Big Joe shares his favorite New Jersey restaurants for a great breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In my case, every meal is the most important meal of the day.
Being on the radio for the last 25 years playing and working on the weekends, I never get a chance at checking out brunch. That’s ok because I have found some outstanding breakfast restaurants here in New Jersey that I enjoy during the week.
I’m on virtually the same schedule as my musician and restaurant and bartender friends who work late at night. So a relaxing good breakfast is a great way to start our day.
Now realize that I’m only one person, a large one person but I can’t get to every special place in New Jersey. The following are my favorite places that I’ve been to that I think you would enjoy. Please comment and let me know your favorite place, I’d love to check it out.
Here are 7 of my favorite New Jersey breakfast restaurants in no particular order. Enjoy.
The Hudson Café, First Ave., Atlantic Highlands, NJ
I’m a big fan of the Hudson Café. Chef Ryan has a knack for creating comfort food that is out of this world. His house-made pancakes and French toast are just about perfect. Great omelets and throw in the fact that Chef Ryan’s wife Michelle is a world-class baker who had her own bakery, and creates muffins and pastries that are out of this world. They open for breakfast and then lunch and I encourage you to enjoy this cozy delectable restaurant. It’s outstanding.
The Mad Batter, Cape May, NJ
The Mad Batter has been around for over 40 years. The Victorian setup keeps to the theme of the beach town restaurant. You feel at home at The Mad Batter.
Before I went to The Mad Batter for the first time many years ago, everyone said you have to try the chipped beef. What I knew about chipped beef is that it was served to our soldiers during wartime to stretch what little beef they had and it wasn’t a fan favorite. The soldiers had a name for it that was an expletive on a shingle.
So I broke down and ordered the chipped beef but I also ordered the oatmeal pancakes which are one of my favorites. I ordered the pancakes just in case the chipped beef was what I thought it was going to be. Well, I was wrong, it was really good. I tried to decipher all the ingredients and the waitress wouldn’t give up the secret but it was good.
They have a great breakfast menu filled with many choices. The service was good even though they get packed every day during the summer months. I suggest going right after Labor Day. You’ll enjoy the atmosphere, menu, and most importantly food. It’s my choice every day that I’m in Cape May. It’s so good I look at the menu for my choices for the next day I’m there. Enjoy.
The Summit Diner, Union Pl., Summit, NJ
The Summit Diner is an institution. It opened in 1928 and started serving out of a railroad car in 1938. It is the epitome of a Jersey Diner. I love the diner’s history and how they keep the food and atmosphere true to form.
The Summit Diner is famous for its corned beef hash which I love and highly recommend, I get it with a couple of eggs on top. It’s very good. The other famous menu item is their Taylor Ham egg and cheese sandwich. Don’t call that pork roll as I did once and only once in the Summit Diner. Holy hell broke out as a result of my mistake. At the Summit Diner, they call it Taylor Ham. I don’t care what you call it, the sandwich is outstanding. Their home fries are great, and the omelets are good. They have great diner fare. Make the trip to Summit and enjoy the experience but don’t ask for a pork roll sandwich.
The Inbetween Café, English Plaza, Red Bank, NJ
This tucked-away café is a great stop. The food looks and tastes like it doesn’t belong in the café with the décor which is a combination of coffee shop and diner, simple and very comfortable. The food belongs in a world-class hotel. It’s great.
Not too many people here in New Jersey make or consume good grits. At the Inbetween the made-to-order grits rival those I’ve had in some outstanding southern restaurants. The corned beef hash is outstanding and they make an andouille sausage omelet with onions, jalapeno peppers, and pepper jack cheese that I have had many times, it is very good.
They also serve lunch at the Inbetween and I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed some great soups and sandwiches.
Check out the Inbetween, you’ll enjoy the food and comfort of a great place.
The Buttered Biscuit, Main Street, Bradley Beach, NJ
The Buttered Biscuit is a must on your breakfast place list. They proudly serve fresh homemade items that are delicious. Go hungry and start your breakfast with a grilled hot crumb cake. Oh my! This is a must on every visit. They make great biscuits, muffins, and scones but I never get to try those cause I’m face down into my crumb cake.
I’m a fan of their eggs Benedict and they have a version with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and spinach with two eggs that are really good. I’ve also had the omelets and their cornmeal pancakes are very, very good.
The restaurant seats 38 and it is packed during the summer. If possible try and go during the week, it’s worth your effort.
Alice’s Kitchen, Ocean Ave. Sea Bright, NJ
I really like Alice’s. Alice has been in the restaurant and bar business for years and serves up some great Irish fare from her native country. Her welcoming personality fits the warmth of her restaurant and is one of my favorite destinations to get an awesome breakfast.
I really enjoy the corned beef hash and have the corned beef hash Benedict which is terrific, the homemade Irish soda bread and the Irish breakfast plate are my favorites. You can’t go wrong with Alice’s omelets and pancakes try them all. Enjoy Alice and her food and you’ll like the comfort of her restaurant. Make it a place to go for your breakfast.
Tops Diner, East Newark, NJ
We are blessed here in New Jersey with having the most diners per capita in the entire world, ok, maybe just the country. When I went to Tops Diner for the first time my friend said I had to have an omelet, so I did. This farm-fresh omelet was made with four eggs the perfect amount of ingredients and it was delicious. I enjoy their corned beef hash and they serve plenty of it as a side to my omelet. I was told by the waitress to try a slice of Angie’s homemade apple crumb cake it was unbelievably good. I left Tops very full but satisfied that this would be one of my favorite places for breakfast.
Go and enjoy the many places that serve up great breakfast fare. I’m always looking to add to my list but happy that I have found what I feel are the best in New Jersey.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.