Local Vibes

Local Vibes

Local Vibes

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MAY 22: Chef Guy Fieri who was honored with the 2,664th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star, in Hollywood, California.

Earlier this year, I spent a couple of days polling people on food sites to ask them which of their favorite eateries they think Guy Fieri and his crew from “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives should visit here In New Jersey.

I went back to the boards recently to ask the fine residents of New Jersey what they would add to the original list that was posted in January of 2023. They came up with a bunch of great places. Not all of them are Diners, Drive-In, or Dives, but I think they qualify in other aspects of the show. There may be 1 or 2 repeats on this current list.

Lots of passionate people weighing in, some of whom downright swear that some of these fantastic eateries or hidden gems are the best of the best at doing what they do.

A few bars, a handful of diners Guy hasn’t been to in the Garden State, and a food truck or 2. I think my next vacation will be a road trip focused on the food here in the Garden State. I’ll make sure there’s a gym nearby because I love to eat, maybe a little too much.

Updated with additions: September 2023

  • Peck Peck Chicken - 250 Degraw Ave. Teaneck N.J. 07666

    I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered who absolutely LOVE Peck Peck Korean fried chicken. Frank , Jeff, Lou and the Wednesday Warrior’s crew did a run recently to a bunch of local food businesses, and Peck Peck was on their list.

    Peck Peck wings
    Jeff A from the WW was the first to raise his hand when I said I was doing an updated list. The place has 4.8 stars out of 5 on Google. It’s time for a road trip. Who’s going with me? It’s all about the wings baby!!

  • Lover Dogs - 822 Main Ave, Passaic, NJ 07055

    Their slogan is: “Fast Food, Less Guilt.”  Their hot dogs and other offerings are air fried. They get a ton of compliments on their pulled pork fries, and their chili. The chili dogs are some of the best according to their customers.  Wings, crispy chicken sandwiches, and Gelotti’s ice cream are just some of the items on the menu. I’ve been told by many that Wayne, the owner is a real charmer. Super friendly and incredibly customer service oriented.  This place is Warrior approved by both the Wednesday Warriors and the Jersey Food Warriors.

     

     

     

  • Harry's Smokin' BBQ -240 Dover Rd, Toms River, NJ 08757

    Harry’s was on the previous list. I thought he deserved another shot. Last year around this time, Guy Fieri made a visit to Big Pinks BBQ truck in Bridgewater to try a couple of sausage sandwiches. It’s time for Guy to head South and hit up Harry’s Smokin BBQ. Harry’s ribs, brisket, and pulled pork and chicken are spectacular and deserves all the awards he’s accrued over the years. There’s so much more to Harry than meat. Harry does a variety of unexpected creations. The Jalapeno Slaw, his crazy mac & cheese concoctions, stuffed egg rolls, cowboy caviar, and his insanely creative breakfast sandwiches that can feed an army are just a few reasons for Guy Fieri to make the trek down to Ocean County. I think we need to start rounding up Harry’s fans and have them ALL write letters to the Food Network.

     

     

     

     

  • Cosmo's Italian Salumeria - 705 Main St, Hackensack, NJ 07601

    Old school cash only joint. Winnie lives in Hackensack and said,” With a focus on traditional Italian sandwiches made with high-quality ingredients. Their prosciutto and fresh mozzarella sandwich is a standout, with the salty, savory prosciutto pairing perfectly with the creamy, tangy mozzarella.” But it was Wani from WW who tipped me off to this place that serves excellent eggplant & chicken parm subs. Great fresh Mozzarella, and great service is what you can expect from this place that has been referred to as a Hackensack hidden gem.

     

     

     

     

  • Rodio's Kitchen - 1346 Mays Landing Rd, Hammonton, NJ 08037

    Larry, a member of the South Jersey Food Scene suggested this cozy quaint place that looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s mainly a breakfast joint that also serves lunch and the owner is a waitress, bus boy, and cashier. It’s mostly locals who patronize the place, but when it’s an out of towner popping in for a meal, it’s usually because they’ve stumbled upon the place on their way to or from Atlantic City.  In Matthew’s case, he was looking for a Wawa on his way to AC, and happened to spot Rodio’s.  He was impressed with the food and how affordable it was. If you’re in the area, stop by and ask about the Scrapple cubes.

     

     

  • Hoagitos - 807 Belmar Plaza, Belmar, NJ 07719

    Unique and extra creative when it comes to gourmet sandwiches. They are best known for their chicken sandwiches, but they are so much more. Interesting breakfast sandwich options, sliders smash patties, and an interesting sides and things menu. The Forbidden Chicken sandwich is a crispy chicken thigh, with a sweet & spicy glaze, carrot-daikon radish slaw, and roasted garlic mayo. Order a side of the Fubar Fries, and life will become immeasurably better. Grab an order of the Griddle Mac & Cheese and you will forget about all of your woes for awhile. Guy Fieri will find out that this one of a kind place needs his magic spotlight.

