Off The Beaten Path In New Jersey: For Foodies

There are those popular New Jersey eateries in cities and towns everyone knows and loves. But this isn’t about them. We’re sharing our hidden restaurant gems. The little-known, mostly humble places nestled into locales off the beaten path. Get ready to taste some delicious fare in 31 sit-down restaurants and relaxed roadside eateries up and down the Garden State.

North Jersey

Andre’s Lakeside Dining | Sparta
The scene: Situated on the shores of Seneca Lake, indoor and outdoor seating serve rustic upscale vibes with breathtaking views.
The eats: The menu evolves – as often as weekly – to shine a spotlight on seasonal flavors.
Things to do nearby: Play a round at SkyView Golf Club or make a splash at Tomahawk Lake Water Park (in season).

Andres duck

Buck Hill Brewery | Blairstown
The scene: Relaxed and casual, the brewery’s indoor and outdoor dining is all about creating a welcoming community.
The eats (and drinks!): Dig into the best of pasture-to-plate dishes and farm-to-foam beers.
Things to do nearby: Catch a show at Roy’s Hall or meet some fluffy-faced new friends at Hidden Brook Ranch Alpaca.

Casa Maya | Gillette
The scene: Self-described as “Great Mexican Atmosphera.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
The eats: Multiple-award-winning authentic Sonoran-style Mexican cuisine.
Things to do nearby: Get back to nature at the Great Swamp Wildlife Observation Center.

The Circle | Newton
The scene: Cozy dining in a restored 1720 farmhouse with outdoor seating on the deck and patio.
The eats: Farm-to-table cuisine that earned this restaurant a spot amongst New Jersey Monthly’s 30 Best Restaurants in New Jersey.
Things to do nearby: Stock up on fresh ingredients at Windy Brow Farms to create your own locally sourced masterpieces at home.

Green Village Deli | Green Village
The scene: A local breakfast-and-lunch-only spot housed in an unassuming, easy-to-miss brick building.
The eats: Their go-to dish? “Home of the Famous Chinese Chicken Salad" (it says so right on the menu). But don’t let that stop you from ordering what makes your mouth water from their densely packed five pages of offerings.
Things to do nearby: Gardeners will love digging into The Farm At Green Village, a 32-acre wonder.

Humpty Junior’s | Columbia
The scene: Classic retro roadside eatery with a black-and-white checkered floor and mid-century modern color scheme.
The eats: They were voted Best Burger in Warren County on – and what goes better with a burger than a milkshake? You’ll have your choice of more than 50 of them here.
Things to do nearby: Get up close and personal with the residents of Lakota Wolf Preserve (advance reservations required). Or sample the varietals at Brook Hollow Winery.

Red Wolfe Inn | White Township
The scene: Dark wood-paneled walls and exposed ceiling beams contribute to the warm tavern feel.
The eats: Everything from snacks and apps to soups and salads to sandwiches and entrées. Steak lovers will be in awe of the extensive selection of cuts and sizes (up to a 48-ounce New York Strip!) with a choice of toppings as varied as hot peppers and seafood stuffing.
Things to do nearby: Sip, sip hooray at Four Sisters Winery or pick your own apples or cherries (in season) at Mackey’s Orchard.

Sheridan’s Restaurant & Tavern | Newton
The scene: Old-world charm meets family-owned service meets lovely Lake Illiff views.
The eats: Heavy on the homestyle tavern favorites – including hearty chili, a bounty of burgers, chicken pot pie, mom’s meatloaf and fish and chips.
Things to do nearby: Applaud a live performance in The Newton Theatre or raise a cold one at Angry Erik Brewing.

The Stirling Hotel | Stirling
The scene: A cozy neighborhood joint – featuring an outdoor beer garden (in season) – that has warmly welcomed locals since 1983.
The eats: Featuring a menu chock full of comfort food (like BBQ ribs) and modern fare (like their sweet potato hummus starter).
Things to do nearby: Stroll the aviary trail at The Raptor Trust.

Victoria Diner | Branchville
The scene: In a state known for diners, this little gem stands out in all its chrome glory – even earning acclaim from the likes of and TripAdvisor.
The eats: Expect all the diner classics – including breakfast served all day – or dig into something you wouldn’t expect to find on the menu, like Bayou Blackened Steak.

Things to do nearby: Find yourself in good spirits with a tasting at Milk Street Distillery or lose yourself in the lush green spaces tucked within Stokes State Forest.

Walpack Inn | Walpack
The scene: Nestled into Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, you know the views will be among the best.
The eats: Savor scratch-made Nicola’s Pasta Fresca or get your fork and knife into a 14-ounce prime rib of beef au jus before they sell out of that dish for the day.
Things to do nearby: Explore the national park – be sure to follow the Buttermilk Falls Trail for the best views of the same-named cascade.

