on display through the end of April at Brunswick Square Mall, Route 18 south, East Brunswick.

The exhibit, which is offered cour­tesy of the Visual Arts League of East Brunswick, is a collection of works by artists and schoolchildren from New Jersey, various other states, New Zealand, Russia, Japan, India and France. A piece created by children from East Brunswick’s Camp Daisy is included in the collection.

The show previously was displayed at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, and most recently was seen at Paul Robeson School, New Brunswick.

"Pipe Dreams New Jersey" began two years ago as a low-budget commu­nity project with five students in Freda Rhodes’ classes at Paul Robeson School. It has grown into an interna­tional collaboration created through the Internet, bringing together artworks by international and regional artists and schoolchildren. The project merges with New Zealand artist Henry Sunderland’s project, "The Great Pipe Dream," which was created by New Zealand schoolchildren.

For more information, call the Visual Arts League at (732) 254-7611 or visit