1 Rte. 15, Augusta; 973-300-2300
Travel back to the days of sock hops and doo-wop at this retro drive-in diner, where kids’ meals are served in vintage replicas of cars made out of cardboard (just try to keep your crew from taking them home!). Plus, this family-owned spot is a classic car-lover’s heaven. Collectors show off their vintage vehicles in the parking lot on weekends while a DJ cranks classic tunes. And the menu is packed with good, old-fashioned diner faves like burgers, dogs, ice cream sodas and milkshakes!
Star Tavern World Famous Pizzeria
400 High St., Orange; 973-675-3336
A pizza joint that’s so much more than a hole-in-the-wall, Star Tavern has mastered the art of sophisticated thin-crust pizza in a laid-back setting. Huge and crispy, the pies here draw crowds from miles away. Bonus: They’ve got an awesome jukebox, so make sure to load the kids up with quarters.
428 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair; 973-746-1100
This hopping spot is a local favorite for good reason: its outdoor dining area in the center of the restaurant makes you feel like you’ve stepped out of the suburbs and into a tropical paradise. It’s BYOB, but you’ll want to pair the restaurant’s amazing Sangria mixes with your favorite wine. There’s usually a wait on a nice night so plan to get there early.
34A Broadway, Denville; 973-627-4214
This Morris County fave—in business for more than 50 years— dishes out soft serve, sherbet and Italian ices, but is best known for its endless flavors of homemade hard ice cream that change with the seasons. (Plus, you won’t want to miss watermelon sherbet in the summer, either). The cakes here are not to be missed, especially the seasonal pumpkin and candy cane varieties.
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).