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After Sandy, It's Pizza And Homemade Meatballs For The Lucky In New Jersey

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The produce aisle may not yet be restocked at the Stop & Shop in Toms River, N.J., and other perishables may still be hard to come by. But rest assured, the local pizza joint is hopping.

"We've been busy, very busy," says Marissa Henderson, granddaughter of the proprietor of Geno D's pizzeria in Toms River. It was one of the few restaurants open in the area in the wake of the hurricane that rolled through earlier this week.

"We had lines out the door, we had people sitting in, all of that," Henderson told us. Even though she was running low on flour, she and her crew managed to serve up more than 500 pies after they fired up their ovens on Wednesday, their first day back in business since Hurricane Sandy hit the state hard, causing widespread flooding and power outages.

John Germann and his family were among the first post-Sandy customers. "We still have plenty of food in the house," he tells us. But they were all feeling a bit antsy at home. "It was nice to have a sense of normalcy," he says — a taste of comfort.

Elsewhere in Toms River, stores were opening their doors again, even if shelves were not fully stocked.

"We're open for business, but we're not selling any perishable items yet," says Mike Mezle of the local Stop & Shop grocery store.

Mezle says it's been slow-going getting suppliers to deliver produce, meats and cheeses. "We're expecting deliveries today or early tomorrow morning."

Down the road about 20 minutes or so in Ocean Grove, N.J., Germann's parents, who are retired, are managing well in Sandy's wake.

"We're eating well. I wouldn't call it gluttony, but we're surviving well," George Germann says.

With their generator to keep the fridge going, as of yesterday, they had not yet needed to venture out to grocery stores.

Instead they pooled the food they had and were sharing with neighbors. He described how a couple a few blocks away spent the night with them the night of the storm.

"They were very appreciative," he says. And the bonus was that their neighbors brought over spaghetti and homemade meatballs. "It was to die for!"

The closest grocery store to Ocean Grove that was fully stocked, according to some of George Germann's neighbors, is Wegmans. "There can never be enough bottled water, milk, eggs and batteries in a situation like this," says Jo Natale, director of media relations for Wegmans.

Natale says that throughout the storm, thanks to their generators, Wegmans was able to keep all 81 of its stores open. She says advance planning, beginning one week before Sandy was predicted to hit the East Coast, was essential. They lined up extra deliveries and worked with their drivers and suppliers to prepare.

"It's not luck — it takes a lot of planning."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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