Chimney Rock Inn
Known for its thin-crust pizza and juicy burgers, this NJ mainstay also has a huge kids’ menu, including popular options like chicken tacos and turkey burgers. There are plenty of gluten-free choices for kids with sensitivities, too. And don’t forget to read about the heartbreaking love story that gave this spot its name in the late 1800s.
2. Joe’s Crab Shack (Multiple locations)
3. Old Man Rafferty’s (Multiple locations)
4. Jose Tejas (Iselin)
5. Le Peep (Edison)
517 Lake Ave., Asbury Park; 732-988-0123
The name of this downtown Asbury Park staple says it all. With beautiful views, outdoor porch dining, a menu filled with fresh, local seafood, juicy steaks and an incredible pasta selection, this spot is a must. Sip a killer cocktail from the huge drink menu before you head upstairs for dinner. FYI: They don’t take reservations for two, but there’s waitress service and the option to order appetizers, so you won’t even remember you’re waiting for a table.
Federici’s Family Restaurant
14 E. Main St., Freehold; 732-462-1312
This family-owned establishment has been serving up classic Italian cuisine since 1921. It originally specialized in cheese lasagna (Ester “Mom” Federici’s recipe is still used today!). To add to to the family history, Federici’s award-winning thin-crust pizza was later perfected by sons Dante and Frank “Spat.” It also was reportedly a favorite of Bruce Springsteen’s growing up. Pro tip: Credit cards are not accepted so hit the ATM before you go.
380 Rte. 22, Whitehouse Station; 908-534-4401
Don’t think twice about the super long line—the homemade ice cream goodness here is scooped at lightning speed. Try soft serve dipped in a chocolate or peanut butter shell, a crowd favorite and reasonably priced to boot. Hard flavors are in constant rotation, so you never have to get the same thing twice. Pro tip: It’s cash only, so stop at the ATM before you go!
2. Jersey Freeze (Freehold)
3. The Bent Spoon (Princeton)
4. Halo Pub (Princeton)
5. Hoffman’s Ice Cream (Multiple locations)
EDITOR’S NOTE: In our reader survey, we defined the sections of New Jersey as follows: North (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Union, Sussex, Warren); Central (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset); South (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem).