Incredible NOLA style bakery and bistro in the emerging Wire Rope District just south of downtown. Well worth checking out!
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Incredible NOLA style bakery and bistro in the emerging Wire Rope District just south of downtown. Well worth checking out!
We’ve always admired Trenton Coffee House & Roasters (THCR), starting when it consisted of a bicycle-pulled trailer. Now that it’s moved into a spacious and attractive location on Cass Street, it’s a fabulous addition to the Trenton scene, and a “must experience” stop. You may discover the best cup of coffee you’re ever had!
Aldi is a German retailer which operates some 1,500 stores in the US (who knew? I certainly didn’t). Stores provide limited selections of carefully tested merchandise at rock-bottom prices: private labeled or off-brand staples, plus an ever-changing range of close-out items. Many target a low-income consumer, but sprinkled in are some exceptional quality items at fabulous prices.
Do you need a sign for your business? Or for your home? George is one of the few artisans around who can still hand paint an “old school” sign, or build one in 9-colors of LEDs, if that’s what you need. No job is too small, none too large: from $200 to $20,000 or more, George is your guy.
Before there were supermarkets, before Whole Foods and Wegmans and Shop Right landed on Rt. 1 (like the Martian invaders of Orson and HG Wells’ combined imaginations), there was a Di Paola’s raising turkeys right outside of Trenton. It’s still there. No doubt, 60-odd years ago, the corner butcher in Trenton featured Di Paola’s turkeys. … Continue reading Fresh Clucked
Say you’re going to a costume party, maybe for Halloween. Sure, you can go to one of the big-box party stores or the pop-up Halloween shops. You can buy the 500th Elsa costume (from Disney’s Frozen) that they’ve sold that week, and look just like everyone else as you glide around in your scratchy, cheap, … Continue reading Couture Costumes
Trentonians Peter Hobday and Tom Moyer have always had impeccable taste in art, home goods, and collectibles. So when they opened their own shop in nearby Bordentown, Trentonians flocked down to visit them and purchase gifts and home decor (and to have their art framed by Tom). Shoppe 202 is an eclectic storefront, filled with … Continue reading Singular Shopping
I work in a pretty big office, and folks are always bringing in leftovers, sweets, and sundry confections to leave in the kitchenette. It is sometimes a challenge to resist temptation, but I do pretty well. That all changed a few months ago, when brown cardboard boxes started showing up with intoxicating baked goods: sticky … Continue reading Just Peachy
Several weeks ago, I stepped into Championship Sports Bar and Grill (“No Sports, No Grill“) for a drink. I noticed behind the cash register were two large containers of an intoxicating-looking green liquor. “Is it absinth?” I queried Griffin, my bartender. “No,” he replied, “It is pickle juice. Trenton artisanal pickle juice.” Of course, this was an … Continue reading In a Pickle… or a Jam
Sometimes, you need to escape to something over-priced, pretentious, and utterly scrumptious. And on those days, you’d better get in the car and go to Brick Farm Market.
Brick Farm Market is located in the Malek Chevrolet Building (a 1930’s brick auto-repair shop) in the center of Hopewell. It is about a 30 minute drive from Trenton. A beautifully renovated establishment, they are part farm market (from their sister farm, Double Brook Farm), part bakery, part coffee shop, part butcher, part cheese shop, and part deli. It’s a little bit like walking into the cafe shop of a Whole Foods, only the food is superior, the ambiance is nicer, and the prices are (believe it or not) slightly higher. Is it worth it? Occasionally.
Randy Ellis is best known in the Trenton area as “Randy Now,” the infamous talent booker, promoter, DJ, and bouncer of City Gardens. In the 1980’s and ’90’s, he booked talent such as REM, Green Day, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Iggy Pop, and The Ramones into this popular Trenton rock and roll establishment. (Jon Stewart … Continue reading A Hoarder’s Rock-and-Roll Cave
Sometimes, you run out of ground sumac, or find yourself desperately seeking that shallot-salt you know you had stashed in the back of the cupboard. When that happens, you can always see if Trenton’s Broad Street Imports is open–but if it isn’t you’ll find yourself driving up to Princeton to visit Savory Spice Shop. Savory … Continue reading ‘Tis the Season(ing)
There is ice cream worth making a drive for. There is ice cream worth eating in the winter. And then there is ice cream worth shoving your firstborn child out of the way so that you can get the final spoonful. Princeton’s The Bent Spoon is all of the above.
Gravity Hill Farm is an immaculately managed, certified organic farm located in Titusville. Three days each week (Tu, Sa, Su) the farm organizes a market selling its own produce. Sundays it invites other local farms to join the sale: typically a local organic dairy farm that produces cheeses, and a second, local farm raising grass-fed beef and lamb. The quality is impeccable. Selection and variety is targeting chefs and foodies.