YiaYia’s Greek Kitchen | Montague
The scene: If you had a Greek grandmother, her home would probably look just like this.
The eats: Specialties from the Mediterranean coast come to New Jersey – including handmade gyros, spinach pie and sweets. Watch for the moussaka and melitzanosalata (eggplant dip).
Things to do nearby: Swing by Luna Parc, the artist studio that’s just as much a hidden gem as any of the eateries listed here, or squeeze in nine holes at High Point Golf Club.

Central Jersey

AMA Pizza & Cucina | Hillsborough
The scene: The quintessential warm and welcoming family-owned-and-operated trattoria.
The eats: The menu reflects the heart and soul of simple, delicious dishes beloved by owner and chef Achille Confuorto.
Things to do nearby: Stroll the 1,000-acre Duke Farms or sip some suds at Flounder Brewing Co.

Bovine Burgers | Jamesburg
The scene: Reclaimed wood, exposed ductwork and kitschy signs give this open-concept space an eclectic farmhouse-meets-industrial aesthetic.
The eats: What’s a restaurant list without a great burger joint? And Bovine Burgers doesn’t disappoint with a legion of local radio stations singing its praises. From specialty selections to build-your-own-burgers, there’s a creation for everyone.
Things to do nearby: With a jam-packed calendar of motocross, karting and swap meet events, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park knows how to rev up any car enthusiast’s engine.

Canal House Station | Milford
The scene: Enjoy patio seating in what feels like a secret garden or step inside the lovingly restored 1870s train station nestled beside the Delaware River.
The eats: As a multi-year James Beard Foundation Awards Semi-Finalist, you know the food is something worth writing home about.
Things to do nearby: Open seasonally, Mad Lavender Farm offers shopping, goat yoga, workshops and events.

Gronsky’s Milk House | High Bridge
The scene: You’ll feel like you’re stepping into the home of a long-time neighbor.
The eats: Comforting breakfast, lunch and ice cream specialties beloved by locals. Don’t miss the pancake of the month.
Things to do nearby: Uncover the wonder of Lake Solitude and Falls, one of the top waterfalls in the state.

Ironbound Farm and Ciderhouse | Asbury (not Asbury Park!)
The scene: Pull up a chair inside the 18th-century barn or enjoy the views in expansive outdoor spaces.
The eats: This regenerative farm pairs its homemade hard ciders with a seasonal tasting menu featuring cuisine made from the bounty of their own farm as well as other local growers and producers.
Things to do nearby: Embark on an unforgettable sky-high adventure with Balloons in Flight Over New Jersey.

Kira Buxton

Juniper Hill | Annandale
The scene: Gone are the tellers and pens-on-chains of the former bank. Here to stay are the modern farmhouse sensibilities of this eatery at the foot of a hill forested by juniper trees.
The eats: Highlighting the best of the Garden State with goods sourced from “local bakers, makers, farmers and fishermen, taking in the day’s catch, fresh from the East Coast.”
Things to do nearby: Expand your appreciation for artisan foods to the collections and exhibitions at Hunterdon County Art Museum.

Ninety Acres | Peapack & Gladstone
The scene: Chic open-concept dining room and kitchen settings indoors with patio seating strung with lights and surrounded by gardens outside.
The eats: Many restaurants jumped on the farm-to-table trend but few can deliver as well as Ninety Acres which grows and harvests ingredients directly on its grounds.
Things to do nearby: You don’t have to go any further than the property’s borders to inspire your inner chef at The Cooking School at Natirar.

Sergeantsville Inn | Sergeantsville
The scene: Steep yourself in rich history in this circa 1730 building that has lived its life as a private residence, grain-and-feed store and a welcoming gathering spot.
The eats: As a proud supporter of the local food economy, the inn serves up fresh-is-best specialties. Bring your appetite to feast on a menu of pleasing snacks, apps, entrées and more.
Things to do nearby: Embrace even more of the past by visiting Green Sergeant’s Covered Bridge, which dates back to 1872.

Stone House | Warren
The scene: Contemporary lodge vibes with a wood-and-stone structure that blends seamlessly into its 10-acre setting in the Watchung Mountains.
The eats: Fine dining brought to you by Executive Chef David Drake, who has been credited as the “New Jersey Pioneer of Modern American Cuisine with Classic French Roots.”
Things to do nearby: Open on select Sundays, Texier House Museum houses artifacts collected and curated with love by the Watchung Historical Committee.

