photo courtesy Amish Market at Mullica Hill
108 Swedesboro Rd., Mullica Hill
No need to go to Lancaster, PA to get your Amish fix. Try pretzel logs at Dutch Twist Soft Pretzel and Ice Cream, or old school meals like baked oatmeal, shoofly pie and chicken pot pie at Mullica Hill Amish Restaurant. Shop vino from Balić Winery and Vineyards (based in Mays Landing), 40 flavors of donuts and fritters at Beiler’s Donut and Coffee Shop, the butchery at Dutch Family Fresh Meats and all things dairy (including Amish roll butter) at Ellie’s Cheese Barn.
photo courtesy Buffalo’s Chicken
261 Hackensack St., Wood-Ridge
Authentic Southern food can be hard to come by in the Northeast, which makes this Bergen County spot a standout. The super-casual Buffalo’s boasts what many call the best wings in NJ, plus made-to-order fried chicken and micro-batch sauces. They’re also famous for tender dry-rubbed ribs and real-deal sides like baked mac and cheese, fluffy cornbread and mashed potatoes with gravy. Head there Wednesdays for 70-cent bone-in wings (you truly haven’t lived until trying the honey wings).
photo courtesy tiff’s burger and alehouse
1637 Vauxhall Rd., Union
The new-and-improved Tiff’s in Union has 24 draft beers, live shows and a BBQ menu. The baby back ribs are a highlight, but burgers steal the show with choices like the Juicy Lucy, stuffed with Vermont cheddar, or the Peanut Butter and Bacon. Kids eat free on Tuesday and Sunday nights.
photo courtesy shore fresh seafood market
57 Channel Dr., Point Pleasant
This Point Pleasant staple reels in a crowd that rivals that of The Shrimp Box nearby (but it goes easier on your wallet). With a market/sit-down hybrid by the beach and a market-only locale in town, Shore Fresh is a go-to for dining and groceries alike. It’s famous for crab cakes, shellfish and catered lobster bakes, but our top choice is the epic lobster mac and cheese, served with a hearty helping of breadcrumbs and lemon in a giant skillet.
photo courtesy valley shepherd creamery
50 Fairmount Rd., Long Valley
This 120-acre property makes 25 cheeses from more than 650 sheep, goats and cows. Go to events like cheesemaking classes, wine dinners and sheep shearing demos. Peruse gelato, butter, lamb skins and more at the farm’s Sheep Shoppe.
photo courtesy giovanni’s salumeria
666 Broadway, Bayonne
Jersey eaters are serious about their Italian food, so you’d better believe this Hudson County shop fiercely defends its claim (and the NJ Star-Ledger’s) of having the best fresh mozzarella in the state. Giovanni stretches and molds the mutz himself. Their deli offerings speak for themselves, including imported capicola and prosciutto, home-style rice balls and fresh chicken saltimbocca. We also recommend the marinated artichokes and zucchini fritters. Looking to cater? Customize your own antipasto platter.