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Medical Condition Propels Ridgewood Restaurateur To Offer Healthy Selection

Head Chef Edwin Araya plates a crab tower at The Sensible Fork in Ridgewood. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
George Hauck owns The Sensible Fork on Oak Avenue in Ridgewood. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Sensible Fork Head Chef Edwin Araya of Hawthorne. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Sensible Fork owner George Hauck. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Araya puts the finishing touches on butternut squash soup. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — What began as a healthy meal plan in response to a 2011 diagnosis of type II diabetes for Ramsey native George Hauck has become the menu for his new Ridgewood restaurant, The Sensible Fork.

Eating a doughnut a day while operating a Dunkin Donuts franchise put him on the fast-track to developing an autoimmune disorder.

He had no qualms adopting a healthier lifestyle but quickly became exasperated by the lack of “safe” options when he went out to eat.

The Sensible Fork — which opened on Oak Avenue this past December — is changing that for Ridgewood diners, Hauck said.

“My want is first and foremost to help folks like myself,” said Hauck, who was encouraged by friends to open a restaurant close to The Valley Hospital.

“I’ve seen a lot of people affected by this disease and they don’t know why,” he said. “When my doctor told me that I couldn’t eat pasta, I had to take it a step further and found out why — and the next step was celiac disease.”

Knowing almost nothing about food and the impact it has on the human body, Hauck, of Colts Neck, immediately cut out gluten — a naturally-occurring binding agent and byproduct of wheat — from his diet entirely.

He lost 52 pounds in three and a half months.

There is no gluten in any dish on The Sensible Fork’s menu — everything is made from scratch by head chef Edwin Araya.

“Gluten is poison to someone with celiac,” said Hauck, who uses coconut-based products, molasses and other natural flavors to enhance the food. “We cheat the pallet to attract folks with no specific dietary needs.

“Between my parents having congestive heart [problems], myself having diabetes and my wife having a desire to eat healthier, I developed the concept for what this restaurant became,” the owner said. “It’s a labor of love.”

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