South Jersey

The 50s Diner | Tuckahoe
The scene: Quirky and colorful with a traffic light adding to its “stop here” curb appeal.
The eats: Think fluffy waffles, juicy burgers and overflowing plates of fries – everything a great retro diner should have!
Things to do nearby: Get your shopping on browsing eclectic home décor at Tuckahoe Vintage – you can also sign up for a fun decorating class while you’re there.

The Bait Box | Greenwich
The scene: Casual indoor and outdoor dining directly on Hancock Harbor – open seasonally (April through September).
The eats: With a name like Bait Box, you know the seafood (like their sauteed soft-shell crabs) is top-notch, but the land-based fare is really just as tempting.
Things to do nearby: History buffs will want to tour The Gibbon House (circa 1730) and spy the Greenwich Tea Burning Monument.

Bait Box

Bayshore Crab House | Newport
The scene: For a creekside place known for seafood, you may be surprised that it’s housed in a big red barn with a larger-than-life bull adorning one side. Inside the décor is rustic seaside shack (in the best way!).
The eats: With the blood of oystermen running through his veins, owner-chef Kenny Lore knows how to serve up scores of shellfish harvested from the Delaware Bay plus “buckets of clams and steaming heaps of South Jersey Style crabs” for lunch and dinner select days in season (May to October).
Things to do nearby: This truly off-the-beaten-path location is entirely shaded green in online maps, inviting you to take a stroll around the Nantuxent Wildlife Management Area.

Charlesworth Hotel & Restaurant | Fortescue
The scene: Forget the dark woods and dim lighting of old-fashioned steakhouses. Charlesworth Hotel & Restaurant features the bright and airy color palette of a beach house with a massive outdoor deck directly overlooking the bay.
The eats: Being this close to the water, you’d anticipate succulent seafood (and you’d be right!) but you’ll also be blown away by their turf-based entrées.
Things to do nearby: Along this quiet bay shoreline, you can charter a boat at Fortescue State Marina or go birding at Gandys Beach Preserve.

Charlesworth Seafood Platter

Christine’s House of Kingfish Barbecue | Shamong
The scene: This is a rural roadside eatery that doesn’t pretend to be anything but. Claim a picnic table and tuck into…
The eats: This isn’t just food, it’s a legacy. With a “third Generation secret sauce” and recipes handed down over time from roots deep in West Virginia and Southern Georgia. Get ready for the best barbecue around.
Things to do nearby: Swirl and sip wines grown right on the grounds at Valenzano Winery or take a paddling trip with Pinelands Adventures.

LB’s Lunch Box| Egg Harbor City
The scene: It’s all about the tranquil view of Belhaven Lake at this casual eatery (open in season).
The eats: You wish your school lunch box had been packed with the comfort foods found on this menu. Plus, there is no shortage of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Things to do nearby: Can’t pull yourself away from that lake view? You don’t have to. Stay the night in a rental cottage at Belhaven Lake RV Resort.

Lucille’s Luncheonette | Warren Grove
The scene: A red-painted roadside Pine Barrens café that’s been greeting locals and shore-bound visitors since 1976.
The eats: Home cooking that’s almost as folkloric as the region’s infamous Jersey Devil. These dishes earned Lucille’s a coveted spot on the Anthony Bourdain Food Trail.
Things to do nearby: We did mention this spot is in the remote Pine Barrens, right? Your best bet for a place to visit would be the Warren Grove Recreation Area.

Oyster Creek Restaurant and Boat Bar | Leeds Point
The scene: There’s beside the water, and then there’s over the water. Oyster Creek is the latter, and its loyal patrons wouldn’t have it any other way.
The eats: All manner of seafood (even sushi) is on the menu, naturally. Don’t miss out on Chef Scott’s Signature Starters and Entrées plucked from the ocean and land.
Things to do nearby: Discover The Towne of Historic Smithville and The Village Greene for boutique shopping.

Sweet Amalia Market & Kitchen| Newfield
The scene: This is a farmer’s market, through and through.
The eats: Come for the farm-raised oysters, stay for the sandwiches – whether you call them hoagies or subs!
Things to do nearby: Raise a glass to the South Jersey terroir at Bellview Winery.

Sweetwater Riverdeck | Mullica Township
The scene: A riverside setting boasting sunset views that welcome boaters and landlubbers.
The eats: Think satisfying finger foods including lobster mac & cheese balls, loaded nachos, wings and pizzas.
Things to do: This isn’t just a place to eat. It’s a destination in itself with a robust event calendar. Past happenings have included “Jaws at Dark” with steely-nerved visitors floating on the river in tubes while watching the blockbuster movie.

Before hopping in your car and entering an address in your GPS (you’re gonna need it!), be sure to check out your preferred restaurant’s official website or social media pages for the latest hours of operation. For future vacation inspiration, we invite you to download our free travel guide and sign up for our e-newsletter.