Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

UPDATED: 1/29/24

There are certain foods that clearly define the state of New Jersey. I grew up on Long Island and at our deli counters there was this meat in the deli case covered in burlap and in red lettering it said, “Taylor Ham.”

I just assumed it was like most hams offered at the deli counter, but I never bothered ordering it because I was stuck on the favorite types of I grew up with, like Virginia Ham, Black Forest Ham, Boiled ham…etc.

I moved to Monmouth County New Jersey back in 1996 for a new job at a brand new radio station called The WRAT, and all I heard around the office while people were ordering breakfast was this mysterious meat product called “Pork Roll.”

My new co-worker, Maryann, immediately gave me a good old fashioned New Jersey education on how to order a breakfast sandwich in this part of the Garden State.

She said, “Next time you get a breakfast sandwich, you ask for pork roll, egg, and cheese on a hard roll with salt, pepper, ketchup.” Or the abbreviated version: PEC SPK. I caught on rather quickly.

This sliceable slab of meat is made with pork, sugar, all kinds of spices, and then smoked and processed and ready for the masses to consume.

I remember one of our first outings in Monmouth County to grab the office peeps their breakfast order at the local deli- bagel place up the road.

We walked in, and when I saw the “pork roll” in the burlap bag in the glass case, I said, “Oh, that’s Taylor Ham, I’ve seen that back home in New York.” She hushed me up fast and said sternly, “NO, it’s pork roll, not Taylor Ham.”

Now here we are 27 years later. Maryann has moved on and I still live here in New Jersey, and I am still eating PORK ROLL.

I’m not looking to start a Civil War between the North Jersey and the South Jersey folks on what to call this controversial meat product, I’m just offering to tip you off to a bunch of places suggested by the pork roll loving people on my favorite food sites, pages, and message boards

Let’s see where these folks suggest we go for a delicious pork roll breakfast sandwich in Monmouth and Ocean County.

  • Jovo's Deli - 1715 NJ-88 West, Brick Township, NJ 08724

    Definitely one of the best pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwiches in the area, maybe even in Ocean County. Most everyone who chose Jovo’s said the sandwich is perfectly stacked with melted cheese, not just a slice or 2 of cheese thrown onto the sandwich. High marks all the way for Jovo’s!

  • Village Donut Shop - 45 Cassville Rd, Jackson Township, NJ 08527

    I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing. “One of my favorite donut shops makes a kick ass pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich?” Apparently I’m missing out on an incredible sandwich. Kyle Aronofsky was the first person to tip me off about the PEC here.  On a scale of 1 to 10, Kyle, aka “The Pork Roll Yid” gives place a score of 9.2 . The more you know.

     

  • Frank's Deli & Restaurant - 1406 Main St, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    Old school no bulls**t at this place. I’ve been coming here for decades. Jay R, sums it up best: “This is a NJ classic and has survived all these years for a reason. Go there. Sit at the counter. Chat with your neighbor and servers. Enjoy a delicious meal.” Cash only, ATM on the premises.

  • The Crazy Baker Cafe - 1071 NJ-37 #5, Toms River, NJ 08755

    They have great baked goods, especially the peanut butter and jelly donuts, but now I know they serve a phenomenal pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich. According to The Pork Roll Yid, this sandwich rates an 8.8. A good balance of well cooked eggs (he hates dead eggs, meaning way over cooked), 7 to 9 slices of thinly sliced pork roll,  on a fresh roll with melted white American cheese.

    I’m going to grab one on Saturday morning.

     

  • Ray's Cafe - 523 Washington Blvd, Sea Girt, NJ 08750

    Thanks to Diana, Ken, Kyle, and Steve for the heads up on this place. They all give this place major props for the PEC. Diana has tried some of the omelettes offered here and loved each of them, saying, “They’re perfectly cooked with an even ratio of items added to the omelettes.”