We have never been to Guatemala, though living in Trenton it often feels like Guatemela has come to us. After all, this city has the 6th largest Guatemalan population in the U.S., according to the most recent census. If you’re lucky enough to live in Trenton these days, you’re used to seeing Guatemalan bakeries, which … Continue reading Cakes across the city
If you like to drink your coffee in a hip, buzzing cafe, then you may need to head over to Princeton. There, you’ll find one of our favorite coffee shops, Small World Coffee. Small World is a Princeton fixture (in fact, there are actually two of them, one on Nassau and one on Witherspoon, though … Continue reading It’s a Small World
I passed the African Caribbean Market (“ACM”) for years before I stopped in. The issue for me (and I would venture for most readers of Hidden Trenton) is that neither West Indian nor west African cooking are on my culinary radar screen, so I have little reason to stop. Still, it’s a measure of the … Continue reading Ghana Get Me Some
City Beef is principally a wholesaler, serving restaurants in the City of Trenton and Mercer County at large. However, it is happy to sell retail, even in small quantities. Note that the provisions here are not the post-modern, chi-chi stuff. But if you’re on a budget, and are looking for conventional provisions of good quality at spectacular prices, this is the place to go.
Trenton (and its surrounding environs) has a lot of terrific places to get food, from the in-town grocery stores (Food Bazaar and Supreme) to the official Trenton Farmers Market (technically not in Trenton) and the many many many specialty vendors. But it remains a town with so-called “food deserts” (places that lack access to fresh … Continue reading Greening the Parking Lot
Once upon a time, Trenton housed a very well-regarded Bagel Shop on South Broad Street, run by the entrepreneurial TC Nelson (now the proprietor of Trenton Social). Since the closing of that shop in 2003, downtown Trenton has been bagel-less. Sure, you can get bagels at one of any number of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises–but those … Continue reading The Bagels Are Back
It is hard to find a good source for Asian ingredients around the city of Trenton. For years, I’d been driving up to the Asian Food Market in Plainsboro, which is a traffic-filled ride along Route 1. It’s a market with an impressive selection, but poor service and a not-so-clean environment. So when I stumbled upon H Mart in Levittown, PA, I was delighted. It’s closer, cleaner, and features a surprisingly decent Korean food court style restaurant inside of it. A true find.
Situated on the far edge of Nassau Street in downtown Princeton, you’ll find a new store–Arlee’s Raw Blends. It’s a vegan cold-pressed organic raw juice company that also offers other health-conscious snacks (dehydrated raw mango and pineapple, raw kale salads, etc). It’s a pricy treat, but the quality is superb and the business was founded … Continue reading Organic Juices That Deliver
Indian Hut is a slightly odd, new restaurant in a small retail strip just south of the Quakerbridge Mall in Lawrence. It offers a cake bakery (not Indian desserts, but western style cakes with butter-cream frosting) combined with a casual Indian Cafe serving an extensive Indian menu that includes chaat. The food is well prepared, and prices are reasonable.
The new Trenton economy is on display at Fuente del Buen Gusto every day. Frankly, it’s not the best Guatemalan food in Trenton. Not that FdBG’s food is bad; it’s actually pretty good, but much of it is served off of a buffet, and it suffers a bit from sitting around. However, you won’t find many other places in town that are busier. The joint is usually packed with working men and women from the neighborhood. I suggest that anyone who wants to understand the new Trenton economy should show up here during the week just to check it out.
Six years ago, a group of volunteers from Princeton Freewheelers Bike Club got together and started the Trenton Bike Exchange, which collects and refurbishes donated used bicycles, selling them at affordable prices (to serve low and moderate income families), and raising funds for the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton & Mercer County. The shop is run entirely by volunteers and by student interns in the Club’s Job-Ready program. It’s a great cause, but it’s also a great place to get an inexpensive bike.
3x each year, the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market takes over the Roebling Machine Shop at Roebling Market and throws a party organized around buying stuff. It attracts over 200 vendors and thousands of buyers, mostly young. According to the organizers, “We embrace a life-long love of punk rock and hardcore, DYI ethics, the arts, tattoos, copious amounts of coffee, the occasional shot of Jameson and a solid, well-styled quiff.”
In continuous operation since 1921, Cohen’s is a delightfully old-fashioned business that is thriving. Within 500 feet of its original storefront, which was on 179 S. Broad), the shop is located in a squat and drab building near the courthouse. Off-street, private parking is available right off of South Broad. It’s a bleak exterior, but the moment you step inside you’ll be surrounded by elegance, cleanliness, and a peaceful energy. Cohen’s expert tailors (co-owners of the business) will quickly find out what you need, measure you, and spend all the time you in the world trying on various styles and options. They want to get your fit right, and they give you their full attention. Once you’re suited up, they’ll package everything up for you and have it ready for you to pick up a day or two later. If you are renting, you can pick it up in advance of your event, and return it to them shortly after it’s done.
In the heart of Lawrenceville (about 15 minutes from downtown Trenton), you’ll find WildFlour, an utterly charming bakery/cafe. Set in a beautiful old house, the bakery features a small service area for ordering pastries, cookies, breads, cakes, scones, etc, as well as a simply gorgeous cafe dining area, tastefully decorated and with beautiful natural light. They have everything that you could possibly want from a bakery (from gorgeous cakes to brazilian cheese puffs), and the cafe boasts a menu of crepes, salads, and sandwiches that’ll make you feel like you’re in Paris. What’s the catch? Everything, absolutely everything, is 100% gluten-free (and vegetarian).