     

     

     

     

  • Vintage Tavern - 342 Valley Rd, Gillette, NJ 07933

    In 2022, The Chimney Rock Inn changed their name to Vintage Tavern. It’s more sports bar oriented from what I can tell, and it’s very kid friendly. The thin crust pizza has a lot of fans but folks are suggesting that if Guy Fieri should happen to pop in, the pierogies, and the queso blanco tater tots should be among the dishes he needs to try. Manny thinks Guy should sink his teeth into the Hog Wild Burger-  it’s an all beef patty topped with braised pork & pineapple, spicy mayo, pepper jack cheese and a sweet chili bacon jam. Rose from WW was the first to suggest Mr. Fieri visit this place.

    Vintage Tavern | Gillette, New Jersey

    WELCOME ...to Vintage Tavern! Your go-to spot for sports, live entertainment, trivia, bingo, private parties & so much more! Vintage Tavern is the perfect place for friends and family to gather with delicious food, great drinks, and a fun, lively atmosphere.

     

     

     

  • Half Moon - 2 Beachway Ave, Keansburg, NJ 07734

    I’ve been here before with our friends from Miller Lite. Dave McTernan from the Jersey Food Warriors loves this place. He posted his last meal here and I’m starving. He had the Mediterranean Tuna -It’s coriander crusted ahi tuna, couscous salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions & mint, crispy cumin chick peas, lemon labneh. Ahi Tuna With Israeli coucous

    They make a good burger, but the star of my last show there was the French onion soup and the killer dirty martini. They also serve a great brunch.

  • The Galley Pizza & Eatery - 1313 Memorial Dr, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    This place is an absolute MUST visit for Triple D!!  Guy would go nuts here! The variety of chicken sandwiches made with Bell & Evans chicken thighs, the interesting pizza creations, the WINGS, the cheesiest cheesy bread, and of course their spectacular burgers. Kris Black is the King of Creativity. Guy, we’re waiting for you.

     

     

     

  • Shut Up and Eat - 804 Main St, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Now this is a fun place Guy Fieri would get a kick out of. I have been here many times and have enjoyed every meal and every unique experience. Ann Gauthier, the owner, has mentioned many times that long time customers have been writing to the Food Network in efforts to get Triple D to come to Toms River. Maybe the gigantic list of omelettes freaks him out. It’s no secret that Guy hates eggs. There are so many things he can have besides eggs. How about the pancakes, waffles ,mac & cheese. Come on Guy, give Shut Up & Eat a try. They are really good folks who give back to the community. Right now they’re collecting donations of school supplies for needy children in our community. Head over to Shut Up & Eat to make a donation or check out the JF party Dragon charity website. JF Party Dragon website.

     

    My Site

    Shut Up and Eat! is Toms River's and New Jersey's most unique breakfast and lunch restaurant. Whether it's the fun and entertaining decor, enthusiastic greetings, pajama-clad waitress' or the...

  • East Coast Burger Company - 75 Franklin Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

    Hand pressed all natural beef ground daily. This place isn’t for just meat lovers. There’s something for everyone. Veggie burgers, turkey burgers, guacamole, chips, chicken, and even lobster rolls. Many folks from both Warrior’s food groups have mentioned how good this place is. I think it deserves a visit from Guy Fieri.

    Welcome to the Online Home of East Coast Burger in Ridgewood, NJ!

    Not just burgers, East Coast Burger Company in Ridgewood, NJ features a delicious variety of seafood, chicken, grilled cheese, soups and salads with delicious ice cream to finish it off for dessert! Eat in or take out, our food is delicious! Come visit us in Ridgewood, NJ for an experience to remember!

     

  • Reyna's Mexican Restaurant - 4057 Asbury Ave, Tinton Falls, NJ 07753

    I wrote about them a few months ago and you can read my review here.  Guy needs to meet these great folks and consume some of the best Mexican food in Monmouth County.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BiqsRbyhZgo/?hl=en

  • Tri-Valley Restaurant Diner - 366 Knickerbocker Rd, Dumont, NJ 07628

    Wani suggested this place because the food and the service rock.  From the Blue Crab Omelette to the unusual Sensational Salad options, this place doesn’t seem like just any ordinary diner. They have a caramelized peach salad with of course caramelized peaches, goat cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and red onions over mixed greens and a citrus vinaigrette. Desserts include all different kinds of ice cream sundaes. The prices seem reasonable too. Plus if you order online, you get a 10% discount.

     

    Tri-Valley Family Restaurant

    Tri-Valley is a family friendly restaurant located on Knickerbocker Road in Dumont New Jersey.

