STATEN ISLAND, NY – After four years in transition from a former home in Travis, still the Number One question for the Advance / food editor: “When is Asian Foods opening in Mariners Harbor?”

That wonderment comes from Thailand natives, those with roots in various Asian countries and the Indian subcontinent, Caribbean cooks, pro chefs and others looking to source authentic international ingredients.

Walking into Asian Foods, one is greeted by the bakery and prepared foods department. (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

To satisfy the cross-cultural curiosity of those awaiting the Mariners Harbor market’s opening, owner Jonathan Chan said, “We will try to complete everything by the end of this month. Once we are clear then we will open in four weeks. ” Whether or not there will be a traditional lion dance to commemorate the store’s opening, that will be determined closer to the inaugural day, said Chen.

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

An aisle leading to the frozen department (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

For now, the Roman Plaza in which the store makes its one-day-in-coming new home, other stores and restaurants are ready to make their debut. Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen is hiring for its drive-thru and sit-down format. Burger King’s pickup window is in place and it awaits the furniture to populate its dining room.

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

Burger King with a sense of humor (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

A fun thing for fans of the Whopper experience: this franchise location offers a bit of humor with a bar that measures the height of a vehicle. It notes, “The easiest game of limbo ever. Clearance 9′0 ″. “

Next door to the colloquially named “BK Lounge” will be a Taco Bell. Landlord Stuart Waldman says Chinese BBQ, hibachi and sushi are genres of other food vendors for the shopping complex at 2343 Forest Avenue.

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

What Burger King will look like at the Roman Plaza (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

Signs for other stores are up including those on a Family Discount and Home Goods Crafts and Party Furniture. New pharmacy MB & T is one of the immediate neighbors of Asian Foods.

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

The shopping complex has four entrances and exits. (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)


The 86,250-square foot tract of land known as Roman Plaza between Northfield and South Avenues faces Forest Avenue with access from each street. There are four entrances and exits, including two from South Avenue, and a main entrance from Forest Avenue. A traffic light is planned for Northfield and Forest and there will be a turning lane into the center from Forest.

Waldman anticipates high volume to the center based on its food anchors and small businesses. Sub Consequently, he’s planned for what he calls “the best egress on Staten Island.”

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

The billboard of new businesses coming to Roman Plaza (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

The plaza itself is named for the late Roman Blum, a Holocaust survivor and real estate developer who had no heirs. The estate was valued at $ 40 million. The Annadale resident died at 97 in 2012. Land ultimately was distributed through the public administrator’s office.

Waldman has garnered much praise for keeping the strip mall’s name in Blum’s honor. In fact, Teresa Musial from Poland wrote to express her praise for Waldman in his moniker selection, calling it “a very nice and honest gesture.”

As for the opening of the restaurants and storefronts, Waldman says his biggest development project to date.

Pamela Silvestri is Advance Food Editor. She can be reached at

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

The pharmacy coming as a neighbor to Asian Foods (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

Asian Foods and Gerardi’s (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

The seafood departmetn readies to open (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

Banks of freezers are in the midst of dry goods, aisles awaiting an inventory stocking. (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

The dairy section before it’s stocked (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

The produce department at the entrance to Asian Foods (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

Asian Foods and Gerardi's

The tour ends with a stop at the cashier station (Staten Island Advance / Pamela Silvestri)

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