     

  • Beckman's Deli - 704 10th Ave, Belmar, NJ 07719

    Andre said to use the app to order the best breakfast in town. Its easy and you can customize your order and track your food being made so you can pick up your food at the moment it’s finished being made. It’s a good tip so you never have to wait!

    Adrian and Matthew believe that Beckman’s should get a gold medal for their PEC breakfast.

    Home - Beckman's Deli

    Online ordering menu for Beckman's Deli. Come to Beckman's Deli where you can enjoy a variety of different sandwiches and meals. Everything from your classic childhood favorites, a grilled cheese perhaps? Maybe you would like to stick to one of the regulars like a fantastic 8 oz.

  • Wavershak's Deli - 1898 Hinds Rd, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Under New Ownership!Same great atmosphere and food! New Owner previous GM for Miracle Pub. Stacey Golembiewsk operating under the mentorship of Miracle Pub Owner Mike Browner. 

    They make a great breakfast sandwich! Plus, they have an $8.88 Lunch special Monday through Friday.

  • The Committed Pig - 165 Main St, Manasquan, NJ 08736

    Sunday brunch never tasted so good with this Jersey staple. The Good Morning pork roll, egg, & American cheese & chopped chives with a mimosa please. The Kitchen Sinker gives you double pork roll, double cheese, and the addition of bacon.

    Pig out on pork roll sandwiches at the Committed Pig.

     

  • Mark's Deli - Located in: Krauszer's Food Store - 505 Coolidge Ave, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Mark’s makes nice hearty stuffed sandwiches, Tortas Mexicanas, tacos, and unbelievably delicious breakfast sandwiches. The pork roll and egg sandwiches with a nice cup of fresh coffee is a great start to your day, and the people there are very nice.

     

     

  • Willow Deli - 290 Willow Dr, Little Silver, NJ 07739

    Many folks who work or live in the area say you can get a great breakfast sandwich here. Order the bacon, and egg, and cheese, the pork roll, egg, and cheese, or the sausage, egg, and cheese. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices.  If you stop by for lunch, the chicken salad is highly recommended.

  • Colts Neck General Store & Deli - 171 County Rd 537, Colts Neck, NJ 07722

    Rick, originally from Colts Neck has been coming here since he was a kid. He raved about everything they make, especially the breakfast sandwiches. The vintage building that houses Colts Neck General Store & Deli is charming and so are the people who work there, especially Mary, the woman who has owned the business since 2017.  I love the good old fashioned vibe of this 1849 era establishment.

     

     

     

  • Chamo's Bagel & Grill - 1516 NJ-33, Neptune City, NJ 07753

    Excellent Arepas, Empanadas, Tostones, and Pork Roll breakfast sandwiches. The bagels are fluffy and have the perfect texture, so I’m ordering my PEC on a nice fresh bagel. Come on by this friendly family owned establishment and grab breakfast and lunch.

     

  • Taylor Sam's - 1643 NJ-88, Brick Township, NJ 08724

    Whether you order the classic Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese on a Kaiser roll, or you choose to grab the omelette loaded with diced pork roll, and lots of American cheese, you’re getting a filling meal at this fine establishment. The breakfast menu is insane, and the staff is chill and attentive.

     

     

  • Tinton Falls Deli - 1191 Sycamore Ave, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

    I think they do a pretty solid PEC here. I like my pork roll a little on the thinner side, and that’s exactly what I get at this place. On a side note, the make a killer liverwurst on rye with sliced onion…So darn delicious!

     

  • Johnny's Pork Roll and Coffee Too - 8A Monmouth St, Red Bank, NJ 07701

    Holy mackeral! I lost count of the amount of people who reached out to tell me  that Johnny’s is their favorite. Don’t forget to visit the food truck in Asbury – North Eats – 1600 Ocean Ave.  The Pork Roll Yid has Johnny’s at #1 with a 9.5 rating on Johnny’s “Pulled Pork Roll” sandwich, and a 9.3 for the PEC.

