Hoboken is and was the home of many heroes and legends, all the way from Frank Sinatra, Buddy Valastro, Anna Quindlen, Natalie Morales, and the list can go on. With that being said, local resident and restaurant owner Juliet Mendoza is being celebrated this week as National Nurse’s Week is in full effect throughout the whole country, since the annual celebration runs from May 6 to May 12.
Currently, Mendoza owns Amanda’s Restaurant (908 Washington St) with her husband Juan and is a woman worth watching because she also happens to be a part-time nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Hackensack University Medical Center. She was born and raised in the Mile Square and attended Lehigh University as well as the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions where she pursued her Masters in Nursing with a specialization in Pediatrics.
After graduating with her Masters, Mendoza worked for the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston in the Maternal- Child Health division for about two years and also met her husband Juan, who opened a restaurant in Boston’s North End called Monica’s with his three brothers. She then moved back to the Mile Square in order to be close to her family.
“When I returned to New Jersey, I started working in the NICU at Hackensack University Medical Center,” she said. “I never left and am now in my 20th year in the NICU.”
Her move back to the Mile Square had marriage in the books as Juan moved to Hoboken to marry Mendoza at Our Lady of Grace Church in 2002. Juan then started working for Joyce and Eugene Flinn, who currently own The Elysian Cafe and Schnackenberg’s Luncheonette as they also owned Amanda’s Restaurant. He started working at the Elysian Cafe as a waiter, then bartender, and ultimately as a manager at Amanda’s Restaurant.
Fast forward to 2016 and the Flinn’s were ready to sell Amanda’s Restaurant after owning the eatery for 20 years. The Flinn’s resulted in selling the restaurant to the Mendoza’s.
“It was a dream come true for my husband,” said Mendoza. “We both felt it was an opportunity we could not pass up.”
Although Mendoza works two 12 hour shifts per week in the NICU, the majority of her time is spent at Amanda’s Restaurant where she helps with paying the bills, doing payroll, answering the phone, and greeting guests.
“Yes, I am a busy woman working two jobs, but I am doing two things that I love – working in the NICU and spending time with my husband and daughter in our new family business,” said Mendoza. “I don’t have much downtime, but I enjoy keeping busy. As a nurse, you can work per diem, part-time or full time – so this flexibility makes it possible to pursue other interests.”
When visiting Amanda’s Restaurant nowadays, you’ll spot Mendoza’s 12-year-old daughter Mia at the restaurant after school hours.
“On weekdays, we try to eat together at the restaurant, so you may see us sitting together at the table near the entrance,” she said.
As a woman juggling a nursing career, restaurant ownership, and motherhood, Mendoza is indeed admirable and should be celebrated every single day for her hard work and the impeccable example she is giving off to the community.