8 new North Jersey restaurants that will shake you out of your dining rut
There's no excuse to be stuck in a dining rut in North Jersey.
In the past few weeks, we've had restaurants open that are serving shatteringly good crispy chicken smothered in sweet, gooey hot honey; artisan bread so popular they can't keep it on the shelves; and gorgeous Swedish pastries bursting with cream.
We get it — it's hard to keep up with all these openings. That's why we're here, with info on eight new restaurants that will shake you out of your old routine.
Dottie’s Crispy Chicken, Nutley, Harrison & Jersey City
Skopos Hospitality Group — the folks behind The Barrow House in Clifton, Cowan’s Public in Nutley, The Vanguard in Harrison and Franklin Social in Jersey City — have opened a new place called Dottie’s Crispy Chicken. The twist? Dottie’s has no physical location. You can only order its sandwiches and Cajun curly fries to-go through GrubHub or DoorDash.
The menu is small — classic fried chicken sandwich with hot honey, a spicy fried chicken sandwich and a vegetarian “chicken-fried” mushroom sandwich. All are $12, smothered in roasted garlic mayo, topped with pickles and slaw and served with a side of Cajun curly fries.
Dottie’s delivers to the Nutley, Harrison and Jersey City area.
Go: Order online at dottieschicken.com.
Jam Burger, Garfield
Jam Burger in Garfield reopened in November after a complete renovation.
Known for its crazy shakes and burgers, Jam Burger now sports neon signs, gilded frames holding pictures of milkshakes and records hung to the wall — giving the space a retro 50's look with 90's-hip-hop flair.
“We really wanted to focus on the atmosphere,” said David Mann, who owns Jam Burger with Frank Moyett, Bryant Minaya and Raymier Mondesir.
Especially the music. You’ll hear anything from Cold Play to Drake to Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“I always notice the music in a restaurant. All the owners are in our early 30s. We want to play the music that makes us comfortable,” said Mann.
For eats, try the ultra-crispy chicken-fried burger ($7.99) or the Jam Burger, smothered in caramelized onions, smoked jam and jalapeño-cheese poppers ($7.99). And for dessert, Jam Burger has milkshakes piled high with cookies, cakes, popsicles and whipped cream. The most popular is the black-and-white Oreo shake, topped with (of course) Oreos and a cookies and cream Pop-Tart ($9.99).
Go: 87 Passaic St., Garfield; 973-955-4455, facebook.com/JamburgerNJ.
G&S Deli, Andover
G&S Deli has been serving loyal customers in Newton for more than 38 years and has just expanded to a new location on Route 206 in Andover. The family-owned business offers affordable deli sandwiches, pizza and ice cream. Standouts include the Ruben sandwich, cheesesteaks, panini, hot roast beef sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches.
Go: 480 Route 206 Andover; 973-383-9777, gandsdeli.com.
The Habit Burger Grill, Wayne
A fast-casual burger joint, The Habit Burger Grill has roots in Southern California. The first location opened in Santa Barbara in 1969. It’s now a national chain. Habit Burger’s beachy birthplace can be seen in menu items like the ahi tuna filet, made with a teriyaki glaze and smeared with tartar sauce. Its signature Charburger features a thin patty grilled over an open flame, topped with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, pickles and mayo on a toasted bun. Habit Burger also offers chicken sandwiches, salads and tri-tip steak sandwiches.
Go: 910 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne; 862-684-8168, habitburger.com.
Feeling a bit Swedish today? Consider stopping at newly opened Bageriet, a Swedish bakery "with a touch of French," owned by Swedish native Susanne Bahdo.
Visit this month and enjoy what Swedes wait all year: semla, a somewhat sweet brioche-like bread stuffed with almond cream and topped with fresh whipped cream served only in February.
"Everyone in Sweden waits for February to have it," Bahdo said. "We've been selling tons of them."
