So many food choices, so little time! When visiting the city make sure to dedicate part of the trip to sampling and savoring the culinary and cultural melange that is Newark. Don't believe us? Take a recommendation from Adrienne Jordan, Forbes:
5 Great Places To Eat If You're Visiting Newark, New Jersey
No longer is Newark a place where you fly into its international airport and hail a 15-minute cab ride towards the twinkling lights of New York City. Newark is a rich destination in of itself, from its background as the birthplace of America’s first public library; the diverse, international art at the 110-year-old Newark Museum; and the seemingly non-stop construction of luxury office and residential spaces taking place in the historic Ironbound neighborhood. And perhaps nowhere is this renaissance more apparent than in the bursting culinary scene that has brought forth an influx of dynamic chefs, from Michael Vann at Smitty & Mo’s; Marcus Samuelsson at Marcus B & P; and at Ayeshia Govan from Blueprint Café. Here are 5 great culinary destinations to check out during your next visit to Newark.
Turning one year old in February 2019, the industrial building-turned-cafe is replete with funky decor like old bottles meshed with an old fire escape rail to create a chandelier; 150-year-old beams that make up the coffee counter; and sprinkled old trombone and trumpets on the walls. The floor-to-ceiling windows brings in a lot of light while you are enjoying dishes like their tenderly made Impossible Burger; Sweet Potato Fries; Quinoa and Coconut Bowls; and Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches. There are an assortment of colorful vegan desserts like vegan doughnuts, vegan bread pudding, and vegan date pudding. The Blueprint Café is a social spot too, with their Thursday night open mikes and Friday evening after work hang outs.
Smitty and Mo's
Named after the chef-owner, Michael Vann's father and best friend, Smitty & Mo’s is located on the second floor of the Gateway Building in downtown Newark. Garnering around 5,000 visitors a month, the casual dining restaurant specializes in chicken on and off the bone. Chef Vann bought his tradition of southern food up to Newark from his Alabama roots. Try specialties like shrimp mac n cheese; crispy wings; veggie egg roll; and the jerk chicken bowl. Be sure to wash it down with their fresh Mango Lime Juice, made from mango chunks and limes.
Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson opened a new restaurant, Marcus B & P in downtown Newark. The venue focuses on farm-to-table fare; and highlights throughout the space with artwork of several New Jersey artists like Bisa Washington and Shoshanna Weinberger. The restaurant has an open kitchen, where you can watch the chefs prepare food with a riveting synergy. For dinner; try the Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Waffle appetizer; Baked Atlantic Cod or Dorowat Rigatoni for dinner; and the Warm Potato Salad as a side.
The pub is named after a New York City gangster who was assassinated in Newark, next door to what is now the Tryp by Wyndham Newark. Opened in April 2018, Dutch’s Gastropub is outfitted in modern, but casual décor with 1930’s era black and white photos of the venue’s namesake, Dutch Schultz. The lunch menu has options like buffalo chicken wings; margarita flatbread pizza; smoked salmon; and organic sweet potato fries. Brass fixtures; poppy colors; and modern takes on Roman busts complete the dining experience.
On a Sunday night, families, couples, and friends pack at the seams of Forno’s of Spain. The popularity of the Spanish-tapas venue is fueled by a good reputation and large following. The historic restaurant also has a claim to fame: boasting a rare and extensive collection of Spanish wine-of around 450 vintages. The menu is extensive; where you can choose dozens of different entrees, from shrimp and meat paellas; pork chops; lobster tails; and stuffed shrimp.
I've been an outdoor and adventure travel writer for over 8 years. My writing has appeared in national publications such as National Geographic Traveler, Men's Journal, Shape, Travel + Leisure, Afar, Esquire and more.