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Byline: Lewis Krauskopf
Jan. 21--The weekend after Sept. 11, Mindy Rosenberg canceled dinner reservations at The Tonic Restaurant and Bar in New York City because she and her friends did not have the heart to dine at the Chelsea destination.
Since then, Rosenberg, of Old Tappan, has taken fewer than usual dinner trips into Manhattan. Instead, she has patronized local establishments, such as the South City Grill in Rochelle Park, where she ate last week.
"The world has changed," Rosenberg says. "It's sometimes less complicated to stay out here."
The attacks of Sept. 11 staggered the $400 billion restaurant industry, which in some areas has yet to fully recover. A month after the attacks, most fine-dining restaurants across the country reported declines in business; in Manhattan, losses of up to 30 percent on average continued through the end of October.
As the New Year began, some North Jersey establishments began drawing some business from New York. Whether it's hesitancy about heading into the Big Apple, avoiding the inconvenience of traveling in lower Manhattan, or a desire to gather closer to home, anecdotal reports show that New Jersey diners have chosen to eat nearby over the past few months.
"I think people have been dining out more in North Jersey, and people have been shying away from Manhattan," says Marty Horn, …