Other Swedish favorites that you can enjoy at the 1,000-square-foot cafe are cinnamon buns and cardamom buns, which Bahdo points out "are very popular desserts in Sweden." Also popular is princess cake, a white cake filled with raspberry jam and vanilla custard and topped by marzipan.
The bakery offers from-scratch pastries, house-baked breads, bagels and sandwiches. Down the road, Bahdo plans to offer more items, including grab-and-go eats.
Once the weather warms, 50 outdoor seats will be available for alfresco noshing.
Go: 355 Essex St., Hackensack; 201-487-8787, thebageriet.com.
B&S Kitchen, Westwood
B&S Kitchen, a casual salad and sandwich shop, opened on Feb. 15 in the spot on Westwood Avenue that had housed Paolo's Gourmet. B&S stands for bread and salad.
Owned by Chris Cho, who formerly owned seven delis and restaurants in New York, B&S offers breakfast, lunch, homemade pastries, cold-pressed juices and gourmet coffees. Breakfast includes oatmeal, avocado toast with walnuts and lemon aioli, scrambled eggs and cheese on brioche and vegetarian omelet. Lunch offerings include soup, burgers, salads and sandwiches.
B&S's sandwiches sport home-baked breads, though the demand has been so great already that Nick Paladina, who "does a little of everything," said that the restaurant has had to supplement from a "high-quality source." Thus far the turkeywich, Paladina said, has proven a winner, made with roasted turkey, avocado and caramelized onion served on sourdough focaccia and smeared with garlic aioli. Another winner is the turkey and Brie with green apple slices and honey-Dijon mustard on multigrain or focaccia.
In the mood for something hot? Consider the meatball parm sandwich or the grilled rib-eye with aged cheddar.
The restaurant offers takeout and delivery. As of next week, it plans to have its dining room open to 15 guests, adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
B&S is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. "The hours might change, however," Paladina said. "We're playing it by ear. See what the community wants."
Go: 48 Westwood Ave., Westwood; 201-497-6739, njbnskitchen.com.
Up the Creek Cafe & Pizzeria, Wantage
This two-month-old breakfast-lunch-dinner restaurant is the "size of a shoebox," said co-owner Kori Brown, a Wantage resident. "Due to COVID, we can fit two tables," she said. Nevertheless, the offerings are vast — from breakfast sandwiches and platters to hot sandwiches, pasta and pizza.
"We make nearly everything in-house," said Brown, who owns the restaurant with her fiancé Daren Valente. "We make our own tomato sauce, sausages, dough, desserts."
The duo also offers basic grocery needs — from snacks and cereals to toilet paper and laundry detergent. Brown said there are plans to get another cooler for milk and eggs and to offer a catering menu.
Up the Creek Cafe opens at 8 a.m.
Go: 1214 Route 23, Wantage; 973-702-1400, upthecreeknj.com.
Lulu's Artisanal Cafe, Montclair
Lucienne Coppedge, a Guyana native and Montclair resident, always wanted to open a cafe. She started by offering artisan lemonade three years ago using spring water, raw sugar, herbs and fresh fruits and selling at festivals and green markets. But then a worldwide health pandemic struck and festivals and green markets were shut down. When it was safe to sell again at green markets this past summer, Coppedge resumed her lemonade business and immediately decided it was time to make her cafe dream come true.
Driving around Montclair, she saw a small space for rent on Bloomfield Avenue and jumped on it. She opened 450-square-foot Lulu's Artisanal Cafe on New Year's Eve. Primarily a takeout business, Lulu's offers eight artisan lemonades, gluten-free desserts from local, primarily women-owned shops and savory vegetarian dishes produced by chef Daniel McCormick, a Montclair resident and private chef who had worked at the MC Hotel. The dishes include lentil bean burger, rice bowls, rasta pasta and Texas bean stew.
Lulu's is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Go: 406 Bloomfield Ave.; 201-402-5008, lulusartisanalcafe.com.
Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.