     

     

  • John and Molly's - 1291 Woodlane Rd, Eastampton Township, NJ 08060

    Every time I write about South Jersey food, John and Molly’s gets a mention or 10. Dan’s review jumped out at me: “John and Molly’s has a great variety of daily specials that keep every visit exciting. The service is fantastic and the food is pretty decent too. We tried a few things, including the pork cutlet, which I have to say was fantastic. My wife got the corned beef and she enjoyed it as well.” Alway fresh, always delicious! They have a great beer list that they update on a regular basis, and they do a fair amount of catering. Hey Guy, come on by.

     

  • Zi Marie’s Original Pizzeria Trattoria - 730 Jamaica Blvd #25, Toms River, NJ 08757

    I must include my friend, Chef Umberto Turelli’s place. I recently wrote a review about the great food I enjoyed here including the homemade sausage, the pizza made with unbromated flour  which makes the pizza lighter, crunchier, and less doughy, and his most recent creation, “The Rockyn Robyn” inspired by my love of broccoli rabe and sausage.

    The sandwich was filled with Umberto’s homemade hot and sweet Italian sausage patties, sautéed broccoli rabe, marinated roasted peppers, blistered cherry tomatoes, caramelized Vidalia onions, Italian Salsa Verde, and fresh mozzarella on a nice piece of Italian bread.  Giu and his crew would love Umberto and his son Salvatore. Personality plus and great food.

     

  • 5 Points Inn- 580 Tuckahoe Rd, Vineland, NJ 08360

    This place may be considered a hidden gem. Thanks to Jessica Q. for the suggestion. First item on the appetizer list is Stuffed Long Hots, another huge favorite of mine. Long hot peppers stuffed with a sausage and cheese filling, served with marinara sauce. Oysters Rockefeller, Chicken Santorini, and an array of great seafood and Italian dishes in a comfortable, cozy atmosphere. I feel that Guy Fieri would be right at home here.

     

  • Black Whale Bar & Fish House - 100 N Pennsylvania Ave, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

    I was just in Beach Haven over the weekend visiting our good friends. Next time, we may hit the Black Whale and grab a cocktail along with the baked garlic clams with crab meat. The shrimp bisque is a crowd pleaser and I’ve heard the linguini and clams is not your average linguini and clams. Guy needs a little sun and he should drive down to Beach Haven to catch some rays.

  • Humpty Junior's - 72 US-46, Columbia, NJ 07832

    This place looks like it would take me back to my childhood with it’s old school design and vibe. 50 kinds of shakes, burgers of all kinds, fries, mile high ice cream cones, fried pickles, and their award winning smoked meatloaf grilled cheese. I have to go and so does Guy Fieri. Voted best burger in Warren County!

  • Baladina Mediterranean Restaurant & Cafe - Located in Bellcrest Plaza - 931 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08753

    From the kebabs to the shawarma to any lamb dish or falafel dish they serve at this unique neighborhood eatery, Guy will be in food heaven. They also have entertainment including a belly dancer on the weekend.

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  • Garlic Rose Bistro - 28 N Ave W, Cranford, NJ 07016

    Garlic up the wazoo!  Even on the walls! They even have garlic ice cream. The first garlic experience starts with an order of a breadbasket, accompanied by a huge bulb of roasted garlic, olive oil and fresh oregano. Then you can slurp a cup of creamy garlic chowder.  Try the garlic ravioli or garlic shrimp.

    Not every dish contains garlic, but you get the idea.  These guys only use garlic from Gilroy California, the garlic capital of the world.  Have you ever heard of the Gilroy Garlic Festival?

    This place is truly one of the most unique restaurants in Union County.

     

     

     

  • Poppy's Place - 290 W Water St, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Such a fun little throwback to when times were much more simple. Music from the 50’s and 60’s and fun kitschy  decor.  The food and the service make you feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s a real homey breakfast and lunch joint I think Guy will appreciate.

    10 Great Breakfast Places In Ocean County According To You
  • Albariño Tapas & Wine Bar - 508 Broad St, Shrewsbury, NJ 07702 Located in The Grove Westy

    Their menu specializes in Spanish seafood tapas from Galicia & wines by the glass in a modern space. This place offers a unique menu that you’re not likely to come across in every neighborhood.

    Expertly prepared Tapas like Seared Octopus  –pimentón, Terra Momo evoo, sweet potato foam, spiced walnuts, and Pumpkin Hummus – made with roasted garlic, apple cider glaze, pumpkin seeds, pita.

    The dishes are plated beautifully and look incredibly appetizing. My mouth is watering as I type.

    I think Guy would be tempted to come here if he knew about them.

     

  • The Black Swan - 601 Mattison Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    Talk about a hidden gem! Scotch eggs are a popular dish here. It’s a sausage wrapped egg with bread crumb crust, and harissa aioli. It’s another great European gastro pub from the creative mind of Chef James Avery, The Black Swan explores, embraces and combines various cultural influences to appeal to different tastes, offering unique and innovative dishes like Indian-inspired curries and pastas alongside more classic dishes like Shepherd’s Pie and Fish and Chips.

    Cheers to you and hoping Mr. Fieri will find his way to Asbury Park.

     

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