     

  • Lenny's Silverton Market - 1824 Hooper Ave, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Jimmy R. lives and works in the area and says’ Lenny’s Pork roll, egg, and cheese rocks his socks off. He’s not alone, because plenty of other folks chose Lenny’s for the PEC. You’ll find this fantastic place in the Silverton section of Toms River.

    On side note: They make amazing homemade sausage. I like the broccoli rabe & mozzarella chicken sausage the best.

     

     

     

     

  • The Speakeatery - 705 Cookman Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    I’m never shocked when people suggest this place as one of their absolute favorite places to grab an extraordinary sandwich. There isn’t a thing on the menu I wouldn’t try. The PEC is rated a 9.4 by Kyle, the Pork Roll Yid, and just about the same or higher with everyone who reached out to put their vote in for The Speakeatery.

     

  • Breakin Bread Eatery - 1177 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08753

    I had no idea they served breakfast sandwiches. Their specialty sandwiches are very good, and the good news is, the Pork Roll, Egg, & Cheese served on a Kaiser roll is a favorite of several folks who begged me to include Breakin’ Bread.

     

  • Dune Donuts and Bagels - 1408 3rd Ave, Spring Lake, NJ 07762

    Open since 2019, Dune Donuts serves outstanding fresh donuts, and their bagels are the perfect canvas for the variety of breakfast sandwiches they make Tuesday through Sunday. Several locals mentioned that Dune makes one of the best PEC sandwiches in Spring Lake.  I would love to try a PEC on their Inside Out Everything Bagel. 

     

     

     

     

  • Sorrentino's II - 4344 US-9, Howell Township, NJ 07731

    The first thing that’ll make you smile is the staff. They are very friendly and go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The second thing, the Pork Roll, Egg, & Cheese and pretty much any breakfast sandwich they make. I had a chicken salad wrap from here, so I guess the next Howell visit will be for breakfast at Sorrentino’s 2.

     

  • Fast Break - 1635 NJ-37, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Locals try to keep this place a secret, but that’s nearly impossible. The pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich is so good. That’s not just my opinion, it’s the opinion of the majority of folks who’ve eaten it. Kyle Aronofsky, aka, The Pork Roll Yid“, gave Fast break a 9.1  score for their PEC.

    Cindy, the owner, and her staff are friendly and the food is hearty and delicious!

  • Danny’s Bayshore Bagels - 550 N Main St C, Barnegat, NJ 08005

    Last time I had to go to Barnegat I stopped here on the recommendation of a few food friends. Holy Moly, was the PEC a treat!  I ordered a double egg PEC, it was perfectly stacked with the pork roll on the thinner side and the cheese melted perfectly. I wish I lived closer.

     

  • Slater's Deli - 866 NJ-36, Leonardo, NJ 07737

    If you love a stack of pork roll, then slater’s has you covered. Last time I shared a PEC article,  I didn’t include Slater’s, and the verbal beatdown was harsh. I’ll never make that mistake again. Bring your appetite, these breakfast sandwiches are huge.  The PEC is one of the best selling sandwiches on the menu.

     

  • Grits & Grace - 507 Atlantic City Blvd, Bayville, NJ 08721

    This lovely place has fantastic food and a welcoming staff.  I love the Norwegian sandwich with smoked salmon! The PEC is extra special because you can get it a variety of ways in addition to the traditional PEC on a roll. Any way you order the PEC, you’re getting a quality sandwich.

     

  • Allenwood General Store - 3208 Lakewood-Allenwood Rd, Allenwood, NJ 08720

    How can I not include the Allenwood General Store! They were voted Best Pork Roll by the RAT Rock Nation in the 2021 WRAT Shore Awards.

  • Luigi Deli Meat Market - 424 Dover Rd, Toms River, NJ 08757

    Bart M. and a bunch of other folks swear by the PEC breakfast sandwich at Luigi’s. I’ve eaten subs from Luigi’s and they were packed with quality meats & cheeses, so it’s no surprise that Luigi’s winds up on the list. They also make their amazing fresh sausage the same day I purchase it. Good stuff at this neighborhood store.

     

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