But here’s the trick… depending on what you order, you might not notice that it’s gluten-free. I would put their danishes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and knishes (oh, the knishes!) against any other bakery’s–they are simply among the best I’ve ever had. The danishes are flaky and decadent, I particularly recommend the nutella danish which is so lush it ought to be illegal. The cookies have just the right blend of browned crumble and buttery softness. The cinnamon rolls are unforgettable, delightfully dense, not too sweet, and with a nutty caramelization on top. And the knishes… you will swoon over these knishes! Light and airy, they are the perfect bite with an exquisite flavor that’ll transport you to a bygone era. They come in two flavors (potato and spinach with caramelized onion) and are only served on weekends or by special order.
Are you craving celeriac or fantasizing for fresh fava? Then walk over the bridge to the Morrisville Garden Farm Market, the cheapest place (nearly) in town for non-local fresh produce. Directly over the Calhoun Street Bridge in Morrisville, this place is so close to Trenton it might as well be part of the city. And it offers fruit and vegetables at prices that put the Trenton grocery stores to shame.
OK, it’s a chain store. But if you don’t know Trader Joe’s wine and spirits department, you’re spending too much money. I’ve said it. TJ’s has a huge selection of wines at superb prices. Many wines in the $4.99 to $7.99 range that are very pleasant, and if you can spring for $9.99 or so, you can find a superb bottle. Spirits are even crazier. What do you say to a extremely drinkable single malt scotch for $17, or a blended scotch or a bourbon for about $12?
Artifacts is the best place in town to find quality Trentoniana for sale. The perfect acquisition for your restored, historic Trenton home or a unique gift.
Walt Czajkowsi is on a mission to bring top quality pies, artisan breads, and pastries to the Trenton area. Where many of the old-line Trenton bakeries have dumbed-down their offerings to make them more affordable, the Pie’d Piper is achieving a nice balance between top quality and reasonable price.
Moravian Pottery & Tile Works was founded in 1898 by Henry Chapman Mercer — a key figure in America’s Arts & Crafts movement. He directed its operation until his death in 1930, and it the factory remained in business until the mid-1950s. It reopened in the 1970s as a “living museum”, subsidized by Bucks County. Reproduction tiles are made today using Mercer’s original molds, clay that is obtained locally, slips and glazes that follow Mercer’s final formulations. They are absolutely beautiful, make fabulous additions to any home, and spectacular gifts.
Natural Edge creates useful, artistic objects out of minimally processed natural materials. If you have a serious interest in his work (and perhaps an intention to purchase something) give David a call or send him an email and arrange to visit his studio on Pearl Street, a gritty industrial block tucked between the Arena and the train station. It’s the sort of post-industrial ruin that’s the perfect space for an artist working with large, physical objects like tree limbs, and the sort of space that keeps the Trenton art scene sputtering along despite itself.
Amidst the suburban sprawl of the Rte. 1 corridor, it’s easy to view NJ’s slogan, “The Garden State” as little more than an anachronism. But head due south from Trenton on 206, and you soon find yourself in honest-to-goodness farmland that still supports truck farming. The Columbus Farmer’s market is one of the commercial centers of this area of NJ, and is itself a bit of an anachronism. But it seems to be thriving, offering a mix of produce, meats, and baked goods.
This charming farm is located about a 30 minute drive north of Trenton. It makes for an incredible outing with kids to view the Llamas and Alpacas. Adults will find a visit fascinating as well, and will also enjoy the farm store which sells unique items, many hand made from the Alpaca and Llama wool. While not cheap, these items are priced lower than the equivalent quality in high end retail outlets.
Looking for fresh, organic, local vegetables and fruits? Honey Brook Organic Farm, located in nearby Pennington in the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve, is the oldest organic farm in New Jersey, founded in 1991. And they DELIVER TO TRENTON, dropping off boxes of “shares” weekly at a home in the Mill Hill section, where (if you live in Trenton) you can pick it up easily.
“So where do you shop for food?” has been one of those haunting questions for us Trenton residents for many years. In truth, despite the good efforts of the Supreme Supermarket, for years there hasn’t been a store in town where you’d want to buy food for a dinner party. Until now. In June of 2008, the somewhat mercurial Bogopa Food Services Corp opened it’s 12th Food Bazaar Store in Trenton’s Roebling Market. At 67,000 SF, it’s 3x the size of any other food market within Trenton City limits.
Knapp’s has been around since 1944, and the current owner, Pete Garnich, started working at the shop, for Mr. Knapp, in the late 1970’s. He bought it around 10 years ago. The shop is pleasant, with a good selection of bikes for kids and adults, mountain and racing. I’ve bought 6 bikes as an adult for myself, and 4 for members of my family. I’ve never experienced the care and expertise that Knapp’s brought to the table when I bought my current road bike.
Sayah Anne Richardson, the proprietor of Sayah’s African Fashion Studio, immigrated to Trenton from Liberia about 30 years ago. Ever since, she’s been Trenton’s “go to” dressmaker, creating custom fashions, or expertly altering dresses for a diverse clientele.