Carissa Abraham works for the radio and media company Entercom. She manages their national cash contesting, out-of-home marketing, and works on their company-wide initiatives. She also plays a key role in partnership fulfillment at large scale events such as The Grammys, and overall serves as a resource for their 235 stations nationwide. She grew up in Union, New Jersey, and today she shared her Local Love with HipNewJersey.com!
What is your favorite local restaurant?
New Jersey definitely has the best Italian restaurants in the country. My absolute favorite doubles down as an antique shop! Di Palma Brothers in North Bergen is a classic family-style restaurant. I often forget that I’m out to eat when I’m there because the atmosphere is so homely (seriously, it’s like I’m in someone’s living room). The menu is small, but their food is made-to-order and the flavors are to die for. The owner Raffaele always creates traditional dishes that you’d find in Italy, but not in the states. Zucchini flowers, roasted pears with ricotta, butter cake with honey, figs, and walnuts… the list goes on. You’ll NEVER have a bad meal there, and it’s BYOB!
What is your favorite local boutique?
DiLaRu Boutique in Nutley. Their First Love Plum Tye Dye Hoodie is my fave! They have a variety of handbags, jewelry, pouches, and clothing to choose from. They’re also making double, washable and adjustable face masks for sale for curbside pickup now. Can’t wait until they open again!
What is your favorite salon or spa?
I don’t have a favorite salon or spa, but I want to highlight my esthetician Iysha Wedderburn of Sparkle N Shine Skincare. She is licensed in New Jersey, New York, and Arizona. She used to be one of the top estheticians for Ulta Beauty until she decided to open her own business. She is the reason I began my skincare journey and was the one who recognized my passion for it and encouraged me to further my education in it. She specializes in corrective skincare, custom facials, full body waxing, teeth whitening, and more. She takes her time to learn and understand your skin, then provides the right treatments and product recommendations for it. Unfortunately for us in Jersey, she just moved back to Arizona to further her skincare training, but I am hopeful she will be back soon!
Where is your favorite local daytime hangout?
I love The Juice House in Garwood. First of all, they have the best fresh juices and protein shake combinations I’ve ever had. My favorite juice is their Make it Klap (kale, lemon, green apple, pineapple) and the Ellie protein shake (vanilla whey protein, vanilla almond milk, spinach, b-pollen, peanut butter, and banana). The atmosphere is so relaxing, especially after a long workout. Their tables are covered in motivational and funny quotes and stickers. It’s a cool place to relax and catch up with your friends while enjoying the best #BadAndJuicy drinks around.
What is your favorite nighttime hangout?
There are so many places to choose from, but I have to show love to Union’s Van Gogh’s Ear Cafe. They are known for their Starry Night wall. They’re open late for food, dessert, specialty coffees, teas, and other delicious (non-alcoholic) beverages. You can sit at a table or on their comfy couches and play different board and card games. I also LOVE Jersey City’s Surf City on Marin Blvd and Zeppelin Hall’s Biergarten. Surf City overlooks the marina and is perfect on a breezy summer night. They have fire pits and a man-made beach. Zeppelin Hall is also great for big groups. Their outside area reminds me of a backyard with picnic benches and games.
What is your favorite “Made in Jersey” product?
I’m sure you’ve read this a million times, but are you even from Jersey if you’ve never had salt water taffy? I love Berkeley’s in Seaside Heights. I actually don’t like candy, but I’ll never say no to a piece of Berkeley’s vanilla salt water taffy!
What is your favorite New Jersey downtown district?
I spend a lot of time in downtown Jersey City between Paulus Hook, Exchange Place, Grove Street, Hamilton Park, and Newport. There is so much to do between their weekend festivals, shops, restaurants, cool nightspots like Porta and Barcade, and the Newport Mall. I love walking along the waterfront at night time. There is every type of restaurant you could think of in Jersey City. Cookies N’ Crepes on Newark Ave is the best for a late-night treat – they’re open until 2 AM on the weekends and 11 PM during the week!
What is your favorite New Jersey-based service business?
My friend and personal trainer Tracey Hughes PT! I’ve known Tracey for years. She’s a personal trainer at Retro Fitness in Kenilworth, but she also trains outside of the gym. She can travel to your home, do video workouts on Zoom, FaceTime, What’s App, Amazon Alexa, or she’ll even meet you at your local park for an outdoor workout. What I love about her training technique is that she listens to what your goals and concerns are and tailors workouts specific to your body’s needs and type, and she is so unique in exercise choices. If you have an injury, she knows the exact exercise that won’t flare it up but is still effective in strengthening the muscles. Her HIIT workouts are my absolute favorite because they can be done from home. Since gyms are closed, she’s teaching some of her classes on Zoom and posting daily workouts with videos that anyone can do at home!
How has COVID-19 affected your business?
Our priority in radio has always been to inform, entertain and be there for you, but now more than ever we are working around the clock to keep our audiences informed with facts, not opinions, and continue to be your one reliable and constant source amidst so much uncertainty. You can listen to all of our stations and podcasts on the RADIO.COM app.
While COVID-19 has created so much more opportunity for us (around-the-clock news podcasts, RADIO.COM hourly news updates, specials, and other initiatives focused on COVID-19 and #StayConnected), it has also taken away opportunities like contesting, live events, and sports. The media industry is also experiencing rounds of layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, pay cuts, etc.
One of Entercom’s company-wide initiatives is called I’m Listening. We host an annual show in September during National Suicide Prevention Week. We’re joined with professional athletes, musicians, actors, and healthcare professionals to help end the stigma of talking about mental health. During COVID-19, we launched I’m Listening: Stay Connected hosted by Loveline’s Dr. Chris Donaghue. Every night at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT he is joined by various professionals (talk show hosts, healthcare workers, etc.) to discuss the importance of maintaining your mental health at this time. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram.
For all things Garden State, keep checking out HipNewJersey.com!