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On 'the Other Side' of Haddon Ave., a Taste of the American Dream

The family behind Towie's Deli and Grocery says their bootstraps story is fueled by respect for their parents' struggles to give them a better life in America.

Take a tour of Towie's, the new deli, coffee shop, and grocery store on Haddon Avenue. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.
Take a tour of Towie's, the new deli, coffee shop, and grocery store on Haddon Avenue. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.
"When our parents moved here, they were trying to give us a better life," said Jessica Sandoval.

Her father, Santos, emigrated from Puebla, Mexico, to the United States in 2001. He has worked in a New Jersey car wash for more than a decade. Her mother, Leticia, has been in the kitchen at Bruno's in Haddon Township, for nearly as long.

And since coming to the United States, the Sandoval siblings—Cynthia, 27; Juan, 24; Monica, 22; and Jessica, 20—have all worked in food service.

But "instead of being employees," said Monica Sandoval, "we wanted to be more progressive."

"We have a dream," she said: "to become something in life, to help our parents. We see the hard work they did for us, and somehow, we wanted to pay it back."

So, together with Cynthia's husband, Martin Morales, the Sandovals parlayed their restaurant experience into the combination coffee shop-deli-grocery in the 300 block of Haddon Avenue.

Its name, Towie's, is an homage to the family store back in Puebla (and it's so old that even the siblings don't know its origins); carried with them to this country like so many other traditions.

Towie's fare is decidedly American, with hoagies, breakfast sandwiches, wraps, and panini reflecting the Sandovals' experience in the South Jersey kitchens where they cut their teeth.

An exception is the Towie's salad, which combines melon, strawberries, dried walnuts, cranberries, and cheese on a bed of spinach. A selection of prepared desserts and specialty coffees rounds out a menu on which no item exceeds $7.95. 

The atmosphere of the building is bright, with a large, street-facing front window complemented by orange and yellow walls. Comfortable seating invites guests to linger and watch a game on the television or do work with the free WiFi connection.

So far, Monica Sandoval said, "business has been good without advertising," and she hopes that word of mouth will help Collingswood residents will find their way a little farther up Haddon Avenue for a taste.

"We want to help our community," Monica Sandoval said. "We want people to feel like family here."

Click the video above to meet the Sandovals and take a peek at Towie's.

Towie's Grocery, Deli and Coffee Shop is located at 325 Haddon Avenue in Collingswood. The shop is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 856-240-1276 to place an order.
Mel Sharples January 03, 2014 at 07:48 AM
Before we left for the holidays we stopped in - VERY nice people who are committed to making good food and creating a welcoming environment. Good hoagie, and we loved the homemade soup. We'll definitely be back! They did a nice job with the front room! A nice place to hang out, work, or meet someone for coffee. GOOD LUCK!!
Elizabeth Torres Chavez January 07, 2014 at 07:21 PM
We stopped in to check it out the food is VERY good! The coffee is not.... it was just not good.... but I hope they work that out. I don't know why I thought they would serve Mexican food... or at least I was hoping for Mexican food I guess... but I suppose its what sells in the area.... definitely recommend it.

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