NJ hidden gem restaurant makes national top 100 list
How could a tiny, modest NJ restaurant land on a list of the top 100 dining spots across the country?
For those who love Jessica’s Cafe, it’s easy to understand.
It’s housed in an unassuming barn-like structure that appears, from a Google Maps search, to share with a Pella Windows place, which occupies the second floor. You probably wouldn’t even turn your head to notice Jessica’s Café on Terrill Road in Plainfield. But now, you know better.
Yelp, the famous, perhaps infamous, review website put together Yelp's Top 100 US restaurants 2023, a list it calls “Your guide to the best places to eat in America this year.”
According to TAPinto, Jessica’s places at number 40 on the list.
One of the reasons, apparently, is its dedication to fresh, delicious and Italian-inspired food, great service and a rotating menu utilizing locally sourced vendors.
Under the direction of Chef Armen Saqe, who named the eatery after his wife, Jessica’s specializes in authentic Naples wood-fired pizza, prepared with what its website calls “the best Naples Caputo flour and San Marzano tomatoes.”
Yelp's list includes a short bio of Saqe explaining that he’s an Albanian immigrant who has worked in fine dining restaurants all over the country and is known to visit each table to chat with diners and see how they enjoyed the food. You don’t do that unless you’re confident everything is going to be good!
Sage's bio also mentions that he hopes to move his restaurant to a larger location nearby and further refine his seasonal menu.
Jessica’s offers favorites like paninis, pastas, various meat entrees, and on-site made desserts, all inspired by Italian and French cooking techniques.
Yelp’s list quotes reviews that say that the standout dishes are milk-fed pork chops, grilled and served with vibrant vegetables and a rich house-made sauce that are reliably tender and juicy. The “rich and decadent” grilled shrimp and wild mushroom crepe is “to die for,” according to the website's quotes from multiple reviewers.
Jessica’s commitment to the community was evidenced when it collected donations to provide meals for overworked nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers at Overlook and Morristown hospitals during the pandemic.
It’s not an easy feat for a humble New Jersey eatery to Garner a spot on a national list but Jessica’s Café is that good.
If you’re in Plainfield, you should make it your business to visit Jessica’s Café. In fact,
it actually sounds like the kind of place that’s worth a drive from anywhere.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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