When some people go out to eat, it's all about the ambiance and the environment. And for others it all about the food. You often find some of the best food in some out of the way simple places that concentrate more on the cookin' than how the place is lookin'. One of my favorite places is way off the beaten path, that was once a temporary military barracks.

Legend has it that a man once brought his horse into the bar for a drink with him. It's called Tara's Tavern in North Hanover, not far from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. You'll find lots of military and civilian personnel in the place for lunch and dinner. It's cozy and the food is inventive and always good! Try the fried tomatoes for a starter and the French onion roast beef Sandwich is amazing.

Here's a list of what our listeners from around the state think are the best 'hole in the wall' places to eat.

  • GRONKSI'S MILK HOUSE (High Bridge) — Try the cinnamon bun pancakes for breakfast.
  • BELMONT TAVERN (Belville) — Try the shrimp beeps or the pork cutlets.
  • HOT DIGGITY (Chatsworth) — There's no hole and no walls. It's an outdoor venue from a hot dog cart.
  • CHRISTIAN'S AND GRILL (Garfield) — Go for the cowboy steak.
  • TOSCANO RISTORANTE AND STEAKHOUSE (Bordentown) — Try the rice balls and calamari w/bacon.
  • CHICKEN GALORE (Woodbridge) — I hear the ribs are amazing.
  • DOMINIC'S TAVERN (Bellmawr) — Friendly, homey atmosphere with great wings.
  • HOT DOG JOHNNY'S (Buttzville) — Legendary place. Some say it's the oil they use. Everything is good.
  • ALLEN'S CLAM BAR (New Gretna) — They say the crab cakes are the best around.
  • TST BARBECUE (Leonardo) — Some say it's the best BBQ at the shore ... and they have mini golf!
  • DONKEY'S PLACE (Camden and Medford) — Cheesesteaks better than Philly ... really!
  • VINCENT'S BRICK OVEN PIZZA (Maple Shade) — They claim it's NJ's best pizza, period. You decide.

Those are just a sampling of places in New Jersey that people love to tell people about and love to go to over and over again. Of all the states in the country, we probably have the strongest lineup of any of them. We're the most densely populated state in the nation and with probably the most discerning palates too. Bon appetit!

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