Johnny’s has been operating at the same location since the early 1970s. He makes the best Trenton Pork Roll sandwich in town.
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Johnny’s has been operating at the same location since the early 1970s. He makes the best Trenton Pork Roll sandwich in town.
McCarter Theater is one of the finest regional theaters in the country (and has won the Tony award to prove it), producing plays ranging from classics to edgy new works (6 productions in 2015-16). The production quality is incredible, featuring some of the best professional directors, designers, and actors working in the US. Performances are … Continue reading Liberal Arts
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.
Philadelphia has its own, unique, and very rich theater scene. It’s an easy drive from Trenton (under 40 minutes door-to-door, usually). Yes, there are presentation houses that book current touring companies from Broadway shows (at near Broadway prices). But there are also many, many outstanding theater companies that produce their own stage plays using predominantly … Continue reading 98 Miles Off-Broadway
New conductor Dan Spalding has energized the orchestra and is creating truly interesting concerts at the lovely war memorial. Highly recommended.
DeVito’s Pizza IV is a neighborhood joint that makes great Neapolitan-style pizza (aka NY style). As far as we know, it is now the oldest pizza joint under continuous management within the city limits, having been founded in February of 1985. Devito’s pie isn’t “gourmet”, but it’s a really well executed version of a classic pizza. The rim is crispy and flavorful, and it’s topped with ample, good quality cheese, which is a nicely balanced with the sauce and crust. The, extra large (18″) pie is also a bargain.
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
Aurelio’s serves the best Latino cuisine in Princeton. There are something like half a dozen restaurants in Trenton that are as good or better, and at least 2 in Hamilton. Still, operating an inexpensive restaurant with good food in Princeton is no small feat, and if you like Aurelio’s, you owe it to yourself to start exploring Trenton restaurants as well.
Yes, it is (kind of) the Latino KFC. A “fast-food” chain that started in Guatemala, Pollo Campero operates one in Trenton. While originally focused on fried chicken, Campero now offers “Citrus Peruvian Grilled” Chicken as an alternative. And what an alternative! It comes PERFECTLY cooked: succulent and flavorful: without a doubt some of the best chicken we’ve ever had anywhere. Normally we don’t like to review chain stores; but when they can deliver something this good, we make an exception.
The Stony Brook Reserve is a 930 acre site in Pennington, about 25 minutes from Trenton. It provides 10 miles of hiking trails, is home to Honey Brook Organic Farms, and supports one of largest and most active Nature Centers in NJ. All of this is organized by the Stony Brook/Millstone Watershed Association, which claims … Continue reading Water Reserves
Michael’s is a decent diner that supports a very good salad bar. If you enjoy salad bars, you can get a great salad and a good, filling, fresh-cooked meal for not a lot of money. It’s open 7 days, early and late. NJ diners, collectively, should be a national institution. Where else can you get … Continue reading East meets Mid-West
OK, I admit to loving dives. Especially ones like this where the sensibilities of the owner, even wacky ones, are plain to see. It reminds me of the places I used to eat growing up, from a time when most restaurants were owner operated, and McDonald’s were found only in California. In Manhattan, you might … Continue reading Squirreled Away
Reggie Hallett, founder and head chef, is a man with a mission: “I am a firm believer that you should be able to have the option of great food while enjoying friends at a great local bar”. There’s plenty to suggest that he’s onto something: even on a Monday evening around 7, a time when … Continue reading Bar-B-Que Bar
Diner food, diner prices, better quality. Just across the bridge in Morrisville: open 7 days for breakfast and lunch (7-3).
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
Jim Hamilton, a Broadway set designer turned restaurateur, started Hamilton’s Grill (“HG”) more than 25 years ago. As you’d expect from a set designer, place and settings are impeccable. The restaurant is tucked away on a quiet alley. HG’s menu has been farm to table long before that term entered popular consciousness. The menu changes seasonally, and there are always a few specials. The food is simple, but exceptionally high quality and perfectly presented, featuring grilled seafood and meats. Unusually for a restaurant of this quality, it’s BYOB.
