Roger Corrado is no stranger to Hoboken. Born and raised here, Corrado grew up at 606 Hudson St. and married a girl from the Mile Square City. His father was a well-known Hoboken schoolteacher for nearly 50 years.
Corrado’s second home was the New York Board of Trade, starting on the trading floor at 19 in 1981, becoming vice chairman in 2001 and a guest analyst on CNBC, Fox Business, and Bloomberg News.
But when it came time to make a career change, Corrado went back to his Jersey roots.
In 2007, he bought the franchise rights to The WindMill, a New Jersey fast food chain, with an eye to opening one in Hoboken.
“I’ve known The WindMill since I was a kid,” says Corrado, who used to frequent the Belmar, N.J., franchise with his buddies during the summer. “Even as I got older, whenever I was in the area, I always had to make a stop.”
It wasn’t long before the dream started to become a reality. Corrado met Tim Cochrane at their sons’ school. Cochrane, also a former floor broker on the New York Stock Exchange, was interested in partnering with Corrado, but as a Brooklynite, couldn’t imagine anything better than Nathan’s.
“We took a ride down the shore and stopped at three different WindMills,” says Corrado. “We sampled all the food—hot dogs, cheese fries, burgers—and he was in.”
And Corrado has never regretted his move. “I still like to get up early, and it’s still a hectic day,” he says. “It went from a five-to-seven-hour Wall Street day to a 12-to-14-16-hour retail restaurant day, but I’m enjoying it and having fun.”
Around the corner from the new WindMill, which is at 79 Hudson St., is Re-Juice-A-Nation, which has been serving up fresh and healthy juices, smoothies, salads, and soups in Hoboken for the last 12 years. The new owner, Arnie Fuchs, a former member of the New York Board of Trade who knew Corrado from the trading floor, bought the shop in March 2011.
Fuchs was introduced by a friend to the previous owner of Re-Juice-A-Nation. “I’ve always been into food,” Fuchs says. “I worked in a few restaurants, and I was a partner in a restaurant in the ’90s. My friend said, ‘this is right up your alley,’ and I bought the place.”
Fuchs, a Manhattanite who commutes to Hoboken each day to manage the store, is a foodie at heart. His love for Hale & Hearty soups, which he offers on the menu at Re-Juice-A-Nation, started when the chain opened in the former World Trade Center complex. Fuchs is also a big fan of the chain’s smoothies, including the popular Strawberry Fields made with apple juice, strawberries, bananas, and frozen yogurt.
When Corrado has a few minutes off, he likes to enjoy a nice breakfast with Dave Rousso and Jack Murphy, two of his oldest friends, former members of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and new owners of the Hotel Victor Bar and Grill next door to the WindMill.
The Hotel Victor Bar & Grill, which opened in 1916, catered mainly to German ship workers. When Murphy and Rousso bought the restaurant, it was called Hobson’s Choice, but the original Hotel Victor Bar & Grill sign from 1935 still hung proudly at the corner of Hudson Place and Hudson Street. When they reopened the establishment in April 2012, they kept it there.
They love the restaurant’s locale. “I thought it was a great spot—right across the street from the PATH train,” Rousso says. “It’s very convenient. There are more people in this town than you can imagine.”
Rousso, who has lived in Hoboken 28 years, says, “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We pride ourselves on our food—we have great gourmet bar food.”
Says Corrado: “We used to meet at the cafeterias at the Exchange. Now we all meet and have breakfast on Hudson Street before our day begins and watch the Wall Street crowd go by.”—07030