Sure, it's relatively easy to go from one corner of NJ to another as a day trip, but what really makes it worthwhile? How about a delicious meal and drinks that hit the spot? Consider this another Jersey Bucket List item for all of us who love to eat.

Here's a few New Jersey restaurants that are totally worth suffering through traffic on the Parkway, Turnpike, Route 78 or whatever back road route your navigation app sends you. If you try one out and want to share the moment, tweet me @ProudJersey and at @NJ1015!

Humpty Junior's (Warren County)
72 US-46, Columbia
908-475-4376 (closed on Mondays)
Where else can you order Old Bay seasoned wings and wash them down with one of 50 milkshakes? Humpty Junior's is along Route 46, near  the Delaware Water Gap, the Lakota Wolf Preserve and the Land of Make Believe (which is open spring/summer). You also can opt for a 'killer' cheesesteak or grass fed burger. But, save room for custom made sundaes & 'Mile high' ice cream cones.

Fornos of Spain (Essex County)
47 Ferry St, Newark
(973) 589-4767
Newark's Ironbound section is a foodie haven with Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian roots that are deep and delicious. If you've never been or it's been a while, Fornos is a perfect place to change that. So grit your teeth through traffic on McCarter Highway, then let some paella and a glass of sangria take away that aggravation.  (Or, take a train into Newark Penn, which is blocks away).

Publick House (Union County)
899 Mountain Ave, Mountainside
Publick House is a 'modern American gastropub' with locally-sourced ingredients and seasonal menus. The focus is on a flavorful, unpretentious meal, from braised pork belly to NJ day boat scallops or classic Sheperd's Pie. There's also a list of craft beers, wines and signature cocktails.

Circa Restaurant (Hunterdon County)
37 Main St., High Bridge
(908) 638-5560
This is a fun outing to pair with a trek along northwest NJ's Columbia Trail, whether cycling or walking. Circa has a raw bar and a full offering of craft beer, wine and cocktails. You can opt for small plates like green bean tempura, stuffed avocado or grilled oysters, or entrees like the crowd fave, hanger steak (Steak Frites). 

Aqua Blu Kitchen and Cocktails (Ocean County)
3410 Route 37, Toms River

A new reason to head to the Shore, even in the off-season. Thursdays are Burger Night, with $10 specialty burgers stacked high. Aqua Blu offers American cuisine with some European influences, including lots of seafood and pasta.

The Chop House (Camden County)
4 Lakeview Drive South, Gibbsboro

This lakeside restaurant specializes in Dry-Aged Steaks done on premise. The menu also offers plenty of seafood (In the summer, every Sunday is Lobsterfest). Service kicks off daily with Happy Hour at 4pm.

Lucky Bone’s Back Water Grille
1200 NJ-109, Cape May
This Cape May spot offers Down-State Local Clam Chowder (no cream or tomatoes, just the good stuff) and some killer nachos. There's also yummy brick-oven pizzas (like the Harvest Pie with roasted butternut squash, carmelized onions & Prosciutto di Parma) and plenty of craft beer and fun cocktails.

Seven NJ restaurants totally worth a pain-in-the butt drive (Erin Vogt, Townsquare Media NJ)
Seven NJ restaurants totally worth a pain-in-the butt drive (Erin Vogt, Townsquare Media NJ)

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.

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