Located in a tiny strip mall just off Rt 206 in Hamilton, El Gallo Tropical serves up what is possibly the best Mexican food in the area. That’s saying a lot, as a host of good-to-superb Mexican dives have opened in the Greater Trenton area over the last few years. My friends from Cali to … Continue reading Southern Standoff
In the 1980’s, sculptor J. Seward Johnson created a plan for a contemporary sculpture museum in Hamilton, NJ. He purchased the land that had housed the NJ State Fairgrounds, and by the 1990’s “The Grounds for Sculpture” was a thriving public indoor/outdoor art museum. In 2000, Johnson opened “Rats Restaurant,” his Monet-inspired, indoor/outdoor fine dining … Continue reading Artful Dining
Saluté is a pleasant, relatively small (60 seat) Italian restaurant in a nondescript strip mall in Morrisville. The aesthetic and menu are very much like a Chambersburg eatery from the 60s, though newly renovated. Faux stone panels and crystal light fixtures evoke a “rat pack” bachelor pad, as does the 1960’s-era cool jazz emanating from … Continue reading Ratpack Returns
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
In 2010, Mercer County merged 5 separate parks into the “Mercer Meadows, a 1,619 acre utopian park for walking, cycling, and wildlife observation. Primarily consisting of acres upon acres of wildflower meadows, it’s a beautiful place for an easy stroll or a relatively flat ride through some very pretty terrain. The heart of Mercer Meadows is … Continue reading Pole Tree Pasture
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
A charming dive just south of the border with Trenton, Mexico Lindo is another worthy addition to the growing list of Mexican restaurants in town, serving up authentic, home-made specialties at prices that out-of-towners find astonishing.
If you need to get out of town quickly, there’s nothing like having a convenient airport. Trenton is blessed to have our own “hidden airport,” the Trenton Mercer Airport, just a 15 minute drive from downtown. Sure, it’s essentially a bus terminal with planes, but it’s a great deal and a terrific way to save … Continue reading Discount Departure
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
DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie (“DTP”) in Robbinsville is operated by the third generation of the same family as DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pie on Hudson Street, which closed in 2012 (when the second generation retired). Make no mistake, the pies in Robbinsville are really good. At the core of DeLorenzo’s excellence is its crust, as good as any we’ve sampled. It’s relatively thin, yet the undercarriage is crisp and stays crisp throughout the entire meal.
It is good to have somewhere to take a date. You probably want something not too stuffy and formal, but not too relaxed either. The food should be very good, even a little fancy, yet offer a variety of options for any palate. And probably, since you are aiming to impress, you might consider some … Continue reading Date Night Delicacies
Carson Road Woods is a superb, 183 acre swathe of preserved farmland less than 15 minutes from downtown Trenton. Unlike many such preserves, the land has several miles of walking trails, and some stunning stands of trees. The preserve is a mix of woodlands and open fields, with mowed walk-ways along the margins. In a few places, trails are cut through stands of trees, including, notably, a stunningly beautiful stand of beech.
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.
Cafe Antonio is really two restaurants. Step left when you walk inside, and you’ll be taken to a charming (if a little chintzy) old-style red-sauce Italian restaurant with formal service. Step right, and you’ll enter a plain and unembellished pizza parlor, where you order at the counter. Depending on which side you choose, you’ll either be … Continue reading A Restaurant Divided
Updated April 2017 Chencha y Chole (“C y C”) opened in June of 2015 in a distinctive, triangular shaped storefront at the intersection of Cass and S. Broad. Over the past year we’ve eaten there many times. It’s consistently good: and it’s become one of our favorite Latino restaurants in town. (Thanks to our friends … Continue reading Mountain out of a Mole de Pollo
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.
Captain Paul’s proves that inventive entrepreneurs can make a go of even unlikely business concepts. Take the hot dog. Many spurn it as an overly processed, heavily salted, highly fatted anachronism. American cuisine at its worst. One of the culprits (though perhaps not the primary one) in a cuisine that has achieved the highest rate … Continue reading Man Bites Dog
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
Living in Trenton and there’s very few Greek restaurant around. Except Mikonos, which was recommended to me by a friend. I’ve now eaten most of the offerings on the menu, and while I have a few reservations, I’m happy to recommend it. It offers tasty, authentic cuisine Greek cooking that ranges from OK to sublime, depending on what you order.
City Deli is a somewhat misleading name for a small restaurant near the statehouse that is serving up an ambitious, home-cooked, vegetarian-friendly menu. If you’re a carnivore, don’t let the veggie-friendly tag get in the way: you’ll find plenty to eat, too. Indeed the menu is astonishingly broad, ranging from the best salad bar in … Continue reading Deli-cate Offerings
Italian People’s Bakery (“IPB”) has been an institution in Chambersburg since Pasquale Gervasio opened a bake shop in 1936. The current location on Butler St is one of the few surviving hold-over businesses from Chambersburg’s Italian past, in part because the bakery services a local chain of suburban storefronts from Ewing to Levittown to Yardville. … Continue reading Power to the Peoples