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New Jersey Family's 2nd Annual Ultimate Bucket List: Good Eats



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Top Seafood Spot

PHOTO COURTESY OF The Lobster House
 

The Lobster House 

Sail to Fisherman’s Wharf in Cape May for scenic waterfront views, fresh seafood and dockside dining. Dig into lobster, oysters and clams at the raw bar or climb aboard the Schooner American, a 130-foot boat that doubles as an outdoor cocktail lounge, perfect for savoring good food and drink right on the ocean.

 

Best Pizza

Staff Photo
 

Star Tavern World Famous Pizzeria 

Our readers continue to pick this Orange institution as one of the best places to eat in NJ, and with good reason. The tavern might look like a typical bar and grill, but it’s home to thin crust pizza that took the kitchen 65 years to master.

 

Favorite Deli

staff photo
 

Editor's Pick: Cosmo's Italian Salumeria

201-342-8076 

Jerseyans are serious about their Italian delis. But if a shop’s owners have a Parm Off championship trophy under their belt, it’s probably the real deal. From homemade mozzarella and imported meats to fresh bread and a no-frills menu, this Hackensack spot is as authentic as it gets. While many say both the shop’s chicken parm and Italian hero are the best around, it’s tough to beat Cosmo’s #2: prosciutto, mutz, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic (say yes to house-made roasted red peppers). If the food alone doesn’t kindle thoughts of your Nonna, they’re sure to come when the owner sends a regular home with spaghetti on the house.

 

Must-Try Food Truck

STAFF PHOTO
 

Empanada Guy

The self-taught Empanada Guy has had a huge presence on the Jersey food truck scene since 2012. With five trucks and three brick-and-mortar shops, it’s easier than ever to get your fix. The beef number is simple but flawless: ground beef, olive oil, sofrito and an herb and spice mix. But less conventional options, like mojo-marinated pulled pork, Mexican chorizo or lobster with creamy bisque sauce, are just as tasty.

 

Sweetest Pancakes

photo courtesy of kay lee
 

Brownstone Pancake Factory

This Edgewater breakfast haven has morning classics like eggs benedict, waffles and giant omelets, plus mod concoctions like quinoa carnitas bowls, croissant French toast and colossal stuffed pancake wraps. Fluffy buttermilks get gussied up in every way imaginable with toppings like peanut butter drizzle, house-made blueberry compote and sweet cinnamon apples. Don’t skip dessert (granted, just about everything on the menu is dessert): The kids will go wild for the deep-fried Nutella French toast sundae.

 

Best Bagels

Staff photo
 

Editor's Pick: The Bagel Nook 

This Freehold mainstay has more than your average schmears. The family-owned shop makes over-the-top cream cheeses (think cookie dough, bacon ranch, cannoli and jalapeño cheddar) and Crazy Bagels (from Flaming Hot Cheeto to Cocoa Puff). The Oreo Overload is arguably the most popular indulgence: Oreo cream cheese and whole cookies on a vanilla chocolate swirl bagel. Be sure to snap pics; a Bagel Nook breakfast is always Instaworthy, hence the shop’s 60K+ followers.

 

More Good Eats Winners

Diner: Tops Diner, East Newark

Ice Cream: Applegate Farm, Montclair

BurgerFive Guys, multiple locations; Zinburger multiple locations (tie)

Donut ShopDuck Donuts, multiple locations

 

Pick a category below to see more winners: 

Outdoor Faves

Me Time 

Fun Stuff

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