Food Fella: Applegate takes ‘Oath,’ teams up with pizza chain

Applegate, the standalone subsidiary of Hormel Foods based in Bridgewater that produces natural and organic meats, will now be the exclusive featured meat toppings of Oath Pizza. 

Oath Pizza is a chain founded in 2015 in Nantucket, Massachusetts, that is known for quality ingredients and one-of-a-kind, quick-cooked crust. The lighter, personal craft pizza is topped with thoughtfully sourced ingredients that have risen in popularity. It also caters to a wide range of dietary preferences and sensitivities by offering vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options. 

Oath serves pizza to over 50 communities across the country in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C., although there are currently no locations in New Jersey. 

Oath Pizza will be the first national pizza restaurant to convert all its meats to Applegate meats. The transition will feature Applegate pepperoni, Italian sausage, roasted chicken, bacon and pulled pork.

“Our partnership with Applegate is a natural fit, and we couldn’t be more excited to feature their products on our menus,” said Drew Kellogg, CEO and president of Oath Pizza. “At Oath, we hold each and every ingredient to the highest standard, and we know Applegate shares that same value.”

Applegate has been making high-quality foods well before its marriage to Hormel, using nothing artificial and meat sourced from farms that meet Applegate Humanely Raised standards. With those standards, it requires that animals are raised with care and respect, never administered antibiotics or growth promotants, and fed a vegetarian or pasture-centered diet. The products are clean and produced without GMO ingredients.

“For more than 30 years, we’ve been relentless in creating change within the meat industry and driving the Applegate mission — Changing the Meat We Eat — forward,” said John Ghingo, president of Applegate. “Our partnership with Oath Pizza is an exciting one, because we share a common goal of providing consumers great-tasting food that is responsibly and thoughtfully sourced, and because it provides the opportunity to bring that elevated meat experience to consumers beyond traditional retail channels.”

Congratulations to the fine folks at Applegate, whose product line has grown to serve everyone from independents to national retail chains, and now into foodservice with this expansion.

Conversation Starters

For more information about Applegate foodservice products, visit:

For more information about Oath Pizza, visit:, or @oathpizza on Instagram.

Paying tribute to Dominick V. Romano of RoNetco

Sad news out of the RoNetco Supermarkets camp, hearing that veteran supermarket owner Dominick V. Romano, RoNetco’s chairman and CEO, passed away on Nov. 17. He was 85 years old.

Romano was the second generation of the family business started by his parents. The business, which began 92 years ago, now operates eight ShopRite Supermarkets in Morris, Sussex and Warren counties and employs almost 2,000 associates. His sons, Dominick J. Romano and David P. Romano, are now serving in leadership roles with the company.

Courtesy photo

“We are fortunate that Dominick was able to be with us just last month to cut the ribbon on our newest store, the ShopRite of Sparta,” Dominick J. Romano, vice president and chief operating officer, said. “As CEO and chairman of the board of RoNetco Supermarkets, he was the patriarch and driving force behind a family business that was started by his parents in 1927 and grew over the years to include eight ShopRite supermarkets employing more than 1,900 associates. Dominick loved his family, his ShopRite family and the neighborhoods where our stores operate and where he supported many local charitable and civic organizations. His legacy of giving back to the communities that have supported our stores will continue as we look toward the future.”

In his many years as a food retailing industry pro, Dominick V. Romano served many roles in addition to leading his own RoNetco ShopRite stores, which are members of Wakefern Food Corp., the retailer-owned cooperative located in New Jersey. Romano was a member of the Wakefern board from 1970 to 2007, serving as vice chairman from 1971 through 1985 and as treasurer from 1985 to 2005, and was also past chairman of Readington Farms Dairy in Whitehouse, which supplies ShopRite-brand fluid fresh milk products to ShopRite Supermarkets. As an important member of the Wakefern/ShopRite co-op, he was influential in establishing the ShopRite Partners in Caring Program that helps feed the hungry in our communities.

“Dominick was a beloved member of the Wakefern family whose own family has a long, proud history in the grocery business in New Jersey. A gentleman who was always learning about the industry and teaching and mentoring others, he lived every minute of his life to full capacity,” said Wakefern President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Sheridan. “Over the years, Dominick played an integral role not only in the growth of his own family business, which today operates eight ShopRite stores in Morris, Sussex and Warren counties, but also in the growth of Wakefern. During his nearly 40-year tenure on Wakefern’s board, Dominick helped lead and expand the company into the largest retailer-owned supermarket cooperative in the U.S.”

Being a generous supporter of Centenary University dating back to 1961, he served as co-chairman of the university’s capital campaign from 1996 to 2001, during which time he helped raise $15.3 million. He also established numerous scholarships that have benefited many young students in pursuit of their educational goals, one sponsored by Centenary with his namesake, the Dominick V. Romano Volunteer Award. 

We featured a spot in the Food Fella column back in our July 15 print issue of ROI-NJ announcing the winners of the 2019 RoNetco scholarship awards. 

Not only leaving behind his loved ones, he leaves a legacy of giving back to the community through the education scholarships and so many other charitable ways, as well as the indelible mark he’s left on the food industry here in New Jersey. Rest in peace, Dominick V. Romano, and thank you for your generosity to the community.

Garden State Kitchen serves up training

Here is a great opportunity to get on track for 2020 by checking out The Formula at Garden State Kitchen and learning from industry experts how to take your culinary business to the next level. 

Alexandra Pais
Kris Ohleth of the Garden State Kitchen in Orange.

Built by and for entrepreneurs, The Formula is a six-week program for startup food businesses looking to grow. Each week, business founders/owners, financial advisers, food scientists, coaches, chefs and hospitality consultants bring real-life experience to lead interactive workshops. 

You can sign up for as many or as few individual sessions as you’d like, or sign up for all six and truly commit to yourself and your business in the new year. Classes will run on Saturday mornings starting Feb. 22, and are taught on site at Garden State Kitchen, New Jersey’s newest shared commercial kitchen space.

The Formula at Garden State Kitchen will show you how to:

  • Scale up in a commercial kitchen;
  • Move from concept to commercial packaging;
  • Follow food trends and define your competition;
  • Understand the basics of social media marketing;
  • Connect with customers at retail and wholesale;
  • Set budget, access capital, turn a profit … and more.

If you’re serious about growing your food business, don’t wait, as these classes will fill up quickly! Wishing Kris Ohleth and the Garden State Kitchen team much success training a new crop of food entrepreneurs!

For more information, or to sign up, check out, or contact Kris at or 201-850-3690.