The New Jersey restaurant scene continues to heat up, with new eateries both high-end and casual to check out this winter — plus some eagerly awaited openings on the horizon.
Be sure to add these spots to your dining card in 2019!
Sorriso Kitchen (Chatham)
Sorriso Kitchen, a new family-friendly and family-run restaurant with a “cool vibe,” opened on Main Street in November. While it already stands out for its creative farm-to-table menu, prepared by Executive Chef Ryan Chatfield, the restaurant has also made a name for itself through its mission. Chatham residents Jimmy and Karen Bellas were inspired to open Sorriso by their son LJ, who has Down Syndrome and greets everyone he meets with a smile. (“Sorriso” means smile in Italian.) On Mondays, the restaurant is closed, and the space is used to offer hospitality and service training for students with disabilities from LJ’s school. For more information about Sorriso, its roots and its mission, visit the family’s Kickstarter.
Sorriso Kitchen, 252 Main St, Chatham, NJ, (973) 665-8068
The Fox & Falcon (South Orange)
The Fox and Falcon has been getting raves since it opened in late November. Helmed by celebrated chef and SOMA resident Matt Ruzga, formerly at Del Posto in NYC, the spot features local foods well executed where the ingredients shine. In addition to the main dining room, there are several bars with “different personalities” including The Snug (think quiet, Irish country pub) and the Essex Rooms, a paired bar and dining area with a quieter atmosphere for regular dining and private parties.
The Fox and Falcon, 19 Valley Street, South Orange, NJ, 973-419-6773
Orgreen Poke (Westfield)
This spot features fresh Hawaiian inspired poke made using a “non-oil” cooking method and special filtered water. Their motto is “eat right, be bright.” Dishes include build-your-own Poke bowls with choices including salmon, tuna and shrimp you can mix with fresh veggies, sauces and toppings. There are also special combos like the signature Orgreen Bowl: salmon, tuna, shrimp, avocado, cucumber, edamame and a special sesame sauce. Many organic and gluten-free options. Start the new year right with healthy food!
Orgreen Poke, 132 E. Broad St., Westfield, NJ
Coming soon also to Westfield: Cinnaholic, a chain of build-your-own cinnamon roll bakeries opening its first New Jersey franchise. Cinnaholic offers customizable cinnamon rolls in a variety of flavors, all of which are vegan. The store will open soon next to Ferraro’s at 15 Elm Street.
The highly anticipated new addition to Ridgewood’s bustling restaurant scene opened January 4. Felina: a “rustic-yet-refined” event space and seasonal Italian-American restaurant helmed by Chef Anthony Bucco (of Ryland Inn and Restaurant Latour) brings an “urban touch” with a rooftop bar and a menu that’s constantly being reinvented. Felina uses fresh local ingredients in traditional Italian cooking. The venue also boasts a wine cellar, an open kitchen, and living walls of greenery in a restored bank. The unusual space, combined with Bucco’s acclaimed work, is already a hit.
Felina, 54 E Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood, NJ, (551) 276-5454
The Ashford and Six26 (Jersey City)
Sister venues Six26 and The Ashford both celebrated grand openings in Jersey City on New Year’s Eve. A swanky lounge and rooftop bar catering to the LGBTQ community (but welcome to all), Six26 takes its name from June 26, the date that the Supreme Court granted marriage equality in 2015. Six26 offers light, sophisticated bar snacks to complement its well-curated wine list, cocktails and beer in a sleek atmosphere.
The Ashford “brings New York’s speakeasy days” to Jersey City. Its ritzy American menu, which ranges from small bites to meals, fits well with its creative drinks menu that guests can enjoy in a chic and cozy parlor lit by chandeliers. Vintage-style décor completes the 1920s vibe of The Ashford dining experience.
Luna Stella (Maplewood)
Luna Stella is scheduled to open in Maplewood this winter, putting a spotlight on high-quality local food and drink. Humberto Campos, chef and owner of Maplewood’s highly acclaimed Lorena’s, will focus on “rustic Italian food with a casual ambiance.” While the two eateries share team members, Luna Stella will be more family-oriented than Lorena’s. In fact, the restaurant’s very title sings family: owner Max Kian named it after his two granddaughters, Luna and Stella. The restaurant will feature two bars, an open kitchen, open-air dining in front and back, and a private room.
Village Brewing Co. (Somerville)
Somerset County’s first brewpub, the eagerly anticipated Village Brewing Co. will offer 10-12 daily styles of craft beer, in-house brews, and offerings from featured regional breweries. Beers will rotate weekly, monthly and seasonally. Founders and siblings Gary and Iris Frank explained that the brewpub’s name comes from the saying “It takes a village.” The two teamed up with restauranteur Scott Eadie, who will serve as general manager, to create the “industrial chic” atmosphere and upscale American cocktails and cuisine.
Village Brewing, 34 W Main St, Somerville, NJ, (908) 797-7959
Soon to join Montclair’s Town Center Historic District, at 544 Bloomfield Ave., is Faubourg. The owners of this modern French brasserie, Daniel Boulud alums Dominique Paulin and Olivier Muller, want it to be a blend of casual and fancy. The open, bright space will be very approachable, much like Faubourg’s menu, which will change every season. The restaurant will offer French classics, with an American-inspired brunch and a wine list with a blend of American, French and Italian choices in a floor-to-ceiling wine cellar. The venue has space for open and private dining, and is slated to open in the coming months.
Ani Ramen (Maplewood/Summit)
Ani Ramen, which already has wildly popular locations in Jersey City and Montclair, will be expanding to Maplewood and Summit in 2019. “Ani” translates to “big brother,” and the new sibling restaurants will feature the company’s signature Japanese Ramen bowls, crispy gyoza, bao buns and more. Ani Ramen’s Montclair and Jersey City locations are already known for long wait times due to their popularity, and the Maplewood (at 149 Maplewood Avenue) and Summit (427 Springfield Avenue) restaurants are destined to be equally successful.