When they opened, I gave them a year. By my estimates, they lasted almost five. My prediction was made not out of spite, but considering what type of food would actually be successful in this area. Actually, I was quite excited when Inkanto Latin American Fusion (leaning Peruvian) arrived in Hazlet. It was a touch of culture arriving to this vanilla town whose culinary apex is a TGI Friday’s. I don’t know when exactly they closed. Their last Instagram post was mid-January, and I thought I remembered seeing cars in the parking lot a few weeks ago. Passing by yesterday, however, revealed a restaurant shut down with “For Sale/Lease” signs plastered out front. This location has been a tricky one over the years. It has ranged from an ice cream shop to a liquor store. Perhaps Peruvian food was too much to ask.
This was one of those places that I always wanted to try but just never got around to. I live a mere five minutes away. Their food pictures and videos on social media revealed some delicious-looking dishes prepared in a passionate kitchen. They had daily lunch specials (which soon became $5 lunches—a mark of business decline for a BYOB that cannot sell you on liquor to go with the cheap food, in my opinion) and special deals for two on weeknights which included an appetizer, two entrees, and dessert. They even had a feature where if you brought your own wine, they would transform it into sangria with fruits and juices for you for a nominal fee. The second death knell was a sign out front about two years ago reading “We Now Deliver”—this was before various apps like DoorDash had become commonplace.
I imagine such food would have gone over much better in other locales such as Edison or East Brunswick. But here, it is clear that no one was interested. Aside from chains, pizzerias, and Chinese takeout, the only restaurant to last has been Yesterday’s, and that is far from cuisine. I feel bad for the owners of Inkanto. By all accounts, they did everything right except choose a location. I wish them luck in their next endeavor.