Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 7/22/15
Although our traffic may be maddening and our taxes may be baffling, New Jerseyans are always relieved to come home after a long journey away for at least one tasty reason – the quality of the foods we can find at eateries right in our neighborhoods.
The Garden State is home to some of the best pizza, pork roll, bagels, fudge, produce and Italian hot dogs around, as any local will gladly argue. When we venture out of our famous state, we’re constantly shocked that others can’t enjoy some of our favorite things, like a pork roll sandwich on a bagel or juicy, Jersey tomatoes.
Luckily, the readers of the Courier News and Home News Tribune are blessed with being in close proximity to some of our best dishes. Check out where to find some of New Jersey’s most famous foods below.
The cheesy classic may not be the most complicated dish that the culinary world can offer, however, extra touches by some of the best pizzerias in Central Jersey can make all the difference, whether you prefer a crispy thin crusted-slice, a thick slice piled with pepperoni or a smoky wood-fired slice. Fortunately for us, we’ve got all of the options right at home in New Jersey.
- Manville Pizza and Restaurant at 31 S Main St., Manville; 908-526-1194
- Stan Chitch’s Cafe at 14 Columbus Pl., Bound Brook; stanschitchspizzeria.com or 732-356-0899
- La Rosa Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant at 335 Lake Ave., Metuchen;larosametuchen.com or 732-549-6505
- Rome Pizza at 334 North Ave., Dunellen; romepizzanj.com or 732-968-1394
- DeLucia’s Brick Oven at 3 First Ave., Raritan; deluciasbrickovenpizza.com or 908-725-1322
Whether you call it Taylor ham or pork roll is negligible once you take a bite into this famous New Jersey salty meat-esque breakfast product stacked up on a breakfast sandwich on a lazy Sunday morning. While other states have to settle for bacon, we’ve got pork roll – the hits-the-spot meat for hungry locals.
- Boulevard Delicatessen at 301 Lincoln Blvd., Middlesex; 732-469-2350
- Lincoln Corner Deli at 407 Lincoln Blvd., Middlesex; thelincolncornerdeli.com or 732-537-9100
- Lebanon Boro General Store at 83 Main St., Lebanon; 908-236-6522
- Corner Cafe and Grill at 1695 Amwell Rd., Somerset; cornercafegrill.com or 732-873-3799
- Kenny’s Corner at 15 Easton Ave., New Brunswick; kennycorner.com or 732-220-1122
Italian hot dogs
A standard hot dog may be nice for a backyard barbecue, but there’s nothing quite like a Jersey Italian hot dog, stuffed on an Italian roll or pizza bread and paired with fried peppers, onions and potatoes. With New Jersey’s famous Italian heritage hiding in all corners of the state, it’s no surprise that N.J. is also home to some of the best Italian hot dogs.
- Charlies Italian Hot Dogs at 2576 US-22, Union; charliesitalianhotdogs.webs.comor 908-624-1212
- Tommy’s Italian Sausage and Hot Dogs at 900 2nd Ave., Elizabeth; 908-351-9831
- Big Blues Italian Style Sub at 11 N Wood Ave., Linden; 908-862-2021
- Jimmy Buff’s, 506 Kenilworth Blvd., Kenilworth; jimmybuffskenilworth.com or 908-276-2833
- Old School Italian Hot Dogs at 1077 Stuyvesant Ave., Irvington; 973-351-5481
New York City may be known as the home to some of the best bagels in the United States, but bagel shops throughout Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Union counties certainly give them a run for their morning pocket change. After our best bagels in the region asker we ran last month, we learned from readers – who sent over 300 responses declaring who makes the best bagels in the area – that Central Jersey is certainly home to some of the finest bagels.
- Dunellen Bagel at 390 North Ave., Dunellen; dunellen-bagel.com or 732-968-9172
- Knot Just Bagels at 10 Main St., Woodbridge; knotjustbagels.com or 732-750-1999
- O’ Bagel at Dewy Meadow Shopping Center, 403 King George Rd. # 104, Basking Ridge; obagel.net or 908-580-9293
- Bagel Pantry at 134 South Plainfield Ave., South Plainfield and 545 Middlesex Ave., Metuchen; bagelpantry.com or 732-632-3100
- Lil’ Pickles at 318 Route 202/206 North, Pluckemin; lilpickles.com or 908-306-0268
No one can resist a sweet square of fudge on the boardwalk on a sunny Saturday afternoon, especially New Jerseyans, who are blessed with some of the best fudge around which comes with cherries, coconut, cookie pieces and everything in between. Fortunately for Central Jerseyans, we’ve got a few shops right down the street when you have a craving you just can’t ignore.
- The Fudge Shoppe at 461 US-202, Flemington; thefudgeshoppe.com or 908-782-7123
- Katilis Chocolates at 12 E Main St., Somerville; katilischocolates.com or 908-450-7755
- Suzi’s Sweet Shoppe at 1100 Highway 35, Middletown; suzisweetshoppe.com or 732-796-0115
- Van Holten’s Chocolates at 1893 Route 88, Brick; vanholtenschocolates.com or 732-840-0888
- The Original Fudge Kitchen at 4120 Boardwalk, Wildwood; fudgekitchens.com or 609-522-4396
Farm stand finds
Although other states tend to forget that we are called the Garden State for a reason, locals get to enjoy Jersey corn, blueberries, peaches and tomatoes when the coveted produce is finally in season. Stop by any modest farm stand on the side of the road and you’re bound to be pleasantly surprised by what your home state has to offer your plate.
- Bardy Farms at 149 Washington Valley Road, Warren; bardyfarms.com or 732-356-4244
- English Farm at 3625 Valley Rd., Liberty Corner; englishfarm.org or 908-647-6711
- Suydam Farms at 1803 Route 27, Somerset; suydamfarms.net or 731-846-7139
- Hauser Hill Farms at 336 Ticetown Rd., Old Bridge; hauserhillfarms.net or 732-591-1966
- Dreyer Farms at 831 Springfield Ave., Cranford; dreyerfarms.com or 908-276-1290