JC mourns loss of La Concha Restaurant owner

Bertha D. Torres, owner of La Concha Restaurant, is seen here with JC Mayor Steven Fulop, Bill Gaughan, and Councilman Michael Yun.
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Bertha D. Torres, owner of La Concha Restaurant, is seen here with JC Mayor Steven Fulop, Bill Gaughan, and Councilman Michael Yun.

Bertha D. Torres, 64, a proud resident of Jersey City and beloved owner of La Concha Restaurant on Central Avenue, died on Tuesday, April 16. She owned and operated the restaurant for nearly 30 years and was an icon in the community.

“Central Avenue will not be the same without Bertha,” said Sanford Fishman, CASID President and pharmacist at Bond Drugs. “She was a successful entrepreneur, and we were lucky to have her as a member of our main street community for well over two decades. Not only was she a go-getter, people loved her and her food. On behalf of the Central Avenue SID, we send our sincere condolences to her family, friends, and all who share in the loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Born in the Dominican Republic, Bertha began her 30-year career as a restaurateur in Hoboken and moved to the current location on Central Avenue around 1995. The business was established in 1957 and had two previous owners. Bertha ran the family-style restaurant with the help of her three adult children, Gilfredo O. Dejardens, Nathalia B. Dejardens and Rogelio E. Dejardens.

“Bertha’s love of cooking and the people she served motivated her to work hard every day,” said Nathalia. “She was always very grateful for the blessings in her life and gave back to the community every chance she had.  Whether it was patrons in need of a meal or a poor family in another country, Bertha would give of herself to help those in need.”

Bertha was known to greet customers with a big smile and an “Hola!” Nothing made her happier than serving what was quite possibly the best homemade Spanish food. She was known for her roast pork, beef stew, and beans.

Hundreds of local residents and longtime customers took to social media this past week to share fond memories and the impact Bertha had on their lives. “She was the best person and always made me feel so welcomed,” said Marisol Cruz Artega in a Facebook post. “She always remembered me and my family no matter how long we hadn’t seen each other! My heart is heavy knowing that I’ll never see her smiling face!”

Bertha’s legacy will live on through her three children who have announced that they will honor their mother’s memory by continuing to run the family business. La Concha Restaurant will reopen soon and will continue to serve Jersey City for years to come.

There will be a viewing for Bertha on Monday, April 22, 3 to 9 p.m. at the Riotto Funeral Home & Cremation Company, 3205 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in Jersey City. The funeral will begin on Tuesday, April 23 at 9 a.m. at the funeral home. The Funeral Mass will follow at 10 a.m. at St. Paul of the Cross Church, 156 Hancock Ave. in Jersey City.  Entombment will follow at Holy Name Cemetery and Mausoleum, 823 West Side Ave., in Jersey City.

For updates on this and other stories check hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Al Sullivan can be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com