Tag Archives: Cheap Eats

Easily meets the 1-$ cost target: you can probably eat for $10, and feast for $15 per person.

Late Buzz (Buzz Bar & Lounge)

There aren’t many places in Trenton where you can get good food late. The Buzz is basically a bar, and stays open until 2 AM. It’s owned by a middle aged Polish couple, who are at the bar every night. She keeps the kitchen open for the “full menu” at least until 10 just about every night. If the joint is hopping, it might be a lot later. And then they have a “late night menu” that’s good at least until 1 AM.


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Train Noshing (Pizza Grill at the Trenton Train Station)

Pizza Grill is located on the Walnut Avenue end of the station… It’s actually a very pleasant location with 20 foot ceilings and light streaming in from floor to ceiling windows. The food selection is impressive. There’s pizza by the slice: plain, pepperoni, and usually 3 or 4 other “gourmet” variations. Not the best “tomato pie” in Trenton, but much better than the typical pizza joint in town. Hoagies, burgers, cheesesteaks, salads, chicken wings/tenders, and panini. It’s all made on site and decent quality. Prices are reasonable, given the location.


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Marley’s Ghost (Hummingbird Restaurant)

The Hummingbird is a Jamaican restaurant downtown in the Warren Street revival area. And just as any decent Italian eatery in the ‘Burg used to have a photo of Frank Sinatra on the wall, the Hummingbird celebrates Bob Marley with a large poster in the dining room. Something of Marley’s spirit seems to inhabit the place, which has great food and a pleasant atmosphere.


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Non-Chain Chain Burger (Five Guys Burgers and Fries)

Five Guys serves an outstanding burger and fries. The fact that it’s a chain, and in Ewing, made me hesitate to add it to “Hidden Trenton”. Then, I ate my first sample. The burgers and fries are that good. I consider Five Guys a non-chain, chain (harkening to Watergate’s non-denial, denial): it’s thriving because the food is really good (if in this case, not good for you), not just fast or convenient.


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West-Ward Wonder (Original Dominick's Pizza)

With so much great tomato pie in Trenton, why does Dominick’s deserve a place on Hidden Trenton? A few reasons. First, the pies are genuinely good, made with fresh ingredients. While the tomato pie doesn’t quite match the sublime heights of Papa’s or DeLorenzo’s, it’s darn good. Second, it’s open when those other places aren’t. Want a pie for a Tuesday lunch? You’re out of luck with either of the classic Trenton establishments, which are basically open only for dinner.


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Sweet Breads and Pasta (Mastoris Restaurant)

Mastoris is one of those places that doesn’t seem possible when you first go there. First of all, it’s impossibly huge… the website claims they serve up to 2,800 people per day, and certainly the facility is large enough. Second, when you sit down, your waitress will bring you a plate piled high with two loaves of sweet bread, one each of cinnamon and cheese. Don’t eat too much bread, though, since the portions on your order, when it arrives, will be huge.


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The New Kid Grows Up (Guate Linda Restaurant)

Prices are incredibly reasonable. The food, including the tacos, tostadas, and several of the meat platters is very good. Note, this is a dive. Clean, friendly, but still a dive. English skills of your server are likely to not exist, so if you don’t speak Spanish (like me), be prepared to puzzle out the menu on your own, and order via sign language.


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Chinese Takeout: The Best of the OK part 2 (Kam Buffet)

Everyone has a yearning for simple, cheap Chinese food from time to time, and you don’t want to have to drive to get it. In a town where there are some truly dreadful take out Chinese joints….listing a few that are pretty good is a useful service. Kam Buffet is a post millenium buffet joint, with a large dining room and a huge array of steam tables. The food is good, and management takes better care to keep it fresh and turning over quickly than many establishments of this type.


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Earthy Guatemalan (Mi Tierra Restaurant)

Mi Tierra is another of the many outstanding Guatemalan restaurants in the City of Trenton, serving its burgeoning Latino population. Mi Tierra stands apart because: 1) the food is well prepared, a notch better than typical and 2) the decor is better than most. While not fancy by any means, it’s a pleasant place to eat, and the service is friendly.


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Battlin’ Perogies (Henry's Deli and Luncheonette)

From the outside, Henry’s looks like an old-school luncheonette, which went out of fashion in the early 1960’s. However, peer through the window, and you see something’s up with the large, modern cooking area, and nicely stocked shelves. Then you realize all the packages have Polish labels, and you remember that you’re at the very epicenter of the Polish section of Trenton: European Bakery is next door, Cosmo Food Market is across the street, and Rozmaryn Restaurant is around the corner.


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Suburban Pie (Papa's Tomato Pies)

Papa’s, founded in 1912 by the father-in-law, grandfather, and great-grandfather respectively of the current operators (Abie, Donnie, and Nick) making it the second oldest pizza joint in the country, and by another reckoning (continually operated by the founding family), Papa’s is the oldest in the country. Papa’s makes a proper Trenton tomato pie (it should, it virtually invented it). Unfortunately, moved to Robbinsville recently, so you’ll have to drive about 15 minutes to get there.


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